James P. Kelly, chairman and CEO of UPS, announced his retirement today, effective January, at the company’s regularly scheduled board meeting. Kelly will be replaced in both capacities by current vice-chairman Michael L. Eskew, who was elected as Kelly’s successor by UPS’s board.
"UPS is very lucky to have a person with Mike Eskew's knowledge, experience and respect ready to assume the leadership of our company," said Kelly (left). "We have a very strong senior management team that will work with Mike to continue to move UPS forward."
Kelly began his UPS career as a package delivery driver in Secaucus, NJ in 1964. He held a variety of positions of increasing responsibilities until 1988, when he was elected senior vp and appointed as the company's labor relations manager. He became COO in 1992 and later served as executive vp and vice chairman before assuming the role of chairman and CEO in 1997. He has served on the UPS Board of Directors since 1991.
During Kelly's tenure as chairman, UPS expanded aggressively beyond its core package delivery business to become a global supply chain management concern with increasing capabilities in logistics, information technology and financial services. UPS also recorded strong financial performance during the period. Revenue climbed from $22.4 billion in 1996, the year before Kelly became chairman, to $29.8 billion in 2000. Net income rose from $1.15 billion in 1996 to $2.93 billion in 2000.
In 1999, after 92 years as a private company, UPS went public in what was at the time the largest IPO in the history of the U.S. Following the IPO, UPS was honored as the Company of the Year by Forbes magazine.
"Jim Kelly leaves UPS well-positioned for future success," said Chairman-elect Eskew. "He has taught all of us the importance of keeping one eye on the horizon while the other stays focused on the steering wheel."
As vice chairman and executive vp, Eskew (left) is responsible for strategic planning, information services, corporate development, mergers and acquisitions and UPS Logistics Group. Under his direction, UPS has been expanding its emphasis on developing new lines of business that complement the company's core package operations. Most recently, this has included the formation of new business units focused on freight forwarding and customs brokerage solutions, mail services and financial services, as well as the company's significant expansion of its logistics offerings.
Eskew (left) began his UPS career in 1972 in the Indiana District Industrial Engineering (I.E.) department. He held several senior management positions domestically and internationally prior to becoming the I.E. manager for UPS Airlines in 1984. While with the UPS Airlines, Eskew was responsible for aircraft acquisition, planning, technology and engineering and was instrumental in the fastest start-up of a large airline in the history of the FAA.
In 1994, Eskew became corporate vp for I.E. and two years later became group vp for Engineering. In 1999, Eskew was named executive vp and a year later was given the additional title of vice chairman. He has served on the UPS Board of Directors since 1998.