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Fred Smith

Founder and CEO of FedEx Corporation

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 Fred Smith Biography

Fred Smith has transportation in his blood. His grandfather was a steamboat captain, and his father built from scratch a regional bus line that became the Southern backbone of the Greyhound Bus system. Smith learned to fly as a teenager, a skill he turned to cash by working weekends as a charter pilot during his years as a student at Yale University in the 1960s. While flying students and other passengers around, Smith had the insight that led him to revolutionize the delivery business. He noticed that he was also frequently ferrying spare parts for computer companies such as IBM (IBM ) that didn't want to wait for the passenger airlines to get critical components to customers.

Smith, an economics major, first broached his idea for an express delivery service in 1965 in what became one of the most infamous term papers in Corporate America. Lore has it that he received a modest C, though Smith doesn't think that was the case. Whatever the grade, he wasn't deterred. "I knew the idea was profound," he says.

After a hitch with the Marines in Vietnam, Smith returned in the late '60s and began to chase his dream. He soon found backers with more faith in his ideas than his professors. With $4 million inherited from his father and $80 million from venture capitalists, he set up Federal Express Corp. in 1971. Its promise: guaranteed overnight delivery of critical goods between any two points in the 11-city network Smith created.

Unique, but hardly an overnight success. Ready to launch the service from Memphis on Mar. 12, 1973, Smith secured just seven packages for the first night's run. He sent his salesmen back into the field, more than doubled his network to 25 cities, and relaunched the service a month later -- this time handling a grand total of 186 packages.

Sparse initial volume wasn't the only headache. Until the late '70s, the postal monopoly stopped FedEx from delivering documents. Onerous airline regulations at first restricted it to flying tiny Falcon jets. By 1973, Smith was so desperate for cash that he flew to Las Vegas to play the blackjack tables. He wired the $27,000 he won back to FedEx.

Smith's persistence paid off. By the late 1970s, America came to rely on FedEx' ability to deliver goods overnight -- be it spare parts, urgent business documents, or 11th-hour birthday gifts. Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER ) execs even discovered employees were using FedEx to deliver documents between floors of its Manhattan headquarters building because it was faster and more reliable than the interoffice mail. These days, FedEx is a linchpin of the just-in-time deliveries revolution -- its planes and trucks serving as mobile warehouses -- that has helped companies around the globe cut costs and boost their productivity. The logistics service now contributes the lion's share -- 92% -- of FedEx' $26 billion in annual revenues.

Although FedEx has spawned numerous competitors, it is still the biggest operator, with a 44% share of the air express market. Its fleet of 645 aircraft and 71,000 trucks carry an average of 5.5 million shipments each day. And all because a college kid could see a market that others couldn't.

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  • HOW TO BOOK Fred Smith?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Fred Smith for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Fred Smith, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Fred Smith or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Fred Smith?

    Booking fees for Fred Smith, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Fred Smith, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Fred Smith?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Fred Smith for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Fred Smith for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Fred Smith or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Fred Smith or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Fred Smith

Founder and CEO of FedEx Corporation

Travels From:
Memphis, TN, USA
Speaking Fee:

Fred Smith Biography

Fred Smith has transportation in his blood. His grandfather was a steamboat captain, and his father built from scratch a regional bus line that became the Southern backbone of the Greyhound Bus system. Smith learned to fly as a teenager, a skill he turned to cash by working weekends as a charter pilot during his years as a student at Yale University in the 1960s. While flying students and other passengers around, Smith had the insight that led him to revolutionize the delivery business. He noticed that he was also frequently ferrying spare parts for computer companies such as IBM (IBM ) that didn't want to wait for the passenger airlines to get critical components to customers.

Smith, an economics major, first broached his idea for an express delivery service in 1965 in what became one of the most infamous term papers in Corporate America. Lore has it that he received a modest C, though Smith doesn't think that was the case. Whatever the grade, he wasn't deterred. "I knew the idea was profound," he says.

After a hitch with the Marines in Vietnam, Smith returned in the late '60s and began to chase his dream. He soon found backers with more faith in his ideas than his professors. With $4 million inherited from his father and $80 million from venture capitalists, he set up Federal Express Corp. in 1971. Its promise: guaranteed overnight delivery of critical goods between any two points in the 11-city network Smith created.

Unique, but hardly an overnight success. Ready to launch the service from Memphis on Mar. 12, 1973, Smith secured just seven packages for the first night's run. He sent his salesmen back into the field, more than doubled his network to 25 cities, and relaunched the service a month later -- this time handling a grand total of 186 packages.

Sparse initial volume wasn't the only headache. Until the late '70s, the postal monopoly stopped FedEx from delivering documents. Onerous airline regulations at first restricted it to flying tiny Falcon jets. By 1973, Smith was so desperate for cash that he flew to Las Vegas to play the blackjack tables. He wired the $27,000 he won back to FedEx.

Smith's persistence paid off. By the late 1970s, America came to rely on FedEx' ability to deliver goods overnight -- be it spare parts, urgent business documents, or 11th-hour birthday gifts. Merrill Lynch & Co. (MER ) execs even discovered employees were using FedEx to deliver documents between floors of its Manhattan headquarters building because it was faster and more reliable than the interoffice mail. These days, FedEx is a linchpin of the just-in-time deliveries revolution -- its planes and trucks serving as mobile warehouses -- that has helped companies around the globe cut costs and boost their productivity. The logistics service now contributes the lion's share -- 92% -- of FedEx' $26 billion in annual revenues.

Although FedEx has spawned numerous competitors, it is still the biggest operator, with a 44% share of the air express market. Its fleet of 645 aircraft and 71,000 trucks carry an average of 5.5 million shipments each day. And all because a college kid could see a market that others couldn't.

Fred Smith Videos

  • FedEx CEO Fred Smith -- Economy on 'Faster Growth Path'
    FedEx Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Frederick W. Smith discusses with Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times,...
  • Exclusive Interview with Frederick W.Smith-Founder FedEx - YouTube

Speaker Lists Featuring Fred Smith

FAQs on booking Fred Smith

  • How to book Fred Smith?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Fred Smith for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers. Fill out a booking request form for Fred Smith, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Fred Smith or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Fred Smith?

    Booking fees for Fred Smith, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies according to the circumstances, including the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. Speaker fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Fred Smith, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Fred Smith?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Fred Smith for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Fred Smith for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Fred Smith or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Fred Smith or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Fred Smith is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Fred Smith for your event is available upon request. Fred Smith generally travels from Memphis, TN, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Brian Chesky, Eric Schmidt, Charles Schwab, Sheryl Sandberg and Geoff Colvin. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Fred Smith for an upcoming event.

Fred Smith Speaker Videos

  • FedEx CEO Fred Smith -- Economy on 'Faster Growth Path'
    FedEx Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Frederick W. Smith discusses with Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times, business regulation and tax policy to encourage job...
    Exclusive Interview with Frederick W.Smith-Founder FedEx - YouTube

Fred Smith News

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Speakers Similar to Fred Smith

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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