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FedEx CEO Delivers Address

Monday, February 20, 2017

Addressing a packed hall of 250 business and other students at the Sewall Center this month, FedEx Ground President and CEO Henry Maier shared some memories about his own college years, along with insights about his firm's entrepreneurial culture and management style.

Maier, who grew up in Detroit when the auto industry was still booming, said he considered skipping college and taking a factory job, but his father forbid him from doing so. "The stuff your professors are teaching you today matters," Maier said. "You're going to live this in real life. You can hate accounting rules, but you have to live by them."

In his remarks, Maier, the latest guest of the university's CEO Lecture Series, discussed his principles of management, the foremost of which he said was that "great communication skills are invaluable." He also attempted to dispel myths about the daily work of CEOs, who he said "are among the most reviled people in America these days." More than half of his time at work, Maier said, is spent on "people matters," such as payroll and benefits, training and development, career progression and retention strategies.

After his remarks, Maier sat down with President Chris Howard for an open Q&A session, where he was asked about his heroes and role models, challenges and lessons learned. Students and faculty continued talking with Maier at a reception in Sewall lafter the remarks.

Previous participants in the CEO Speakers Series include:

  • Jeff Broadhurst, Eat'n Park Hospitality Group
  • Nigel Hearne, Chevron North America
  • Dr. William Winkenwerder, Highmark
  • Kevin Colbert, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Richard Simmons, Allegheny Technologies Inc.
  • Kim Tillotson Fleming, Hefren-Tillotson
  • J. Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors