- FedEx CFO Alan Graf Jr., whose retirement plans were announced in March, took the opportunity to share his thoughts and memories during the company's earnings call Tuesday night.
- "I'm extremely optimistic about the future," Graf said on the call. "We have assembled unmatched physical and technological networks, keeping the world's supply chains moving with very high levels of reliability. Although our capital investments have sometimes been questioned, the past quarter provides a strong indication that these are providing increasing returns. And I am certain that will be the case moving forward."
- "In his 40 years at FedEx, Alan has helped build and transform this company," Chairman and CEO Fred Smith said in Graf's retirement announcement. "FedEx would not be the $69 billion globally admired corporation we are today without his leadership." Mike Lenz, corporate vice president and treasurer, will assume the role of CFO beginning September 22, while Graf will remain as senior advisor through the end of the year.
"Alan has been a part of every significant decision and helped navigate tremendous growth strategic investments, international acquisitions and global and market change. FedEx would not be the globally admired Corporation, it is today, without Alan's leadership," said Smith during his opening remarks on the earnings call.
Graf, 66, joined Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx as a senior financial analyst in 1980, and became CFO of FedEx Express in 1991.
"In the fall of 1991, Fred [Smith] took a chance on a 38-year-old treasurer, despite a significant amount of pressure to bring in a proven, seasoned CFO," Graf said on the call. "When he told me he wanted me for the job, he said he had a tremendous amount of confidence in me, and challenged me to always think long-term, and strategically ... Fred was very clear that I should always communicate what I thought, no matter how against the grain it might be."
Graf assumed the CFO role at FedEx Corporation in 1998, and has been responsible for all global financial functions, since, including financial planning, treasury, tax, accounting and controls, internal audit, investor relations, and corporate development.
Since the pandemic hit in late March, FedEx Ground volumes have multiplied as more people stay at home and order online, Commercial Appeal wrote last month. In response, FedEx "had to prepare for the worst and hope for something better," Graf said. In April, FedEx disclosed it drew down its line of credit by $1.5 billion to preserve financial flexibility.
"Liquidity became the number one thing," Graf told Commercial Appeal. "We wanted to make sure we had the financial resources to withstand whatever COVID-19 storm there was."
In July, Graf received a $575,000 bonus, Commercial Appeal reported, for "outstanding leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic." In a statement, FedEx said Graf's role in solidifying its financial stability amid the pandemic "ranks among his greatest achievements in his decades of financial leadership at FedEx."
In his retirement, Graf will remain on both Nike and Mid-America Apartment Communities' boards of directors, and will continue his membership of the University of Memphis Board of Trustees.