When Fredrick Smith was attending college at Yale in 1962, he was arguing with a professor about a business model for delivery service. He imagined that he could ship packages at night when airports and roads were less crowded. That idea lead to the founding of one of the largest delivery services in the world.
FedEx was founded under the name Federal Express in 1971 by current CEO Frederick W. Smith. The company began by offering document and small package service to 25 cities via Falcon 20 jets.
The company was incorporated as the FedEx Corporation in 1997 when the company acquired Caliber Systems Inc. This lead to a larger service offering than just express shipping. In 1981, the company became the first to offer the Overnight Letter service.
By 1983, the company had reached $1 billion in revenue; the first company to do so without mergers or acquisitions.
FedEx officially adopts their well-known moniker as a replacement for Federal Express in 1994.
In 2000, the company acquired Tower Group International.
FedEx Express and the U.S. Postal Service forge a public-private alliance in 2001, one which allows FedEx Express to provides air transportation of some U.S. mail and places FedEx Drop Boxes at post offices nationwide.
In 2004, the company acquired Kinko’s and re-branded them as FedEx Kinko’s. In June 2019, Dollar General and FedEx announced a partnership which would allow customers to use their local Dollar General store for pick up and drop-off services.
The company announced weak quarterly results in June 2019, losing $2 billion. FedEx warned that continued weak global trade will hurt overall profits in the coming year.
Today, the company operates several divisions worldwide, including FedEx Ground, FedEx Express and FedEx Freight. The company currently employs nearly 400,000 workers.