UPS announced Friday morning that its board has named Chief Operating Officer David Abney as its new chief executive officer, effective Sept. 1. Current CEO Scott Davis, 62, will retire and assume the role of non-executive chairman.
The transition follows UPS' normal practice of promoting from within for its top leadership.
Abney, 58, will be the 11th chief executive in the company's 107-year history. He began working for UPS in 1974 as a part-time package loader. As chief operating officer, Abney is responsible for UPS logistics, sustainability, and engineering, leading the company’s significant investment in alternative fuel fleets, and implementing programs to expand the company’s total freight volume across more than 200 countries and territories.
"After thorough consideration of candidates, the board believes David embodies the experience, vision and leadership skills necessary to lead UPS," Duane Ackerman, a board member and chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, said in a statement.
Davis noted Abney's "depth of understanding" about the current transportation and logistics arenas.
“His capability to anticipate global trends, identify risks, and guide the company and our clients to capitalize on opportunities has proven invaluable," Davis said. "We have navigated through challenging economic recovery periods during my tenure as CEO. I have appreciated his dedication to UPS and support to me, and I am confident that David will provide the decisive leadership needed to move UPS to greater accomplishments in the future.”
Prior to becoming COO, Abney served as president of UPS International. In that role, he oversaw several global acquisitions to expand service capacity and local market presence. His international experience includes leading the logistics and freight divisions in Canada and Latin America, as well as heading global freight forwarding and customs brokerage. His other significant assignments include serving as president of SonicAir, a same-day delivery service that signaled UPS' move into the service parts logistics sector, and leading the team that completed one of the company’s largest acquisitions — the Fritz Companies.
A native of Greenwood, Miss., Abney earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Delta State University. He serves on several boards of directors, including Airlines for America and the Coalition of Service Industries, which seeks to lower barriers to world trade for service firms. He is also chairman of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.
Ackerman welcomed the new role for Davis.
"As the chairman and CEO for the past nearly seven years, Scott Davis has skillfully guided UPS through one of the most turbulent global economic periods in history while executing growth strategies in emerging markets and specialized business segments," said Ackerman. “We congratulate Scott and look forward to his continued leadership and insights as Chairman of the Board of Directors.”
Davis joined UPS in 1986 when UPS acquired the technology company II Morrow, where he was CEO. The Oregon native served in positions of increasing responsibility in finance and accounting before assuming the role of chief financial officer and joining the UPS Management Committee in 2001. In 2006, he was named vice chairman and was elected to the UPS Board of Directors. He became CEO and chairman on Jan. 1, 2008.
Under Davis’ leadership, UPS has made significant improvements in its logistics network as the company has expanded its reach and capabilities through Europe, Asia and the Americas. Davis has presided over rapid growth in international operations and supply chain and freight. He also oversaw strategic initiatives to expand the company’s U.S. and European air hubs, the opening of the intra-Asian air hub in Shenzhen, and transformation of the company’s U.S. small package organization, the largest operating unit of the company.
Davis has also served on the President’s Export Council and previously as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.