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FedEx founder Fred Smith to step down from CEO: 'We have a rigorous succession plan'

FedEx founder Frederick Wallace Smith is stepping down as CEO.

The legendary business leader appointed Raj Subramaniam as the next successor for the multi-billion dollar global transport company and said the shift in leadership was planned for "quite some time."

"In 2019, Raj Subramaniam, who was our CEO of FedEx Express -- our largest of the three major operating companies -- was selected to be my successor in the event of my death or…disablement," Smith told FOX Business host Charles Payne on "Making Money," Wednesday.

Earlier this week, the package delivery giant announced that Subramaniam will be replacing Smith as CEO and president of FedEx Corporation effective June 1, to align with the company’s 50th operational year.

Subramaniam, 56, joined the Memphis, Tennessee-based company in 1991 and served in several marketing and management jobs in Asia and the United States. He joined the FedEx Board of Directors in 2020 and will maintain his seat on the board. Subramaniam said it was his "honor and privilege" to step into the role that Smith created.

Smith will step down and become FedEx’s executive chairman.

"[FedEx] has always had rigorous succession planning, particularly for our senior officers, which is reviewed by the board, and in particular my position as chairman and as the chief executive officer," he said.

The CEO first wrote his business idea in a C-graded college term paper and decades later FedEx ended up becoming a successful package delivery giant with 600,000 employees worldwide.

Before FedEx was founded in 1973, Smith was a captain in the U.S. Marines and received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

Payne asked Smith if he sees the younger generation having the same "willingness" and drive he once had to start businesses amid a spike in entrepreneurship.

"I do think that entrepreneurship will continue to grow," Smith answered.

"The reason I think it will is because [people have] the internet and the ability to assemble capital, make the communications and the aggregation of potential investors…the venture capital business… I do think that entrepreneurship will continue to grow…there's an explosion of it here, since the pandemic," Smith concluded.

This article originally appeared on Fox Business

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