Raj Subramaniam’s steady rise to the top of FedEx

Raj Subramaniam

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala-born Rajesh ‘Raj’ Subramaniam, who has been chosen to head the iconic global firm FedEx, joined the company 31 years ago after making a phone call to its headquarters seeking a placement. Following an interview, the IITian was appointed as a junior analyst, a low-level post. However, he rose rapidly to the top through sheer hardwork and dedication.

From Kerala to the US

After passing out from Loyola School in Thiruvananthapuram, Raj joined the Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai and secured a gold medal in chemical engineering. Earning a Tata scholarship, Raj subsequently joined Syracuse University in New York, followed by an MBA from Austin University, Texas.

The US economy was going through a crisis period when Raj earned his MBA. Despite the difficult situation, FedEx conducted a campus interview in his university. However, Raj could not attend as he was in Chennai for his wedding. On returning to the US, then 24-year-old Raj decided to call up FedEx and ask for an opening.

Within five years of joining FedEx as a junior analyst, Raj was promoted to vice-president (marketing) of FedEx's Asia-Pacific region. Later, he became the regional head for Canada and the global marketing head in 2006. Raj subsequently became chief of FedEx Express, the cargo airline firm under FedEx, in 2019.

A family affair

Incidentally, three of Raj’s family members have worked at FedEx. His wife Uma – an alumna of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad – was an employee of FedEx till three years ago. Raj’s younger brother Rajeev has been part of the IT section of FedEx for the past 28 years, while Raj’s son Arjun has been working under him for the last four years. Raj has a daughter too, Ananya, who is a second year computer science student.

A king’s salary

Presently, Raj earns $8.237 million, which is around Rs 62.32 crore. As CEO, his pay package is expected to match that of Frederick W Smith, the founder and current CEO, which is $14.3 million (Rs 108.37 crore). Bonus and equity shares are among other perks.

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