FRAMINGHAM (04/24/2000) - When CIO Dennis H. Jones started at Federal Express Corp., it was a 2-year-old, $30 million start-up.
Now, after 25 years with the $20 billion, Memphis-based global shipping giant, Jones plans to retire by year's end.
Jones, who agreed to stay on to help his successor, Chief Technology Officer Robert B. Carter, make the transition to CIO, said he will be looking for new challenges.
"I'll probably be retired for half a nanosecond," said Jones, who is also FedEx's executive vice president of information technology. "I'm looking for a different challenge with a lot of breadth and depth to it. I have a lot of different options, but it remains to be seen in which direction I go."
Company officials said the shift won't affect its operations or customers.
"Dennis has been our IT visionary, placing us at the forefront of technological innovations and Internet business applications," said FedEx CEO Frederick W.
Jones began his career at FedEx in 1975 and ascended to CIO 10 years ago.
At that time, customers were tracking and tracing their shipped goods via free PCs and proprietary software provided by FedEx, a system later named FedEx PowerShip.
In 1994, FedEx launched its Web site and became the first shipping company to offer customers online package tracking.
The company also brought out two new products: FedEx Ship, a shipping and tracking software for Windows and Macintosh that is loaded directly onto customers' computers; and interNetShip, a Web-based shipping application.
"I'm proud of the leadership we have taken in the area of e-commerce and the way we have extended our IT capacity into the marketplace," Jones said.
Jones was also the driving force behind the development of the FedEx World Technology Center in Collierville, Tennessee, home to the company's state-of-the art IT department.
John Fontanella, an analyst at AMR Research Inc. in Boston, said Jones is, in many ways, an IT pioneer. And he's the type of person who will do whatever it takes to get a job done -- a trait that didn't always sit well with some of his colleagues, said Fontanella.
"He's a very forceful person, and some people in FedEx were unwilling to make the changes necessary to make FedEx a supply-chain management company," Fontanella explained.
Carter, 40, joined FedEx in 1993 and has more than 20 years of IT experience.
As CTO for the past two and a half years, he has been responsible for technology strategy and for developing applications to make it easier for customers to do business with FedEx.
FedEx is working on creating a single point of access to its customer support functions, such as customer service, e-commerce, billing and automation, either online or via the telephone, said Carter.
"I'm already active in the transition phase -- taking these new initiatives and bringing them to conclusion," he said.