UPS names Carol Tomé as CEO

Carol Tome speaks at the Women in Leadership luncheon at the Commerce Club in Atlanta Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

Credit: Bita Honarvar,

Credit: Bita Honarvar,

Carol Tome speaks at the Women in Leadership luncheon at the Commerce Club in Atlanta Wednesday, April 21, 2010.

UPS has named Carol Tomé as its new chief executive officer effective June 1.

Tomé, the former chief financial officer of Home Depot and a member of the UPS board, will replace current chairman and CEO David Abney, 64, who will retire.

It’s unusual for Sandy Springs-based UPS to select an outside candidate as CEO.

The shipping giant, which is known for employees who have spent their entire careers with UPS, typically relies on succession planning within its executive team. However, Jim Barber, the former heir apparent as chief operating officer, announced his retirement last fall.

Tomé, 63, is well-known and well-respected in the business community and in Atlanta and will be the first female CEO of UPS. She retired from Home Depot last year.

UPS lead independent director William Johnson chaired the nominating committee and called Tomé “the clear choice” after a rigorous selection process involving both internal and external candidates.

He called Tomé in a written statement one of the most respected and talented leaders in corporate America and said as a member of the UPS board she has in-depth knowledge of UPS’s business, strategy and people.

The news comes amid a time of uncertainty for global commerce due to the coronavirus pandemic and as companies brace for the impact of tight restrictions on travel from Europe.

Abney, a career UPSer and CEO since 2014, will become executive chairman of the board June 1, then will retire from the board Sept. 30. He will remain as a special consultant to the company through the end of 2020.

Johnson, who will become non-executive chairman, said in his statement that Abney has had “a truly exceptional career at UPS.”

Abney has improved the company's performance as online shopping has driven massive increases in volume, particularly during holiday periods. And he has worked to reposition the business for the rapid growth of e-commerce. The company has also delved into new technologies such as drones and automated vehicles during his tenure.

Abney said in a written statement that it’s “the right time for me to pass the baton.”

“I am extremely pleased for Carol and know she is the best choice to lead the company,” Abney said.

Tomé said in a statement that Abney “has led a remarkable transformation at UPS and I plan to build on his success.”

Tomé will be the 12th CEO of UPS in its 113-year history.