On Monday, June 15, 2020, Mr. Louis DeJoy begins his service as the 75th Postmaster General (PMG) of the United States and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Postal Service (USPS). A retired executive in the logistics industry. Mr. DeJoy was the Chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, Inc., a contractor to the USPS for more than 25 years. The company received USPS Quality Supplier Awards from 1995 to 1998.
PMG DeJoy takes the helm at a precarious time. The USPS was already facing financial challenges before the pandemic, and the precipitous drop in mail volumes has increased operating losses. The Board of Governors has unanimously requested grants and loans totaling $84 billion from Congress. Calls for substantial legislative postal reform have grown louder.
In addition to the pandemic, PMG DeJoy’s appointment also comes when President Trump is attacking the USPS, especially regarding pricing for packages. While appointed by the Board of Governors – not the president – PMG DeJoy has donated $360,000 to President Trump’s reelection campaign. The questions surrounding his commitment to the non-partisan nature of the USPS are legitimate.
PMG DeJoy will send a clear message to the industry and USPS employees by two decisions that must be made quickly. First, whether he will support the request for additional funding; and second, the appointment of the Deputy Postmaster General. The entire Board – 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat – unanimously voted for the funding. They also voted unanimously for PMG DeJoy’s appointment. Financial stability is needed now, because legislative reform in the immediate future is unlikely.
On June 1, 2020, Deputy PMG Ron Stroman resigned from his position. The Board needs this role filled to regain a quorum, meaning an announcement will be made quickly. If PMG DeJoy selects another outsider, he will be playing to the worst fears that he supports a breakup and privatization. If he selects someone from the current USPS executive team, he’ll demonstrate the importance of continuity amidst needed change. Candidates include Chief Information Officer Kristin Seaver, Chief Operating Officer David Williams and Chief Marketing Officer Jakki Strako.
We wish PMG DeJoy the best as he navigates the operational and political hurdles ahead.
At this time, we want to wish the best to the departing PMG – Megan Brennan, who retired on June 12, 2020, after 34 years of service in the USPS and 5 years as the nation’s 74th Postmaster General.
Until the final months of her tenure, the Board of Governors didn’t have enough members to garner a quorum. At one point, PMG Brennan served without any appointed governors. Her steadfast leadership not only kept the USPS moving forward but grew revenues while mailing volumes declined.
When PMG Brennan took the helm in 2015, her initial actions demonstrated that she was listening to the mailing industry and the general public. First, she terminated the plant consolidation program. While internal reform remains important, that consolidation plan was flawed, and service levels fell. As the former Chief Operating Officer, PMG Brennan understood the negative impacts, and took decisive action.
At the same time, she halted calls for moving to 5-day a week delivery. The debate around delivery frequency will always be more political than practical. Removing this distraction allowed PMG Brennan and her team to focus on improving efficiencies through automation and growing the package business.
PMG Brennan was a strong advocate of industry engagement, supporting the Mailers Technical Advisory Council, Areas Inspiring Mail and the Postal Customer Councils. She didn’t just make an appearance at events but took the time to speak to people one-on-one. Never once did she shy away from a tough question.
My favorite speech by PMG Brennan was at the dedication of the JFK Forever Stamp at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. With her opening remarks, PMG Brennan captured the audience with a wonderful story about her parents and JFK’s election in 1960. Through her speech, she connected the past to the present – and our future.
To Ms. Brennan – we wish you the best for the future. May the road rise up to meet you; may the wind be always at your back; may the sun shine warm upon your face; and the rains fall soft upon your fields. Slainte!