Few companies have compiled a list of reputational accolades to match what FedEx Corporation has accumulated during the 12 years that Bill Margaritis has served as its senior vice president of worldwide communications and investor relations since 1997: eight consecutive years in the top 10 on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies and among the same magazine’s Best Places to Work in nine out of 10 years since it was launched in 1998.
Clearly, that kind of reputational consistency is a team effort—FedEx chief executive once explained that “whatever you do to enhance your company’s reputation will yield excellent financial returns”—but it’s quite clear that Margaritis has played a leadership role in ensuring that Smith’s commitment to excellence in reputation management has been communicated both internally and externally.
“The reputation management process is like a mosaic that I help bring together in a cohesive fashion,” he told author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ronald Alsop, who featured FedEx prominently in his book The 18 Immutable Laws of Corporate Reputation. “I galvanize the investor relations, employee communications and public relations departments to operate under the same game plan.” Alsop’s conclusion: “There’s no better example of dedication to corporate reputation than FedEx.”
During his 12 years at FedEx, Margaritis has been instrumental in repositioning FedEx from an air express carrier to a full-service transportation, logistics and e-commerce company. HeHeHe has also transformed the communications function, now widely recognized throughout the industry as a best-in-class department for reputation management and change management.
Margaritis has also helped FedEx develop new standards for communications measurement, applying rigorous metrics to all aspects of internal and external communications, with a focus on the behavioral impact of communications.
In addition to his communications role, Margaritis also has been deeply involved in a wide range of business initiatives for the company. He currently serves on the FedEx customer experience steering committee, an enterprise-wide task force dedicated to maintaining the company’s superior customer service reputation, and is also the primary architect of the company’s annual “Customer Summit,” which is responsible for developing key strategic customer-facing initiatives across the corporation.
Prior to joining FedEx, Margaritis was vice president of Bechtel International, based in London, England, and was responsible for managing public relations and marketing communications for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia. He also worked in Washington, D.C., and Athens, Greece, for separate divisions of the company. He also has a broad experience in government affairs through positions with Occidental Petroleum, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Michigan State Senate. In 1984, Margaritis worked with the Reagan-Bush re-election campaign as the deputy director for the State of Michigan.
He serves on various boards, including the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, the Arthur Page Society, the Reputation Institute, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, the We Are Family Foundation, and the Board of Counselors for the Council on Public Relations Agencies. He also serves as a Jury Commissioner in Shelby County, Tenn.