Ken May

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This article is about the Topgolf CEO and former FedEx executive and March of Dimes chairman. For the American mathematician, see Kenneth May.
Kenneth A. May
Born Memphis, TN, USA
Residence Dallas, Texas, USA[1]
Other names Ken May
Education Master of Business Administration
Alma mater Harding Academy
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee
Employer UPS (1980–1982)
FedEx (1982–2008)
Krispy Kreme (2011-2012)
Topgolf (2013-Present)
Home town Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Title Chief Executive Officer,
   Topgolf International, Inc.
Board member of
March of Dimes Trustees
   (chairman)

Kenneth A. May[2] is a Memphis, Tennessee native, former CEO of FedEx Office, and chairman of the March of Dimes' board of trustees. In November 2011, he was appointed COO of Krispy Kreme. In July 2014, Ken became President and CEO of Topgolf International, Inc.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, May attended Harding Academy in Memphis.[3] A graduate from the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee, May holds a master's degree in business administration from the latter.[1]

May's father was a general contractor who had become the head Federal Housing Administration inspector in Memphis, Tennessee. May later described his father as a perfectionist, somebody who believed in craftsmanship, and whose constancy left an indelible mark on his son. May would later draw upon his father's integrity and diligence while performing as CEO of FedEx Kinko's and CEO of Topgolf.[3]

May's wife Tosha gave birth to their daughter Alexa 12 weeks prematurely. The 2-pound (0.91 kg) baby was kept in a neonatal intensive care unit for three months. May and his wife credit March of Dimes research with their daughter's survival.[1]

Philanthropy[edit]

Ken May is a strong and effective volunteer leader for our mission, especially our Prematurity Campaign. [...] We look forward to Ken's leadership as we work towards our goal of giving every baby a healthy start in life.

Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes[1]

A "long-time" volunteer for the March of Dimes, May was elected to their national board in 2004, chaired the annual WalkAmerica fundraiser in Dallas in 2006, and was elected the foundation's chairman of the board of trustees on June 18, 2007 (2007-06-18). [1]

Career[edit]

UPS[edit]

May began his career as a part-time supervisor at the United Parcel Service (UPS) and worked there for three years. Since May had no intention of becoming a UPS truck driver—a prerequisite for full-time work with the company—with his college degree, he instead interviewed with FedEx's Memphis hub and became a night-shift supervisor. Shipping 162,000 packages his first day, May never intended to stay with the company, expecting to only be there six months.[4]

FedEx[edit]

After joining FedEx in 1982 as a night-shift supervisor, May received a total of 13 promotions. Over the years, May served the company as the senior vice president of the domestic ground operations division of FedEx Express (where he managed 60,000 employees and oversaw all US operations), as well as senior vice president of their air-ground and freight services division.[5]

Kinko's[edit]

In 2002, Kinko's chief executive officer (CEO) Gary Kusin tried to hire May to become his chief operating officer (COO), an offer the latter declined.[4] Coincidentally, May would become the CEO of the faltering company in January 2006, after FedEx bought the chain of stores in 2004.[5] During his two-year tenure, May experimented with the chain's formula: changing stores' sizes, formats, and merchandise, as well as implementing "a kind of hub-and-spoke system [where] one large store would handle big print jobs for surrounding small ones."[2] When May took the reins of FedEx Kinko's, the 22,000-employee company had a turnover rate of 80 percent; two years later, in January 2008, turnover was down to 18 percent, and complaints had fallen by 65 percent.[6]

I had a worker come tell me six years later that he still remembered that I sent a note to him when his father died and how much it meant, [...] He told me his own manager didn't take time to do anything more than authorize his bereavement pay.

May, speaking at a leadership seminar (Memphis, 2008)[6]

May described his style as "based on being courageous enough to be bold", which included admitting mistakes and caring about people. Priding himself on his personable relationships with the chain's employees, May wrote upwards of 25–50 notes a week congratulating employees on birthdays, promotions, new babies and achievements.[6]

In early 2006, May was the subject of a TIME article titled "People to Watch In International Business" in which author Jeremy Caplan opined that the 45-year old May "won't reprint his résumé anytime soon."[7] Kenneth May resigned as CEO of FedEx Office effective March 31, 2008 (2008-03-31) after a falling out with the corporation over future strategy of the copy chain; replacing May was his COO, Brian Philips.[8][9] After the announcement, FedEx shares fell $1.77, or about 2 percent.[8]

Krispy Kreme[edit]

On 28 November 2011, May became COO and president of Krispy Kreme.[10]

Topgolf[edit]

In July 2013, May joined Topgolf as its Chief Operating Officer. In July 2014, he was promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer. [11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Ken May, CEO of FedEx Kinko's, Named Chairman of the Board of Trustees of March of Dimes Foundation" (Press release). March of Dimes. 2007-06-18. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Deutsch, Claudia H. (2007-05-05). "Paper Jam at FedEx Kinko’s". The New York Times (New York City, New York, United States: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.). Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b Roberts, Jane (2007-02-21). "FedEx Kinko's chief spreads passion for work". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee, USA: E. W. Scripps Company). 
  4. ^ a b Boyle, Matthew (2007-01-18). "Kinko's chief: 'Willing to take short-term pain'". Fortune (New York City, New York, USA: CNNMoney.com). ISSN 0015-8259. Retrieved 2009-02-28. The FedEx-Kinko's merger has been a disappointment. But FedEx Kinko's CEO Ken May tells Fortune's Matthew Boyle that the company is back on the right track. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Jane (2008-03-08). "FedEx Kinko's CEO steps down". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee, USA: E. W. Scripps Company). Retrieved 2009-02-28. Memphian Ken May took helm of faltering chain in '06 
  6. ^ a b c Roberts, Jane (2008-01-09). "FedEx Kinko's CEO mixes boldness, humanity". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee, USA: E. W. Scripps Company). Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  7. ^ Caplan, Jeremy (2006-01-22). "People to Watch In International Business". TIME (United States: Time Warner). ISSN 0040-781X. 
  8. ^ a b Hunt, Katherine (2008-03-07). "FedEx says Ken May resigns as president and CEO of FedEx Kinko's unit". Forbes (New York City, New York, USA: Forbes). AFX News Limited. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  9. ^ Roberts, Jane (2008-06-03). "FedEx drops Kinko's name". The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee, USA: E. W. Scripps Company). Retrieved 2009-02-28. 'FedEx Office' title proves expensive 
  10. ^ Marcella Veneziale (28 November 2011). "Krispy Kreme names Kenneth May president, COO". National Restaurant News. 
  11. ^ http://topgolf.com/us/company/press-room/executive-bios/ken-may/
Preceded by
Gary Kusin
CEO of FedEx Office
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Brian Philips
Preceded by
James E. Sproull Jr.
Chairman of the March of Dimes' Board of Trustees
2007–current
Succeeded by
Incumbent