The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) board unanimously selected Louis DeJoy to serve as its 75th Postmaster General, a private-sector pick that feeds speculation that the world's largest postal organization could be headed for privatization.
DeJoy, a former executive at XPO Logistics, Inc. (NYSE: XPO), is expected to begin serving in the role on June 15. He replaces Megan Brennan, who announced her plans to retire in October 2019. DeJoy will be the first person from outside USPS to lead the organization since automotive executive Marvin Runyon was appointed in 1992, and just the fifth Postmaster General from the private sector since 1971 when the Postal Service became an independent agency within the Executive Branch.
DeJoy had been Chairman and CEO of New Breed Logistics, which had been a USPS contractor for 25 years, when New Breed merged with XPO in 2014. DeJoy served as CEO of XPO's supply chain business in the Americas before retiring in December 2015. He served on XPO's board of directors until 2018.
"Louis DeJoy understands the critical public service role of the United States Postal Service, and the urgent need to strengthen it for future generations," commented USPS Chairman Robert Duncan in a statement on May 6. "The Board appreciated Louis' depth of knowledge on the important issues facing the Postal Service and his desire to work with all of our stakeholders on preserving and protecting this essential institution."
DeJoy asserted that he is committed to upholding the Postal Service's role within the U.S. government – a self-supporting, independent federal agency. It is the only delivery service that reaches all the approximately 155 million residences in the U.S. while receiving no tax dollars for operating expenses. It relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
"I look forward to working with the supporters of the Postal Service in Congress and the Administration to ensure the Postal Service remains an integral part of the United States government," DeJoy said.
However, DeJoy and his wife are reportedly close allies and major campaign fundraisers for President Donald Trump, who has been openly criticizing the Postal Service. In February, Trump nominated Aldona Wos, DeJoy's wife and an active member of the Republican National Committee, to be the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
Trump initiated a move to overhaul the agency in 2018, including the potential for privatization. Trump has also been highly critical of USPS for allegedly "subsidizing" Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) package delivery.
"The Postal Service is a joke, because they're handing out packages for Amazon and other Internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it," Trump responded when asked about USPS during a White House press conference on April 24.
"If they raise the price of a package by approximately four times, it will be a whole new ball game. But they don't want to raise [prices] because they don't want to insult Amazon and other companies perhaps that they like."
Postmaster General Brennan warned in early April of a steep and sudden drop in mail volumes, the agency's most profitable piece of business, as a result of COVID-19, estimating that the pandemic will increase the USPS net operating loss by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months. To help shore up the potential losses, Brennan had been looking toward a $10 billion loan that was carved out specifically for the Postal Service in the CARES Act.
However, Trump stated during the April 24 press conference he would not authorize U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to sign off on the loan unless USPS raises the prices it charges Amazon and others for parcel delivery.
In January a coalition of consumer advocates, postal workers and community groups protested against the Trump administration's efforts to overhaul the agency, calling for the next Postmaster General to "uphold the Postal Service's public mission."