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HDA Class of 2001

James P. Kelly

Business Executive

University College–Newark 1973


James P. Kelly, retired chair and CEO of United Parcel Service, started his career at UPS moonlighting as a temporary part-time delivery driver during the 1964 holiday season. While working his way through University College–Newark, he decided to become a full-time driver when he found out it paid $2.85 an hour—double what he was making as an accountant at the time. After graduating from Rutgers in 1973, the Jersey City native rocketed up the UPS management chain, handling labor relations and other divisions before taking the leadership helm of the world's largest package-distribution company in 1997. During his tenure, he was responsible for the delivery of 12 million packages a day; 360,000 employees worldwide; and annual sales of $30 billion. In 1999, UPS went public with a $5.5 billion offering. Forbes named UPS Company of the Year in 2000, and Worth placed Kelly on its list of 50 top CEOs in 2000 and again in 2001. He has served the President's Export Council and the Annie E. Casey Foundation Board of Trustees, dedicated to disadvantaged youth. Kelly retired from UPS in December 2001.


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