Consumer Goods And Services

How the USPS is Responding to the Digital Economy

Patrick Donahoe

Over the past decade, the rapid growth of the digital economy has created problems for the United States Postal Service. Consider the USPS’s loss of revenue when people started paying bills online. Or when Amazon began offering a one stop shop for consumer goods from warehouse to home. Faced with these challenges, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe worked to find potential growth opportunities for the organization. Over the course of his tenure, the USPS partnered with a number of e-commerce businesses to become the number one home delivery service for e-commerce in the country. More recently, the USPS entered the multi-billion dollar online grocery industry by partnering with key providers to establish mechanisms for delivery. For Donahoe, continued success for the USPS relies on flexibility in the face of ever-changing consumer needs.

Patrick Donahoe served as the 73rd United States Postal Service Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer from October 2010 until his retirement in February 2015. He was responsible for the overall operation of the $69 billion annual postal business, which delivers more than 150 billion pieces of mail and packages per year to over 165 million business and residential address.

In his capacity as Postmaster General, Donahoe was responsible for a number of significant actions that grew revenue, reduced costs, and improved cash flow. During Donahoe’s tenure, the Postal Service introduced a number of new products, technologies, and services. He also implemented a strategic pricing structure for mail and packages. This resulted in a 50% increase in package volume and a boost in annual revenues by over $4.5 billion. Donahoe also served as USPS’s Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to 2010, where he was responsible for the day-to-day activities of the largest retail and logistics network in the United States. He also managed the national recovery efforts from both the 2001 Anthrax attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

Donahoe is a 39-year veteran of the USPS, having first entered the service as a clerk in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has testified before various committees in the US Senate and House of Representatives on 12 different occasions over the past 20 years. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he majored in economics. He also graduated from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he was a Sloan Fellow.