UPS COO's retirement overshadows e-commerce fueled profit rise

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: David Abney, chairman and CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS), speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the NYSE in New York© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: David Abney, chairman and CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS), speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) – United Parcel Service Inc’s (N:) e-commerce fueled quarterly profit beat on Tuesday was overshadowed by news that Jim Barber, widely viewed as the world’s biggest parcel delivery firm’s next leader, would retire at year-end.

Shares in Atlanta-based UPS fell 4 percent to $113.84 on news of the departure of Chief Operating Officer Barber, who oversees the company’s global small package, freight, supply chain, freight forwarding and engineering.

“Investors assumed he was going to be the next CEO and this caught us by surprise.

Unfortunately the market does not like surprises,” Seaport Global analyst Kevin Sterling said.

UPS volume for Next Day Air delivery within the United States rose about 24% in the quarter ended Sept. 30, benefiting from strong e-commerce demand and rival FedEx Corp’s (N:) breakup with online retailer Amazon.com Inc (O:) this summer.

Despite the advantage, investors remain wary of the potential ill-effects of the ongoing US-China trade war on the company as it gears up for what could be its biggest holiday season in history.

Net income rose 16% to $1.75 billion, or $2.01 per share, in the quarter, compared with $1.51 billion, or $1.73 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5% to $18.32 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.07 per share.

Analysts on average had estimated earnings of $2.06 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

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