UPS named Mitch Nichols to become president of UPS Airlines as Robert L. Lekites retires from that position after 36 years with the global logistics company.
Nichols has been vice president of UPS Air Group operations since 2007 and has been with UPS since 1987.
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Lekites, who first joined UPS in 1974 as a delivery driver, moved through a number of management positions in various locations before taking responsibility for the company’s airline and international operations starting in 1997.
David Abney, UPS chief operating officer, said his “leadership was instrumental as UPS Airlines made the transition from being primarily a domestic carrier to a global logistics leader.”
As UPS Airlines president, Lekites oversaw all parts of airline operations as well as Worldport, the carrier’s package processing facility and all-points international air hub in Louisville, Ky. That included a period when UPS greatly expanded its global air network with several new aircraft types and new or revamped air hubs around the world.
It launched the initial UPS flight to China under Lekites, became the largest air cargo and express carrier in Latin America with its acquisition of Challenge Air Cargo, and boosted its heavy air freight services by acquiring Menlo Worldwide Forwarding.
Nichols previously worked for II Morrow Inc., a communications and navigation company that UPS acquired in 1986. In 2000, he went to Louisville to oversee UPS’ aircraft maintenance and engineering.
After moving up to vice president of UPS Air Group operations, Nichols helped oversee the company’s facility expansions in China – with new hubs in Shanghai and Shenzhen – development of a new international air hub in Calgary, Canada, and a $1 billion expansion of Worldport.
Abney said Nichols brings to his role a background “in technology, strategy, quality and operations,” and experience chairing various industry committees dealing with engineering and maintenance to broad policy issues.
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