United Parcel Service Inc. has promoted a former U.S. foreign service officer, trade negotiator and long-time global public affairs expert for a new executive position that melds together functions related to external communication and government advocacy.
Laura Lane, who most recently served nearly a decade as UPS’s president for global public affairs in Washington and advocated passionately for the company’s views on trade policy, has been named chief corporate affairs and communications officer, reporting directly to new CEO Carol Tomé.
Ms. Lane’s career has spanned a variety of roles in the public and private sector. She started with UPS in 2011 after similar roles with Citigroup and Time Warner.
Those positions came after a career in diplomacy which started in Rwanda in 1993, where she worked in the embassy as a liaison with armed groups and helped more than 250 Americans flee the country when talks broke down and a conflict broke out that would devolve into a genocide. She described the experience in a 2015 TED talk that has been viewed more than 44,000 times.
She later became a trade negotiator in the office of the United States Trade Representative, working on China’s accession to the WTO.
More recently, she has also served on President Trump’s advisory council for doing business in Africa and became a U.S. government appointee to the Asia Pacific Economic Forum’s Business Advisory Committee.
During an interview with Global Atlanta during the APEC forum in Atlanta, she outlined how UPS is working with the Trump administration on an initiative led by presidential advisor (and daughter) Ivanka Trump to drive prosperity for women-owned small businesses globally.
Her global work hasn’t kept her from investing time with Atlanta-based organizations: In March 2019, Ms. Lane was a featured speaker at the World Affairs Council of Atlanta’s International Women’s Day breakfast, and on July 22 she joined the Atlanta Council on International Relations for a wide-ranging discussion on global supply chains in the COVID-19 era.
She described the crisis as a “pivot point” for the global trading system, which is increasingly under attack amid a rise in protectionism as the pandemic strained global supply chains in critical items like personal protective gear and medicines.
From Ms. Lane’s perspective, this is a time to regroup and strengthen the rules that bind countries together for mutual prosperity.
“We either toward building a new type of trade liberalization, or we become more protectionist and have a closed trading system,” she said. View the full discussion below:
Her appointment was announced just before UPS posted 13.4 percent revenue growth to $20.5 billion and $1.8 billion in second-quarter profit on higher volumes as consumers confined to their homes due to COVID-19 took more deliveries through e-commerce platforms.
The international segment saw particularly strong growth, with volume increasing by 10 percent and adjusted operating profit jumping by 27 percent to $842 million on $3.7 billion in international revenue, compared to the second quarter in 2019.
The supply chain and freight saw revenues increase by 8.5 percent, though profit was down slightly as higher air cargo volumes out of Asia were offset by lower truck traffic in the U.S.