UPS CEO Carol Tome.
Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images
United Parcel Service
operated a little like the New York Yankees. But the company has changed in ways that are positive for the stock.
Investors, along with baseball fans, may know that the Bronx Bombers have maintained an appearance policy that is unique among major league clubs. Most facial hair is banned: Yankees are clean cut.
Investors probably aren’t aware, however, that until recently, UPS (ticker: UPS) had a similar policy. Up until two years ago, UPS drivers, clad in their neatly pressed brown uniforms, didn’t sport facial hair or tattoos.
It was simply corporate policy. It started generations ago to help UPS gain a competitive edge. Delivery people that could go in the front door instead of the loading dock could be faster and build a bond with business operators.
But 1907, the year UPS was founded, is more than a century ago, and times change. CEO Carol Tome relaxed the policy when she took over at UPS in the middle of 2020, though there are still limits. Beards are supposed to be neatly maintained and tattoos on faces or hands aren’t allowed.
“That hadn’t been allowed here, let people be themselves,” CFO Brian Newman tells Barron’s. He believes the change has benefited his company. “In a time of pandemic, with a lot of challenges, people [felt] better about coming to work at UPS,” he says.
Tome arrived at UPS in June 2020, early enough in the Covid-19 pandemic that no one knew how things would turn out. The result to date is so far,…