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FedEx CEO Saved the Company Playing Blackjack

Stocks in this article: FDX

NEW YORK (TheStreet) It's not everyday you hear about a Fortune 500 company being saved in Las Vegas, but then again, FedEx (FDX) isn't an ordinary company.

In a post to Quora, Marc Bodnick, Co-Founder of Elevation Partners, noted that FedEx CEO Fred Smith actually saved the fledgling company at a time when it was near bankruptcy, and kept it afloat by playing -- what else -- blackjack.

"I'm nearly certain the answer is yes," Bodnick wrote in the post. "Check out Changing How The World Does Business -- a book about the history of FedEx, by Roger Frock. Frock was one of the founding executives at the company."

On page 101 of the book, author Roger Frock wrote:

By mid-July our funds were so meager that on Friday we were down to about $5,000 in the checking account, while we needed $24,000 for the jet fuel payment... When I arrived back in Memphis on Monday morning, much to my surprise, the bank balance stood at nearly $32,000. I asked Fred where the funds had come from, and he responded, "The meeting with the General Dynamics board was a bust and I knew we needed money for Monday, so I took a plane to Las Vegas and won $27,000." I said, "You mean you took our last $5,000-- how could you do that?" He shrugged his shoulders and said, "What difference does it make? Without the funds for the fuel companies, we couldn't have flown anyway." Fred's luck held again. It was not much, but it came at a critical time and kept us in business for another week."

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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