Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe

Biography of 73rd U.S. Postmaster General

Patrick Donahoe
Patrick Donahoe, 74th US Postmaster General. Getty Images

“Note: Patrick R. Donahoe retired effective February 1, 2015 and has been replaced by the 74th Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan.”

Patrick R. Donahoe served as the 73rd postmaster general of the United States.

Donahoe was appointed to the position of postmaster general by the Governors of the postal service on Dec. 7, 2010. He took the oath of office and officially became the chief executive officer of the postal service on January 14, 2011.

Donahoe served until February 2015, when he was succeeded by Megan J. Brennan, 74th postmaster general of the United States

Donahoe succeeded Jack E. Potter, who served nearly 10 years as postmaster general of the agency. The postal service generates annual revenues of $68 billion and delivers nearly half the world's mail.

Goals as Postmaster General

Donahoe, a 35-year veteran of the postal service when he was sworn in, became postmaster general at a time when the federal agency was struggling financially. The postal service had lost $8.5 million in 2010.

At his swearing-in, Donahoe pledged to restore the postal service to profitability.

"I am confident that we will emerge as a profitable, market-responsive organization that competes for customers and delivers even greater value to the American people," Donahoe said.

Strategies for Making Postal Service Profitable

Donahoe identified four core business strategies upon becoming postmaster general: strengthening the business-to-customer channel; improving the customer experience; growing the package business; and becoming a leaner, faster, smarter organization.

He also announced a shakeup of the postal service's executive team and announced that some 7,500 administrative positions could be eliminated through attrition. The postmaster general also said the postal service would shutter some district offices.

"The challenges we face as an organization require that we do many things differently in the coming years and that we drive change at a faster pace than we ever have," Donahoe said.

"We must break down structural challenges to change and empower our executives, managers and employees to achieve at a higher level."

Work History

Donahoe began his career with the postal service in 1975 as a clerk in Pittsburgh. According to the agency he was given responsibility in 2001 for all facets of mail operations, including processing, delivery, retail, engineering, transportation and facilities of the postal service.

He also served in several senior management positions in operations and human resources before being named deputy postmaster general in 2005, the 19th person to hold the agency's second-highest ranking position.

He served as the postal service chief operating officer at the same time, making him responsible for the day-to-day oversight of 599,000 employees at some 33,000 facilities across the United States.

The postal service credits Donahoe with achieving "record levels of service and customer satisfaction, significant workplace improvements and a cumulative increase of productivity of over 8 percent since 2001, including seven straight years of productivity gains."

Education and Personal Life

Donahoe holds a bachelor of science degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and a master of science degree as a Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A native of Pittsburgh, Donahoe and his wife have two children.