Oral Histories

Bill Margaritis

Interview Segments on Topic: Mentors

Bill Margaritis Biography

Bill Margaritis is the executive VP of corporpate affairs at Hilton Worldwide. Previously, he was corporate vice president for global communications and investor relations for FedEx Corporation.


INTERVIEWER: Something else I want to ask you about, talking about your career development. What person has had the most significant influence on your career and why?

MARGARITIS: Well, without question the person who’s had the most significant influence in my career is Fred Smith, the founder and current chairman and CEO of FedEx. First of all, Fred is just an unbelievable leader and cares so much about people and his family. He has taught me to really be true to yourself; that you have to be at the core principle and understand what you’re trying to achieve, how you deal with people. And to pay attention to things in life other than just money or title, your family, your friends. To have fun. He is a man of extraordinary intellectual capacity, and he believes in balance. And by that I mean a combination of being really good at strategic thinking and being great at organizational and executional capabilities. Building a culture that has discretionary efforts and strong values and teamwork and collaboration. I think he got that from his military experience where there is such a co-dependency for survival by people on the frontlines. So Fred’s view, I think, is that to be a successful executive you have to be as great as you can be in your particular subject. You need to use kaleidoscope thinking and solving problems and dealing with situations outside of your comfort zone.   And that’s how you innovate. You have to be honest with a lot of integrity. You have to be respectful to people, empower people. And then I think you have to be—as I said earlier, true to yourself.