Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot will ply his business skills under a contract to help the U.S. Postal Service find ways to save money and slow the steady increase in the cost of mailing a letter.
The deal with the Postal Service is Perot's first business venture since his stormy breakup with General Motors, which in 1984 acquired his old company, Electronic Data Systems, and then forced him out.Appearing at a news conference Thursday with Postmaster General Anthony Frank, Perot said his termination agreement with GM required him to remain inactive until June 1.
"Here it is June 2 and here we are," the billionaire said, smiling as he announced the formation of Perot Systems Corp. to handle the postal contract.
In making EDS a leader in its field, Perot was credited with revolutionizing the computer services industry. He also is known for organizing the successful rescue mission in 1979 of two EDS employees held hostage in Iran, which was later detailed in the book and television movie, "On Wings of Eagles."
Frank said he hoped Perot could help the post office save between $100 million and $200 million in 10 to 20 areas. Frank said the immediate goal is to "stretch out the intervals" between increases in the cost of a stamp.
The ultimate goal is to reduce costs so the Postal Service would need only one more stamp price hike before the next century.
The Postal Service currently spends $38 billion annually and is $177 million in the red, figures show. It recently raised the price of a first-class stamp from 22 cents to 25 cents.