(Recasts with context)
By Lisa Baertlein and Rachit Vats
March 12 (Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc for the first time in its 113-year history will be led by a chief executive who did not rise through the ranks of the world's biggest parcel delivery firm.
Former Home Depot chief financial officer Carol Tomé, a long-serving board member, takes the helm on June 1, replacing David Abney.
Tomé retired from the home improvement retailer last year. She will steer the Atlanta-based company through a time of significant industry challenges - including the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and competition from Amazon.com Inc, its largest customer and rising delivery rival.
Abney was a college student in 1974, when he joined UPS as a part-time package handler. He rose through the ranks to become CEO in 2014 and chairman in 2016.
He reshaped the company as a major e-commerce delivery partner, earmarking billions of dollars to expand and modernize the UPS network to handle lower-profit home deliveries of online purchases. UPS now gets 11.6 percent of its revenue from Amazon - exposure that analysts say leaves the unionized company vulnerable to competition from the online retailer's growing delivery network.
Abney will take on the executive chairman role before retiring from the UPS board on Sept. 30.
Reporting by Rachit Vats and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Steve Orlofsky