- October 5, 2021
In what company officials call part of an "ongoing succession planning process," Hertz Global Holdings, the struggling rental car giant, has named a new president and CEO.
The Estero-based company, according to a statement, named Paul Stone, an executive vice president and head of North American retail operations, president and CEO. Stone, who began his career as a Sam's Club/Walmart manager, replaces Kathryn Marinello, who had been the top executive at Hertz since January 2017. Marinello, 63, will stay on with Hertz for a year in a consulting role, officials say in the statement.
"Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business that is driven by process excellence and employee engagement," Hertz Chairman Henry Keizer says in the statement. "Having successfully run our largest business segment for the last two years, Paul helped strengthen our brands by elevating service standards across the North American car rental operations."
Stone, 50, began his 28-year career with Sam's Club/ Walmart as a store manager and ultimately was named Western US divisional senior vice president. He led operations for upwards of 200 locations with more than 30,000 employees. Prior to Hertz, he served as senior vice president and chief retail officer at Cabela's, one of the leading outdoor outfitter retail companies, the release states.
"It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead Hertz," Stone says in the statement. "I thank Kathy and look forward to working with my colleagues to do what Hertz people do best – anticipate where transportation, mobility and technology are going and innovate to best serve our customers, stakeholders and communities."
The challenges Stone and Hertz face are acute — and ran deep even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, given competition from ride-sharing firms and shifts in how and when, and for how long, people rent cars. The challenges were crystallized May 5, when Hertz, in a public filing, announced it had signed an agreement with several lenders that gave it until May 22 to find a plan that avoids filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, according to the public filing, also restored salaries of employees and executives, including Marinello, that had been cut in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Hertz, which posted $9.8 billion in revenue in 2019, entered into forbearances and limited waivers with some of its lenders and holders of its asset-backed vehicle debt, according to the May 5 public filing. The forbearances, according to the filing, “provide Hertz with additional time through May 22 to engage in discussions with its key stakeholders with the goal to develop a financing strategy and structure that better reflects the economic impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic and Hertz’ ongoing operating and financing requirements."
Hertz shares (NYSE: HTZ) were up 19.73%, to $3.16, in morning trading after the news about the CEO transition was released.