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Hertz CEO resigns, to be replaced by former GM, Delta Airlines exec

Gil West is the fifth CEO of the car rental brand in the past seven years.

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 7:25 p.m. March 15, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Hertz Global Holdings CEO Stephen Scherr, after a little more than two years in the top spot, will resign from his role and seat on the company board, the company announced after the market closed Friday afternoon. 

The Estero-based car rental giant’s new CEO will be Gil West, who, according to a statement, was formerly COO of Delta Airlines and GM’s Cruise unit. West will also join the company board, the release states, when the leadership transition becomes effective April 1. On that day West will become Hertz’s fifth CEO since 2017.

Gil West
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With $9.37 billion in revenue in 2023, Hertz is one of the largest companies on the west coast of Florida and one of the oldest car rental brands in the country. 

It’s also had a topsy-turvy four-year swing: The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy May 22, 2020 following nearly 15,000 layoffs stemming from both the pandemic and a car rental industry slowdown and transformation that preceded COVID-19. It exited bankruptcy in June 2021, with a new ticker symbol (HTZZ),  it’s debt load reduced and $5.9 billion in capital from firms such as Knighthead Capital Management, Certares Opportunities and Apollo Capital Management. 

With that funding in tow, in late 2021 and 2022 Hertz went on an electric vehicle buying binge, ordering 100,000 Teslas and hiring Tom Brady as a spokesman. It later said it planned to buy 65,000 vehicles from Swedish EV company Polestar.

By early 2024 Hertz began to reverse course on its go-big EV strategy: It announced it would be selling off 20,000 electric vehicles, just a bit more than two years after it announced the major investment in Tesla and signed one of the world’s most famous athletes to promote its initiative. In a public filing when it announced the EV sale, the company said it sought “to eliminate a “disproportionate number of lower margin rentals and reduce damage expenses associated with EVs.”

A portion of the proceeds in the sale, the company said, would go toward buying gasoline-powered vehicles. And the move, officials said, would save it $250 million to $300 million between 2024 and 2025.

While Hertz's Friday afternoon statement didn’t mention the EV strategy switch, national business publications picked up on it. The Wall Street Journal said Scherr stepped down after the “EV reversal,” while Bloomberg News said the company is replacing its CEO after its “EV bet fizzled.”

Scherr, in the company statement, said he believes Hertz is “well-positioned for the future.

"Over the last two years, the Hertz team has worked diligently to put the company on track for long-term success in a changing automotive landscape," he adds. 

Hertz board members, meanwhile, praised West. 

"Gil's success in leading over 70,000 people at Delta and orchestrating highly effective operational turnarounds will position him well to lead Hertz,” lead director Colin Farmer says in the release. 

Hertz’s brands include Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty, with operations in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. 



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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