By on May 18, 2020

Rental car giant Hertz, which recently struck a deal with creditors amid debt incurred by the coronavirus pandemic, has a new CEO.

Paul Stone, formerly the company’s executive vice president and North American chief retail operations officer, was named to the top spot on Monday. There, he’ll face a full plate, though saving the company will be Job One.

As we told you earlier in the month, Hertz Global Holdings, which isn’t alone in the virus-born cratering of rental fleet usage, has struggled to cope with mounting dept. The deal struck with creditors afforded the company an extended grace period in which to get a handle on its financial situation. Restructuring experts were brought in. Its workforce faced a cull long before that.

Last week, Hertz took the drastic but clearly necessary step of cancelling much of its planned fleet turnover, scrapping 90 percent of the new-car orders it expected to make in the interest of fresh lot fodder. The company held roughly 567,600 vehicles in its U.S. fleet and 204,000 in its international unit in 2019.

Kathryn V. Marinello, who led the company for more than three years, plans to stay with the ship for up to a year.

“Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business that is driven by process excellence and employee engagement,” said Hertz Chairman Henry R. Keizer, Hertz’s Chairman in a 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.”

Before joining Hertz in 2018, Stone, 50, served as senior vice president at Cabela’s — a business your author quite enjoys visiting.

Shortly before Monday’s announcement, Hertz got the jump on the Memorial Day weekend by introducing “Hertz Gold Standard Clean” on Friday — an “enhanced vehicle cleaning and sanitization process that concludes with each vehicle being sealed and certified ‘Hertz Standard Gold Clean’ before each rental.” The 15-point process conforms to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the company claims.

This, a new vehicle delivery service, and touchless rental options are just some of the ways Hertz plans to lure Americans out of their homes and onto the road this summer. If you’re really worried about the ‘rona, we’d suggest leaving that a/c button untouched and keeping the windows up when parked. Let the summer sun bake the virus away.

[Image: Hertz]

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12 Comments on “Hertz Taps New CEO to Guide Its Way Out of a Viral Mess...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business”

    That great – when you have customers.

    At say, $34k/car, they have ~$20 billion in its US vehicle inventory not generating any revenue.

    The airlines send me regular emails about how thoroughly they’re cleaning planes, but I have no interest in sitting in a CV incubator, and neither does anyone else. Hertz won’t recover until the airlines do.

    • 0 avatar

      Correct. As a Gold Member my renting days are directly linked to work related travel which is currently “on hold”.

      The recovery will be slow because, like all companies, our sales are way behind thus management is in massive money-save mode. This means even when travel bans are lifted nobody is going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.

      My travel had already dropped significantly from a high point of about 3 years ago. It may never return to the previous years when I spent about 40% of my work weeks in a hotel. I think our company, and many others, are going to realize much of that previous travel wasn’t really necessary.

      • 0 avatar

        I really don’t miss the days of travel for business. It wasn’t that bad until our company was bought out. I was expected to commute to NYC, maybe get a two hour early departure from the office, go home, drive to LGA and fly during the evening for the 8am meeting the next day. Getting reimbursed happened once a month with a week lag. So I got to float the company a loan on my credit card for upward of 8 weeks, depending on date of travel. On the plus side, Hertz would give me free upgrades – it was not unusual to get a Mustang convertible when I had trips to Miami Beach. And that job site was certainly better than most.

        Thinking back, about 50% of these trips could have been handled virtually. I believe that is going to be the conclusion of most companies.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I’d do it, but whenever you get where you are going nothing has been open. For the record, I have flown during all of this for work.

  • avatar

    I ve averaged 25 air trips per year for the last 20 years.
    I sell capital equipment to car plants.
    I will NEVER go back to that level.
    I will
    1- have more zoom meetings
    2- cut total number of in person meetings.
    3- Combine trips. Instead of visiting 3-4 prospects / trip. I will bump that up to 5-8. Stay over weekends if needed.
    4- Drive. fly /drive decider used to be 300-350 miles. Now? 500.

    The air travel beat down, crush down and poundings are going way down. Couldn’t be happier. Like a load has been lifted.

    • 0 avatar

      I fly to about 40 destinations a year for work, give or take. I used to use Hertz exclusively but for the last 8 years or so I’ve switched to AVIS. They’re simply cheaper and from my point of view easier to deal with. Hertz is frequently the most expensive rental option.
      All I want to do is grab my car quickly, drop it off when I’m done and get a receipt emailed to me. That’s it. But that’s seems to be asking a lot.
      So I think Hertz is just grossly mismanaged.

  • avatar

    My work travel has started back up again – going to VA next week, AL the week after. Went to ME/NH a week ago. I feel safer on an airplane right now than in the grocery store. I’ve done a couple projects remotely by client request the past few weeks and it SUUUCKS.

    Hopefully Hertz makes it, I have 50K+ Hertz points in the “bank”. I try not to travel when I am on vacation…

  • avatar

    As far as I am concerned Hertz can go out of business and it couldn’t happen to a nicer company.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I too used to be a frequent flier/renter and not sure when or if I will ever go back to that lifestyle, either my choice or my employers. As noted, if the business travelers don’t get back in the air shortly, I do not see a path for Hertz that does not include a trip to the BK court. Too many cars generating too few dollars.

    FWIW, I am a National guy. Too easy; I pick my car and leave just like the commercials indicate. I drop it off, get a receipt emailed to me before I step off the shuttle bus to the terminal.

  • avatar

    Enterprise is my favorite.
    Better selection & newer.

    Avis, budget national etc. Seems like ALL the cars I ve rented had 30,000 real hard miles on em.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I’m National Executive Elite and I can’t remember the last time I had anything with over 10k on it. My last one was a Challenger R/T with 18 miles in Arizona. I broke it in.

  • avatar

    I’m getting Jaguar F-Pace vibes from the rear end. Something about the taillights.

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