Hertz has announced the immediate departure of Mark Frissora from the position of chief executive.
The car rental giant cited “personal reasons” for the departure, but the decision follows a period of shareholder activism over the perceived under achievement of the firm.
Hertz’s board has appointed Brian MacDonald, currently president of Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, to serve as interim chief executive while a search begins for a replacement.
In addition, Linda Fayne Levinson, independent lead director of the Hertz Board, has been appointed independent non-executive chair of the board.
Levinson commented: “During Mark’s tenure, Hertz has transformed from a single on-airport car rental brand to a world leading rental car company with a portfolio of brands that reach multiple consumer and business segments both on- and off-airport.
“With the acquisition of Donlen, not only did he bring the company into fleet leasing, but acquired important technology that gives both leasing and car rental a competitive advantage.”
The abrupt departure follows recent comments from activist shareholder Carl Icahn, suggesting a lack of confidence among investors over the direction of the company.
Hertz acquired rival Dollar Thrifty last year, and has seen stock rise by a fifth in the interim.
However, rivals Avis have seen stock values climb nearly three times higher.
Levinson continued: “We are fortunate to have a proven leader of Brian’s calibre and experience to step into the chief executive role on an interim basis while the board conducts its search process.”
MacDonald brings a strong record to Hertz, having successfully led major corporate turnarounds at other companies, including Sunoco and Isuzu Motors.
Hertz remains focused on continuing to run its business and is committed to executing its strategic priorities, including continuing to advance the planned separation of the company’s equipment rental business into a separate, publicly traded company; further integrating and gaining the synergies of Dollar Thrifty; expanding Hertz’s off-airport footprint; and building on the Company’s success with Donlen leasing.