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Hertz swaps out its CEO as it looks to revitalize business after failed EV push

By Emily Bary

Hertz shares have fallen nearly 30% so far this year

Hertz Global Holdings Inc.'s chief executive is leaving after just over two years, to be replaced by a Delta Airlines Inc. and General Motors Co. veteran.

Stephen Scherr, a retired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, is stepping down as Hertz's (HTZ) CEO at the end of the month. He'll be succeeded by Gil West, who served as chief operating officer at Delta (DAL) and the general manager of GM's (GM) Cruise autonomous-driving unit.

West's "success in leading over 70,000 people at Delta and orchestrating highly effective operational turnarounds will position him well to lead Hertz," said in a statement Colin Farmer, the lead director on Hertz's board.

Farmer said West will be able to "will be able to build upon the strategic projects begun during Stephen's tenure, including improvements to technology, commercial partnerships and the revitalization of our value brands."

Hertz's stock has struggled recently, falling 27% to start the year and 53% over a 12-month basis. The rental-car company recently made a pivot, saying it would downside its electric-vehicle fleet by about a third as customer demand didn't live up to expectations and the vehicles were proving too costly to repair. Hertz emerged from bankruptcy in 2021.

Shares were down about 3% in Friday's late trading.

Scherr had expressed confidence in the business on Hertz's last earnings call in early February, saying that his optimistic view was "based on the continued stability of the demand and rate environment, the expected benefits of the strategic decision that we made in the fourth quarter regarding our EV fleet, which is also expected to reduce operational distraction, and the continued execution of our enhanced profitability plan."

-Emily Bary

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03-15-24 1722ET

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