ESTERO, Fla. –
Along with announcing an enhanced vehicle cleaning and sanitization process, Hertz also revealed it will be looking to navigate through its current financial challenges triggered by the coronavirus pandemic with a new president and chief executive officer.
According to a news release distributed on Monday morning, Hertz said its board of directors has named Paul Stone president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Stone, most recently Hertz’s executive vice president and chief retail operations officer for North America, also has been elected to the Hertz board of directors.
Stone succeeds Kathryn Marinello, who plans to continue with the company in a consulting position for up to one year to support a smooth transition, according to the announcement.
“After an ongoing succession planning process, the board elected Paul to lead Hertz’s next chapter,” Hertz chairman Henry Keizer said in the news release. “Paul brings a customer-centered approach to growing the business that is driven by process excellence and employee engagement.
“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.” Keizer continued.
Stone, began his 28-year career with Sam’s Club/Walmart as a store manager and was quickly elevated through the ranks to Western U.S. divisional senior vice president. He led operations for more than 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. Over the course of his career, he has delivered strategy, service, people development and full-scale retail operations leadership.
Stone joined Hertz in March 2018 to lead the company’s North American car-rental operations, which encompassed approximately 4,500 locations and 27,000 employees. Hertz noted that Stone simplified operations, re-energized and developed talent, and elevated service standards, resulting in Hertz being ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power for the first time in 16 years.
In addition to car rental, the scope of Stone’s responsibilities included Hertz’s transportation network companies and car sales businesses.
“It is a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to lead Hertz,” Stone said. “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.”
Stone takes over with Hertz facing unprecedent financial challenges because of travel nearly halted completely because of COVID-19, prompting firms such as Fitch Ratings to consider if the company files for bankruptcy.
Hertz did not mention any of its ongoing hurdles in Monday’s executive announcement.
“We also want to thank Kathy for her contributions as an exceptional business leader,” Keizer said. “Since joining the company in January 2017, she oversaw a successful operational turnaround, transformed Hertz’s culture, and built a best-in-class leadership team. The board wishes her all the best.”
Marinello added, “The hardest part about stepping down is leaving the amazing employees that have earned my respect over the last three-and-a-half years. It was an honor to serve them. I am confident that under Paul’s leadership, Hertz will prosper long into the future.”
Hertz reinforces vehicle cleaning
In a separate announcement distributed on Friday, Hertz introduced what it’s calling Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle cleaning and sanitization process that concludes with each vehicle being sealed and certified ‘Hertz Standard Gold Clean’ before each rental.
Hertz is also continuing to innovate to meet customers’ needs and preferences by launching a vehicle delivery service and highlighting its fast and touchless rental solutions.
“At every Hertz location around the world, our focus remains on getting people where they need to go safely and confidently,” Marinello said. “That’s why we’re raising the bar on our high standards for safety and cleanliness with Hertz Gold Standard Clean and continuing to introduce innovative rental solutions that provide our customers with a safer, faster and easier way to travel as they get back on the road.”
To give customers total confidence when they rent a car, Hertz said every vehicle will be sealed and certified “Hertz Gold Standard Clean” after undergoing a 15-point cleaning and sanitization process that follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
The company explained key steps in the 15-point process entail cleaning and sanitizing the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including all contact surfaces (steering wheel, consoles, door handles) with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectant for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.
“Sealing each vehicle is a first-of-its-kind practice in the car rental industry and one we believe will give customers added peace of mind knowing they are the only person to enter the vehicle after it’s been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized,” Marinello said.
Hertz Gold Standard Clean is rolling out across all Hertz locations in the U.S., according to the company, which also plans to launch the initiative in other countries, too.
In addition to these vehicle-cleaning protocols, Hertz highlighted that it has enhanced its cleaning methods at all locations and in shuttle buses, which includes using approved disinfectant to regularly wipe down high-touch areas such as door handles, counters, kiosks and other hard surfaces.
The company mentioned employees are also following social distancing guidelines and best practices, which are being reinforced through signage at all locations for employee and customer safety.
For customers who prefer to limit personal contact or want a more convenient rental experience, Hertz is now offering Hertz Neighborhood Delivery at nearly 3,000 U.S. neighborhood locations. The vehicle will be delivered to the customer and picked up from their preferred location.
Hertz also offers other low contact or completely touchless rental solutions. At many airports, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members can skip the counter and go straight to their vehicle. At locations where Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR is available, members can also exit the lot with a quick facial scan, providing a completely touchless experience. When ready to return, members can simply drop off their vehicle and go with Hertz’s eReceipt and Express Return service.
“We’ve always provided a variety of rental solutions and service offerings to meet our customer’s individual preferences and that focus continues,” Marinello said. “As customers begin making travel plans or have other transportation needs, we want them to have total confidence that we’ve taken the right steps to protect their safety and will continue providing the caring and personalized service they know and expect from Hertz.”
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership is free, and the benefits are immediately available. To learn more, visit www.hertz.com/RewardsOverview.
To learn more about Hertz Gold Standard Clean, visit www.hertz.com/GoldStandardClean.