Hertz Is Hiring Delta Air Lines Veterans To Fill Out Its Executive Ranks

Hertz Global Holdings Inc. is making a significant leadership change, including at the chief executive level. Gil West, formerly chief operating officer at Delta Air Lines Inc., has been in charge of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. since April 2024 and has been working towards making significant changes since then. West is building a team of seasoned executives from Delta with past experiences to help set this beleaguered rental car company on a fresh path.

The company announced a series of key appointments recently, naming Sandeep Dube Hertz’s chief commercial officer, effective from July 22. Dube has a versatile background at tech giants like Microsoft Corp.’s Activision Blizzard in recent times and has held senior positions at Delta Air Lines from 2015 to 2021. 

The leadership overhaul continues with the appointment of other Delta veterans to crucial roles: Henry Kuykendall as executive vice president, North America operations; Greg May as executive vice president for fleet management; and Mike Moore as executive vice president for technical operations.

It appears West is banking on expertise from the airline industry to turn around Hertz’s fortunes. Since his appointment, he has prioritized one of the company’s biggest problems: the underperforming fleet of Tesla Inc. electric vehicles. These EVs have been among the largest contributors to Hertz’s losses, mainly due to unexpectedly high repair costs and tepid interest from people wanting to rent them.

What is noteworthy is the appointment of Greg May as fleet management executive. Having come from the management of aircraft fleets, May will play a huge role in buying and selling rental cars, which has been a perennially troublesome task for Hertz. He faces challenges assimilating his aviation experience into the automotive world, melding those skills with Hertz veterans who understand the new and used-car markets.

The changes driven by the new management team are mostly targeted at enhancing Hertz’s operational efficiency and reducing its cost, both of which the company has been trailing behind compared with its closest peer, Avis Budget Group Inc. In another move that showcased such efficiency-oriented steps, West recently appointed Scott Haralson, the former chief financial officer of Spirit Airlines Inc., as Hertz’s CFO.

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Fundamentally, on the high level, Hertz was able to raise $1 billion in debt last month to gain the financial flexibility for implementation under West’s strategic initiatives, which include the winding down of theelectric vehiclee fleet.

Despite all these efforts, the stock of Hertz has been disappointing. Shares of Hertz were up a mere 0.9 percent Monday at 9:49 a.m. in New York. This is against a backdrop of a drastic decline year-to-date, the worst performance of about 65% through the previous Friday. It is radically different from that of the S&P 500 Index, which is up almost 17% over the same period.

As West and his new team take on this challenging “turnaround effort,” all eyes will be on Hertz to see whether the influx, abruptly provided by airline industry talent, can sail the company through its turbulence in the car rental market at this very moment.

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