Mark Frissora is leaving Hertz Global Holdings Inc. as its chairman and chief executive due to personal reasons, the rental car company said in a statement. Investors, however, had been calling for his removal, citing accounting and operational missteps.
His departure has prompted the company’s board to name Brian P. MacDonald – currently CEO of Hertz Equipment Rental Corp. -- as interim CEO as well as Linda Fayne Levinson -- independent lead director – as independent non-executive chairman.
The board has also initiated a search for a permanent CEO. Hertz named Frissora as its CEO in 2006, just before its initial public offering. Under his helm, Hertz acquired Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. in 2012, although the company failed to capitalize on the pricing power that the consolidation had created.
Frissora’s exit from Hertz came after the company failed to report financial results for the first and second quarters. Hertz has remarked that it can no longer depend on its past three years of financial statements.
Those have further fueled discontent among investors. In fact, investor Fir Tree Partners – a 3-percent shareholder -- urged the company’s board in August to replace Frissora as it does not approve how the CEO was running rental firm.
Fir Tree accused Frissora of committing accounting and management missteps that have affected the company’s shares.
According to a corporate filing, Carl Icahn even expressed want to meet with Hertz to discuss accounting issues and operational failures in relation to its underperformance relative to peers and a “lack of confidence in management.” Sources privy with the company told Bloomberg that other investors holding over 4 percent of Hertz have also urged the board to replace Frissora.