A Banker Takes The Wheel At Hertz

A Goldman Sachs executive takes the reins at Hertz after the company filed for bankruptcy during the 2020pandemic.

There’s a new driver at Hertz. Stephen Scherr, 57, a longtime Goldman Sachs executive, has just been named CEO of one of the world’s largest car rental companies.

As chief financial officer of Goldman Sachs at the end of 2021, Scherr had options: He was a contender for the No. 1 spot at Goldman; Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York City, had asked him to co-chair his transition team; and there was Hertz, the auto rental specialist emerging from a bumpy ride. The company had filed for bankruptcy in May 2020. Nevertheless, the economy came back quickly, and demand for rental cars rebounded. Suddenly, Hertz was not liquidating its fleet, but restructuring and relisting shares. Would Scherr care to change sectors and jump from CFO to CEO?

Yes, and much to the delight of Greg O’Hara, Hertz’s chairman of the board and part of the group that had bought Hertz out of bankruptcy. Stephen Scherr “is a proven strategist, innovator and leader with a track record of earning customer loyalty,” O’Hara said.

Scherr spent more than 28 years at Goldman Sachs, where he is credited with having built Marcus, its new consumer business. He also initiated the launch of Apple Card, the credit card partnership between Apple and Goldman Sachs.  

This financial expertise and solid relationships will help Hertz on its next journey: electrification of the fleet and digitalization of the customer experience. The rental company recently signed a $4.2 billion deal to buy 100,000 Tesla cars.

“We have a bold plan for Hertz over the long haul,” explained Tom Wagner, another board member. “We need a leader who knows how to turn big ideas into reality.” Follow that driver.