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Hertz CEO Mark Frissora resigns after investor pressure

Mark Frissora, chief executive of Hertz Global Holdings Inc., stepped down yesterday after investors had pushed for his removal, citing accounting and operational missteps.

Frissora is leaving both the chairman and CEO roles for personal reasons, the Naples, Florida-based company said in a statement. The board appointed Brian P. MacDonald, head of Hertz Equipment Rental Corp., to serve as interim CEO, and Linda Fayne Levinson, independent lead director, has been appointed independent nonexecutive chairman. The board has begun a search for a permanent chief.

Frissora, 59, was appointed CEO in 2006 before Hertz's initial public offering. He oversaw the company's 2012 acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc., which shrank the number of major rental-car companies to three from four. Hertz has been unable to capitalize on the pricing power that consolidation created.

The shares of the rental-car company rose 4 cents to close at $28.50. Hertz had slipped 0.6 percent this year through Sept. 5, while Avis Budget Group Inc. gained 64 percent.

Some investors have suggested Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc., as a possible successor. Thompson, 55, sold Dollar Thrifty to Hertz for $87.50 a share after Frissora initially offered $2.

MacDonald, who worked at Sunoco Inc. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. before joining Hertz's equipment-rental business this year, is also highly regarded.

Hertz hasn't reported financial results from the first or second quarters and has said it can no longer rely on its past three years of financial statements.

Frissora would be in line for an exit package worth about $14 million if terminated without cause, according to regulatory filings. The board may have negotiated a lower payout. The company didn't immediately respond to a question about Frissora's payout.

Last month, Fir Tree Partners, which held 3 percent of Hertz's shares, urged the company's board to replace Frissora.

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