Rent-a-car institution Hertz has moved to calm shareholders as activists swirl amid a review and restatement of financial results and a profit warning.
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher is bolstering the $18B Naples, Fla.-based company's communications, led by executive VP of corporate affairs and communications Richard Broome. Broome has told media that the company has a long-standing policy not to comment on communications with shareholders, but Hertz released a statement Aug. 20 aimed at the group.
"The Hertz board and leadership team value the views of all Hertz shareholders and welcome a constructive dialogue with them," the company said, pointing to its "solid foundation" and $1B share repurchase program, among other efforts. "All of us at Hertz are focused on addressing the company's recent challenges."
Among the investors calling for changes at Hertz is Carl Icahn, who reported an 8.5% stake in the company on Aug. 20. The New York Times noted he is one of a "gaggle of activists now in the stock." Other investors, including hedge fund Fir Tree Partners, want CEO Mark Frissora bounced.
Joele Frank signed on earlier this year to aid Hertz in its planned $2.5B spinoff of its rental equipment unit. The firm worked with rival Avis in 2010 as it battled Hertz to acquire Dollar Thrifty, a showdown that Hertz won.
Barrett Golden, partner at Joele Frank, leads the Hertz account.
Hertz said in June it would restate its 2011 results and look into 2012 and 2013 as accounting woes widened.