Hertz Corporation will relocate its worldwide headquarters from New Jersey to Estero, Florida, near Fort Myers, with plans to relocate up to 700 jobs over the next two years. Hertz and Dollar Thrifty have more employees in Florida than in any other state except California, and Florida rents more cars per capita than any other state, the company said.
Hertz said it chose Lee County, Florida, primarily because of its diverse community appeal, workforce availability, and accessibility. The company worked closely with Florida Governor Rick Scott as well as other state and county government and business leaders throughout the decision-making process. Florida provides ready access to a vast and diverse talent pool, including 3,000 of our own employees, as we grow our businesses, Hertz officials said. All of these factors supported the company's final decision.
In addition to those factors, Hertz made the decision following its acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. Currently headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Dollar Thrifty is consolidating its corporate offices to one location will allow for increased efficiencies and cost synergies across both companies. Additionally, the company said access to the Florida travel and tourism population will position the company for long-term growth. According to Visit Florida, there are approximately 1 million employees in the state's travel and tourism industry, Florida's largest business segment. Hertz also noted that Orlando is the world's largest car rental market, and that Miami is a hub for accelerating travel growth between the United States and Latin America.
More than 2,000 Hertz and Dollar Thrifty personnel will remain in New Jersey, including approximately 150 employees who currently work in Park Ridge. All other Park Ridge employees will be able to retain their current positions at the new headquarters, scheduled to be completed in early 2015. Hertz was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1918, and moved its headquarters to New Jersey from mid-town Manhattan in 1988.
"After our recent business expansion, we have been looking for the right location to blend Hertz and Dollar Thrifty head office employees," Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark P. Frissora said. "Florida is the center of the U.S. travel and tourism industry - this move enables us to be closer to leisure and business customers, as well as many travel and association partners. As part of this move, we will open off-airport and retail car sales stores on our headquarters campus, which will enable us to experiment with new services and monitor customer satisfaction first hand. Lee County, on the Southwestern Gulf Coast of Florida, is a well-established travel destination with tremendous growth potential, with easy access to other leading tourism markets including Orlando, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Tampa/St. Petersburg."
"This is the best, most balanced business decision based on market factors as well as the needs of our employees and customers, Frissora added. "The relocation results in a positive financial return to the company and we will provide more details during our next quarterly earnings call. Additionally, in no way should this decision be perceived as a slight to our partners in New Jersey and Oklahoma. We recognize the significant efforts undertaken in recent years in both states to create and retain jobs, while improving the overall business climate. In particular, over the last several years we have seen significant improvement in New Jersey's business climate and our decision should not be interpreted as a reflection of our views about doing business in the Garden State. New Jersey has been our home since 1988 and would have been for countless more if not for our acquisition of Dollar.
He added, because of these efforts, we will continue to grow our car and equipment rental businesses in New Jersey and Oklahoma. We are retaining e-commerce and certain financial functions in northern New Jersey thanks to the state's strength in the financial services industry. Oklahoma will continue to be our primary home for IT, customer service and financial support driving our North American businesses. Overall, we concluded that it is in the best interests of our company, which is primarily in the travel and tourism business, to be near our largest market."