THRIFTY CAR RENTAL NAMES NEW PRESIDENT, LAUNCHES NEW STRATEGIC DIRECTION
THRIFTY CAR RENTAL NAMES NEW PRESIDENT,
LAUNCHES NEW STRATEGIC DIRECTION
TULSA, Okla., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Longtime Baltimore resident Don Himelfarb has been named president and chief executive officer of Thrifty Rent-A-Car System Inc., one of the world's largest car rental companies, succeeding Jim Philion.
Philion will leave his post to become chairman of the company after more than 10 years of playing a lead role in putting Thrifty Rent-A-Car System among the major players in car rental.
Himelfarb moved from Baltimore in 1990 to serve as president of Thrifty Canada Ltd. for the last two years, a period of such growth for the Canadian group that Thrifty has become the fastest growing car rental company in Canada.
Himelfarb will be succeeded by Toronto-born Lucio DiClemente, who joined Thrifty Canada in July 1990 and was recently named senior vice president.
As chairman, Philion will focus his entire efforts on implementing a new strategic change in the company's direction for the next decade. Patterned after companies like Southwest Airlines, Thrifty will review all of its operating procedures to focus on two key areas: having more fun in the rental process for customers and streamlining and reducing all possible operating expenses to provide a quality basic car rental experience at the most competitive price possible.
"Our new direction is a 'strategic personality' designed to set Thrifty apart from the pack -- to differentiate ourselves from our competitors," said Philion. "It will mean looking at everything we do in a different light, including how we advertise and market ourselves, how we relate to our customers in the rental center and how we relate internally to one another as staff."
Some of the external changes as part of the new strategic personality will be a change in the company's advertising and the implementation of theme promotions throughout the year that are designed to be fun for customers as well as rental center employees.
To give the customer a warmer, more personal feel, Thrifty has developed a new rental center prototype where customers and rental agents are on the same side of the counter.
"This new design will allow the customer to actually see what the counter representative is inputting into the computer and to be a part of the rental process," said Philion.
Uniforms for rental center employees will change from the traditional blazer and tie look they currently wear to casual uniforms of popular "camp" style shirts and pleated slacks.
"We want to give the customer a fun, more personal, and less formal feeling. We want to set Thrifty apart from the sterile, unfriendly atmosphere that characterizes the car rental industry today," Philion added.
As president, Himelfarb will be equally involved in implementing the new strategic direction. Himelfarb came to Thrifty Canada after 17 years of involvement as an owner of the Thrifty Baltimore franchise and a leading member of the Thrifty U.S. Advertising Committee of elected licensees.
Since arriving in Canada, Himelfarb has made a significant impact on Thrifty and the Canadian car rental industry. In a period of recession, he led Thrifty Canada to two of the most successful years in the company's history. Last year, despite industry revenue declining about 15 percent, Thrifty Canada fought the odds and continued to register impressive double-digit gains in revenue and fleet.
"Don brings a unique perspective to Thrifty," said Philion. "He brings both the licensee and licensor perspective, a thorough understanding of the car rental industry domestically and internationally, and he's an energetic people person, a valuable combination."
Before joining Thrifty, Himelfarb worked in the banking industry and at the time of his Canadian appointment was a board member of the Regal Savings Bank in Baltimore.
Himelfarb was graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in Arts and Sciences.
Worldwide, Thrifty has more than 800 locations in 38 countries. Thrifty Canada has more than 150 licensee-operated locations, with 38 in-terminal at every major airport.
Thrifty was acquired by Chrysler Corp. in 1989 and now operates as a Chrysler subsidiary through Tulsa-based Pentastar Transportation Group Inc., the holding company for Thrifty and sister companies Dollar and Snappy. Thrifty has its world headquarters in Tulsa.
/CONTACT: Meloyde Blancett-Scott or Ken Harwood both of Thrifty Rent-A-Car, 918-669-2379/ CO: Thrifty Rent-A-Car System Inc. ST: Oklahoma, Maryland IN: SU: PER
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