PARK RIDGE, N.J. — Hertz will move its headquarters from New Jersey to Florida, putting the company in the heart of a key travel market and trimming corporate expenses after its $2.3 billion buyout of one-time rival, Dollar Thrifty.
Up to 700 jobs will shift to Estero over a two-year period, the company said Tuesday. More than 2,000 Hertz and Dollar Thrifty workers will stay in New Jersey, including about 150 employees from the current headquarters in Park Ridge. All other Park Ridge workers will keep their current positions at the new headquarters in Estero, just north of Naples.
"Florida is the center of the U.S. travel and tourism industry," Hertz chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora said. "This move enables us to be closer to leisure and business customers, as well as many travel and association partners."
Florida has long suffered from a paucity of Fortune 500 headquarters given its population, but a decision like this from Hertz could help change that, local economic development officials said.
"It sends a signal that Florida is pro-business and a good environment for (luring) a corporate headquarters, which is one of our target industries," said Rick Homans, president and CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. Homans would not say whether Tampa Bay or other areas in Florida were also in the running for the Hertz relocation.
Frissora said Hertz will offer off-airport and retail car sales stores at its new headquarters, which is within range of Florida's big metro areas of Orlando, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and Tampa/St. Petersburg. Orlando is the world's largest car rental market, the company said.
The new headquarters is scheduled to be completed by early 2015.
E-commerce and some financial functions will remain based in New Jersey, the company said. Customer service and IT will continue to be based in Oklahoma.
Hertz Global Holdings Group Inc. closed on its acquisition of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group in November. Dollar is based in Tulsa, Okla.
Hertz, founded in Chicago in 1918, moved its headquarters from New York City to northern New Jersey in 1988.
Hertz shares fell 32 cents to $24.64 in morning trading.