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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 3, 2022 2 months ago

Hertz hires Hillary Clinton speechwriter for top spokesperson role

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Liz Boyer was also an attorney with a prominent national law firm.

Liz Boyer, a former campaign aide for President Bill Clinton and onetime aide and speechwriter for Hillary Clinton when she was first lady, has been named the top spokesperson for Lee County car rental giant Hertz.

Boyer, according to a statement from the company, was appointed executive vice president of corporate affairs, effective June 1. She will be responsible for Hertz's strategic approach to communications, corporate reputation and the company's social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, the release adds.

"This new senior leader position demonstrates our continued focus on communicating across our broad group of stakeholders and actively positioning Hertz in the public conversation on issues related to our business and the future of mobility," Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr says in the release. "Liz brings a wealth of experience that will be invaluable as we continue to evolve our business and the Hertz story."

A graduate of the University of Florida and Columbia Law School, Boyer comes to her role at Hertz at something of a crossroads for the Estero-based company. On one side, it’s grappling with a lawsuit that accuses the company of reporting rented vehicles stolen while the drivers were in good standing — a practice that's led to dozens of false arrests.

The Philadelphia law firm behind the lawsuit says more than 230 claimants are asking for $530 million. Scherr, named CEO of Hertz in February, apologized on behalf of the company during a cable news interview April 4.

A longer-term issue the company faces is that it’s coming out of bankruptcy — it filed for Chapter 11 in May 2021 with $25.8 billion in assets and $24.3 billion in debt — in a rental car sector undergoing a digital and electrical vehicle transformation. It’s why Hertz calls itself a mobility business, not just rental cars; has signed deals to buy and rent EVs, including one with Tesla; and even signed up football icon Tom Brady to serve as a “Let’s Go!” company pitchman. Now traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol HTZ, Hertz posted $7.33 billion in revenue in 2021.

Boyer’s experience, what the company, in the statement, calls a “career working at the intersection of communications, politics and law,” seems to fit these challenges. In addition to a stint handling complex civil litigation at prominent national law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner — attorney David Boies represented Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election recount — Boyer has been a television producer for NBC News, where she worked with Tom Brokaw. Boyer was also a managing director at Goldman Sachs, overseeing the company's brand and content strategy as it emerged from the financial crisis. Hertz CEO Scherr, too, worked for Goldman, with a 30-year career that culminated in being CFO.

"I'm delighted to join Stephen and the team at Hertz for the next chapter of this iconic American company," said Bowyer. "I'm excited to be part of Hertz's vision to transform the future of mobility while creating a world-class customer experience."

Boyer is also a board member of the Human Rights First and the Progressive Policy Institute. Her Human Rights First board bio states that Boyer is a “veteran of two Clinton presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996 and was a researcher and speechwriter for former First Lady Hillary Clinton at the White House.”

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