What it takes to lead the U.S.’s biggest car rental company through a pandemic
The Broadsheet talks to the women leading through the coronavirus.
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren release new coronavirus proposals, Congress’s response to the crisis caps off Nancy Pelosi’s career, and we talk to the new CEO of the biggest car rental company in the U.S. about how she’s leading through this time. Have a relaxing weekend.
– She’ll pick you up. We’ve been asking female business leaders—including those on our Most Powerful Women in Business list—about the challenges they’re facing right now, how they’re addressing them, and, ultimately, how they hope to be able to get their companies back up and running.
In the inaugural post of what will be an ongoing series, Emma talks to Chrissy Taylor, who took over as CEO of Enterprise, the country’s largest car rental company, in January. Enterprise was started by Taylor’s grandfather, and she became COO in 2016. But even for someone with a deep knowledge of the business, it’s been a tricky time to, well, take the wheel.
Taylor doesn’t shy away from the extent to which the virus has hit her company, saying: “Our airport operation, which is one-third of our business, has been impacted…. Two-thirds of our business happens in the suburban market—where we have stay-at-home orders. The dealership business is closed, where we provide rentals to people getting their cars fixed, so that business has also seen reduction in rentals.” Yet Enterprise, which is considered an essential service, has continued to operate, in large part because of its work serving “healthcare workers, utility companies, and the government to make sure that they can get to the jobs that they need to do.”
She’s also looking ahead, focusing on how to take the lessons and necessary innovations of this moment to make the business more resilient in the months and years ahead. But sometimes facing the future requires a look backwards as well: “It comes back to my grandfather’s philosophy: Take care of your customers and your employees first and everything will fall into line,” says Taylor. “It was so true back then, and it’s so true today.”
Read the full Q+A here.
Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe.