Pamela M. Nicholson, Enterprise Holdings

Pamela M. Nicholson

Distinctive Brands

Editors’ Note

Pam Nicholson began her career in 1981 with Enterprise Rent-A-Car as a Management Trainee in St. Louis after graduating from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1999, after having risen rapidly through the ranks, she was promoted to Senior Vice President- North American Operations, Chief Operating Officer in 2003, and President in 2008. Nicholson is a director of Enterprise Holdings, Inc., Energizer Holdings, Inc., and the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

Company Brief

Headquartered in St. Louis, Enterprise Holdings (www.enterpriseholdings.com) owns and operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Its worldwide network includes 7,600 neighborhood and airport locations, with 6,000 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population. The Alamo, Enterprise, and National brands collectively lead the car rental industry with more than one-third of all airport business in the United States and Canada. In addition, Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers Rideshare vanpooling, which serves individual vanpool groups and large employer work sites, and WeCar car-sharing as natural extensions of its business rental program and focus on customized local service.

How much of an impact did you see on the brands within Enterprise Holdings as a result of the recession?

When the downturn hit, we saw an immediate impact with a drop in our fleet of 10 percent over the first 60 days.

We have been in business for 54 years and we had never gone backwards before as a company. We were facing ourselves as a smaller company so we cut more than $300 million of cost out of the business.

We had acquired the National and Alamo brands about a year before the crisis hit. We found ourselves approaching corporate customers with our expanded portfolio just as they were cutting back on their business rentals. But we also had a very good value proposition with the Enterprise and National brands together. Since the acquisition, we have brought on an additional $400 million in Fortune 500 business.

It’s 24 months later and our fleet is bigger than it was in 2008. Our rate of growth has outpaced the industry, particularly at the airports.

Enterprise Holdings has a heavy focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability. How critical is that to your culture?

Leadership is not a short-term proposition and environmental stewardship requires a long-term approach to addressing the parts of the world we touch as a business. With over one million cars on the road, we are contributing CO2 to the atmosphere, so we have a role to play there. We have a whole platform of sustainability to do what we can to help, which is the right thing for the world and the right thing for our business.

A lot of that involves reducing energy usage. The purpose of our 20/20 Vision initiative is to reduce our energy costs and usage by 20 percent over the next five years, which would save us $50 million and, at the same time, help the environment.

The Taylor family also donated $25 million to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels, which is part of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.