Frank A. Olson (b. 1932) was CEO then Chairman of the Hertz Corporation over a 22 year period during which Hertz was noted for holding onto its number one rank in the car rental industry.
Frank was born in San Francisco and studied at City College there. At age 18, while studying, he took on his first job as night manager of a car rental business located at the airport. After his graduation, he founded a car rental business which was bought by Hertz in 1964, and so began his long association with the company. He had responsibility for Hertz’s Arizona and California operations prior to heading up the New York City division in 1967, becoming regional vice president two year later. By 1970, he was general manager of all of Hertz’s car operations in the US.
In 1974, Frank joined the board of Hertz and in 1977 was named chief executive, becoming chairman in 1980 — a role he would hold for the next 20 years. He also served as executive vice president of the RCA Corporation, the parent company of Hertz before it was sold in 1985 to UAL Inc., which would latterly become Allegis. During his time at Hertz, Frank was known for being no-nonsense, persistent and having a tremendous attention to detail, showing an interest not just in the biggest operations but also those on the fringe. He adopted new surcharges and base rates in order to sustain profits, and was quickly imitated by business rivals, but always managed to maintain an edge.
Frank has been Chairman Emeritus of the Hertz Corporation since 2000. He has been recognised nine times by Business Travel News for his industry influence, in particular his adoption of sales and advertising practices that would be made the industry standard by the National Association of Attorneys General.
He was honoured by the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame in 2002.