Prominent investor Whitney Tilson did not like his experience with the Hertz counter at the San Francisco airport, so he did something about it. Here’s a look at how a few complaint emails from a “well-known shareholder” gets results.
It's an all-too-familiar scene to travelers: you get off a long flight, wind your way through the various airport nightmares, and finally arrive at the car rental counter, only to discover an endless line and one or two people manning the booth.
It's infuriating, sure. But what can you do?
It turns out you can do a lot, if you happen to be a very extraordinary specimen: a hedge fund manager. And not just any hedge fund manager, but one whose funds hold a decent-sized stake in the car rental company you just happen to be wasting your extremely valuable time waiting in line for.
This was the exact scenario at the San Francisco Airport Hertz counter when Whitney Tilson, a well-known value investor and part-time shade thrower showed up. What follows is a step-by-step guide based on an email Tilson sent to his industry peers, on how to stand up for justice at the car rental counter and get results. Real results. As in, a CEO-getting-fired kind of result.
First, you must be a hedge fund manager like Tilson for this to work, preferably an activist who can buy up a lot of shares in a company you might want to change someday. A good example is Olive Garden.
Encounter insane Hertz line, as Tilson did at SFO in early August. Document it extensively.