Brad Jacobs, founder of United Rentals, stepped down as chairman and director of United Rentals Aug. 31. Jacobs has served as chairman since the founding of the company in 1997.
Jacobs was by far the most influential figure in the consolidation of the rental industry, which began in earnest with United Rentals in 1997, when the company made the first of more than 200 acquisitions. While some rental industry participants have blamed consolidation for the disappearance of smaller, multi-location firms known for strong customer service, many see the consolidation era as the beginning of a more professional and sophisticated type of operation, more capable of meeting the needs of larger customers and expanding the penetration of the rental concept.
“I’m grateful to the many people who contributed to the success of United Rentals over the past 10 years, and I’m confident that the company will continue to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities ahead of it,” Jacobs said.
United also said it has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the previously announced definitive merger agreement under which the company is to be acquired by affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management. The merger, announced on July 23, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
Based in Greenwich, Conn., United Rentals is No. 1 on the RER 100, with more than 690 locations in 48 states.