Enterprise Holdings today announced that Pamela M. Nicholson, the company’s president and chief operating officer, has been promoted to chief executive officer.

Pamela Nicholson is named as the newest CEO of Enterprise Holdings.

Pamela Nicholson is named as the newest CEO of Enterprise Holdings.

She becomes only the third CEO in the company’s 56-year history and the first to come from outside the founding Taylor family. Since 1991, the CEO position has been held by Andrew C. Taylor, who will continue to serve as executive chairman.

Nicholson, a 32-year veteran of the company, will retain her current title of president and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of the company’s brands, which include Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. As CEO, she will also take on more responsibility for the company’s business strategies and for building and maintaining relationships with key customers, suppliers, financial institutions, elected officials and other stakeholders.  

Since Nicholson’s appointment as chief operating officer, the company’s revenues have more than doubled, from $6.9 billion in FY 2003 to $15.4 billion in FY 2012. Among other accomplishments, she led the acquisition and integration of the Alamo and National brands, has guided the company’s growing presence in the car-sharing market and, most recently, is overseeing Enterprise’s international expansion.

“In her 10 years as chief operating officer and five years as president, Pam Nicholson has proven herself more than ready to take on the duties of chief executive officer,” said Taylor. “This step is a natural evolution of Pam’s strong leadership of our business – leadership that has won her the loyalty and respect of our management team, of the Taylor family and of the larger Enterprise family.”

Nicholson began her career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1981 as a management trainee in St. Louis. Over the next 12 years, she was promoted through the ranks to regional vice president in Southern California. In 1994, Nicholson returned to St. Louis to become a corporate vice president at company headquarters. In 1999, she was named senior vice president-North American operations, followed by chief operating officer in 2003 and then president in 2008.

“She began her career with us serving customers at the rental counter, and her great work has earned her one opportunity after another,” said Taylor. “I know Pam will thrive on this latest opportunity as CEO and build on her long record of achievement with Enterprise.”

In her new position, Nicholson is a corporate officer and the highest ranking woman, not only at Enterprise Holdings, but in the entire $20-billion U.S. car rental industry.

“This is a company that has had only two CEOs in the past 56 years, our founder, Jack Taylor, and Andy,” said Nicholson. “To follow in that line is a terrific honor.”