United Rentals to Make Leadership Changes

United Rentals Matthew Flannery

United Rentals Inc., the world’s largest equipment rental company, announced its board of directors has appointed Matthew Flannery, current president and chief operating officer, to become its new CEO, while retaining the role as president.

Additionally, the board has appointed Michael Kneeland, the current CEO, to become non-executive chairman. Bobby Griffin, a 10-year member of the board and chairman of the Strategy Committee, will become lead independent director.

The appointments become effective at the company’s annual meeting of stockholders on May 8, 2019, when Chairman Jenne Britell and CEO Michael Kneeland will step down from their respective positions.

Kneeland, Britell, and Flannery have led the evolution and growth of United Rentals for more than a decade. Since 2009, the company has nearly doubled in size to approximately 1,200 locations with 18,800 employees and annual revenue of more than $7.8 billion.

In that time, the company has successfully integrated numerous acquisitions, significantly expanded its strategically important specialty rental offering, and effected a cultural transformation that has elevated employee engagement, safety, innovation, and customer service. The company joined the S&P and Fortune 500 in 2014, and over the 10-year period ending Dec. 31, 2018, generated a total stockholder return of 1,008%, outperforming the S&P 500 index by 830 basis points over the same period.

“This succession plan is the culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive process, made easier by the depth of our executive talent,” Kneeland said. “I’ve worked with Matt for 20 years—he’s an outstanding leader who has been integral to the successful execution of our strategy. Through changes to our customer, fleet, and services mix, we have enhanced our position as the market leader and truly transformed United Rentals. There is no better executive than Matt to take the helm given his years of experience and achievements, and I’m confident that our company will be in excellent hands.”

Flannery said he is honored to assume the position of CEO and is looking forward to what’s next.

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve invested in growing our scale, technology, and service offering to further differentiate United Rentals, and will continue to do so,” Flannery said. “There is tremendous opportunity to build on our leadership position. With the strong and sustainable business model we have today, our potential for continued value creation has never been greater.”

Flannery has more than two decades of executive experience in the equipment rental industry, including over 20 years with United Rentals. He has served as the company’s president since March 2018, and as chief operating officer since 2012. In these roles, Flannery has led the execution of the company’s growth strategy, resulting in significant organic expansion and the successful integration of more than a dozen acquisitions. He previously served as executive vice president–operations and sales, and senior vice president–operations east, following region and district management roles. Flannery joined United Rentals in 1998 upon the company’s acquisition of McClinch Equipment.

For more information, visit www.unitedrentals.com.