Founder of U-Haul Plans to Step Down
Leonard S. (Sam) Shoen, 70, founder of the U-Haul rental system and the man generally credited with creating the do-it-yourself moving industry, announced that he will retire from the company he launched more than 40 years ago.
“We all reach the point where one phase of your life is complete and you need to go on with the next phase,” Shoen said. “I am now going on with the rest of my life.”
U-Haul, based in Phoenix, is the chief subsidiary of Amerco, of which Shoen was chairman, president and chief executive.
Shoen will be succeeded as Amerco president and chief executive by his son Samuel W. (Sam) Shoen, who has been a vice president of Amerco and president of U-Haul International Inc. Named chairman of Amerco is another son, Edward J. (Joe) Shoen, who had served as president of U-Haul International from 1977 to 1979.
U-Haul’s start coincided with the high mobility of Americans in the postwar years as growing families pulled up stakes for better opportunities, largely in the West. Founder Shoen began offering one-way rental of trailers in 1945 and added trucks to the rental fleet in 1959. Today, the company has annual revenue of about $700 million and employs 13,000.
In 1976, Leonard Shoen was tapped by then-presidential candidate Eugene J. McCarthy for a prospective Cabinet post as secretary of commerce. McCarthy credited Shoen with having “the only new idea in transportation in the last 50 years.”