SALEM, OR - Henk Bosman, a pioneer in the fleet leasing and management industry, passed away on Aug. 13, 2009 of cancer in Salem, Ore. He was 80.
During a 25-year career, Bosman helped take Vehicle Lease Management Services (later known as United States Fleet Leasing) to become the country's fifth largest fleet leasing and management company in 1989. In his youth, Bosman emigrated to the U.S. from The Netherlands. He first arrived in the U.S. in Portland, Ore., while working as a seaman aboard a Dutch merchant ship.
Bosman began his career in the fleet leasing industry working for several years in sales in the Pacific Northwest for GELCO Fleet Management Services.
He became an entrepreneur in August 1964 when he and several partners started Vehicle Lease and Management Services from the ground up with no vehicles in the company's portfolio. In 1965, Bosman bought out the other shareholders in Vehicle Leasing and Management Services and later sold the company to U.S. Leasing in 1972. In 1973, the name of the company was changed to United States Fleet Leasing, Inc. (USFL). Bosman remained as president managing the company as a subsidiary of U.S. Leasing International. Bosman was also a pioneer in developing computerized fleet management programs, such as USFL's Customer Reporting System and Personal Computer Information System.
USFL experienced dramatic growth from 1972-1986, fueled by new business development and the acquisition of five other fleet leasing companies. The string of acquisitions started in 1973 when USFL acquired Western Auto Leasing. Later, it acquired Crocker McAlister Leasing in 1977, Fleet Investment Corp, Inc. in 1981, and Consolidated Leasing Corp. in 1982. Its largest acquisition occurred in 1986, when USFL acquired the 26,000-vehicle portfolio of Hertz Car Leasing. Earlier, in 1983, USFL acquired Hertz Vehicle Management Corp., which had a portfolio of 23,000 vehicles.
In 1987, Ford Motor Co. purchased U.S. Leasing International, the parent company of USFL, for $512 million. Bosman remained president of USFL and shortly before his retirement in 1990, he spent most of his time in Europe developing fleet management services. Upon his retirement, he was succeeded by Joe Willett of Ford Financial Services.
In addition, Bosman was one of 27 nominees for the 2009 Fleet Hall of Fame.