View Full Version : Harley Picks Outsider for Chief Amid Downturn

04-08-2009, 11:11 AM

Harley-Davidson Inc., grappling with a downturn in sales as consumers cut discretionary spending, picked an outsider to replace its chief executive.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker said that Keith Wandell will take over the top job at the company on May 1. Mr. Wandell currently is president and chief operating officer of Johnson Controls Inc. He will succeed president and CEO James Ziemer, who is retiring after 40 years with Harley-Davidson.

Mr. Wandell, 59 years old, will take control of Harley at a time when the company has seen its sales battered as consumers have cut back on major purchases of goods such as boats and recreational vehicles. It has been working to increase sales to women and younger riders to diversify its customer base even as it cuts jobs and its dividend. At the same time, the company has been seeking new sales outside of the U.S.

Amid turmoil in the credit markets, the company's financing arm, which finances about half of all new "Hogs," also has had to seek alternative sources of financing. In early February, the company's largest shareholder and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. each bought $300 million of senior unsecured notes Harley issued. Mr. Wandell said his first objective will be crafting a long-term vision for the company. "If you're only working on today and tomorrow, then things are going to stall out," he said.

Harley also said it was shuffling some of its management. It said it was promoting Matthew Levatich to president and chief operating officer. Mr. Levatich, 44, currently is the president of MV Agusta, an Italian motorcycle company that Harley bought in August. James McCaslin will fill a new position as executive vice president for corporate product planning, which will oversee motorcycle product planning and development processes across Harley, the company said.

04-15-2009, 01:25 PM
Someone sent me this--;)


04-15-2009, 04:54 PM
April Fools? ? ? :eek: :D

04-15-2009, 07:15 PM
:confused: what did i miss?