Jochen Zeitz was appointed acting president and CEO of Harley-Davidson in February 2020 after former CEO Matt Levatich stepped down from the post.
Iconic American motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has named interim President and CEO Jochen Zeitz as the new President and CEO. Zeitz was named acting president and CEO of Harley-Davidson in February 2020 after the company announced former CEO and President Matt Levatich was stepping down from the role after the company’s worst sales performance in the last 16 years. Zeitz is chairman of Harley-Davidson’s board and former CEO of sporting goods manufacturer Puma, and will see his vision of re-wiring the Harley-Davidson brand.
Also Read: Harley-Davidson Rewires Global Product Plan
“Over the next few months, we will re-wire the business and redefine a new 5-year strategic plan later this year. I will then oversee the implementation of these changes and re-ignite Harley-Davidson as one of the most revered and iconic brands in the world,” Zeitz said in a press statement.
Zeitz’s vision is to change the “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” strategic plan, unveiled by his predecessor, to increase ownership base and move the Harley-Davidson brand to new markets, and new segments. Called The Rewire, the new CEO’s plan will be further developed in the next few months resulting in a new strategic plan, which will incorporate key products and initiatives from the More Roads plan but will focus more on the markets and the products that can drive performance in terms of profitability and growth.
Also Read: Harley-Davidson Profits Slide Amidst COVID-19 Lockdown
Zeitz has been a member of Harley-Davidson board of directors since 2007. He established the company’s brand and sustainability committee and had served as the chairman and CEO of Puma from 1993 to 2011 and Chief Financial Officer from 1993 to 2005. Zeitz said his decision to take over the role as president and CEO reflects his “deep passion and commitment” to the company.
Also Read: Harley-Davidson Lays Off Staff, Cuts Salaries In The US
Harley-Davidson has been struggling with low sales over the past couple of years, particularly in the home market of the US. It’s widely believed that new generation of riders have moved their interest away from heavyweight cruisers, while Harley-Davidson’s traditional fan base has been ageing. With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, in April 2020, Harley-Davidson said its executive leadership will take a 30 per cent pay cut and most US salaried employees will take pay cuts of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. The company also announced a hiring freeze and said there will be no merit pay increases for 2020.