Monday, July 15, 2024
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CHANGE AT THE TOP FOR HARLEY

Harley-Davidson chief executive, chairman and president Keith Wandell is to retire from the company on 1 May. He will relinquish the role of chairman and his directorship at Harley’s annual general meeting on 25 April. Current chief operating officer Matt Levatich, pictured, has been named as Wandell’s successor in the top job of chief executive. A senior non-executive director on the Harley board, Richard Beattie, will be take over as chairman at the AGM.

Wandell was recruited to head up Harley at the height of the global financial crisis in 2009 when it was plunged into dire straits by an inability to fund credit sales in the US, and subsequently added the title of chairman to his chief executive moniker in 2012. During a seven-year tenure, he successfully turned the business around — dramatically slashing costs by breaking the power of recalcitrant trade unions at its key plants, disposing of non-core operations (Buell and MV Agusta) and paying down a debt mountain accrued by the Harley-Davidson Financial Services subsidiary.

Levatich joined Harley in 1994. Prior to becoming its chief operating officer in May 2009, he held wide-ranging senior executive roles in the US and Europe. These included vice president and general manager of Harley’s parts and accessories operations, vice president of materials management, and managing director of the former MV Agusta subsidiary. As new chief executive, he has also been elected onto the board of directors.

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