Harley-Davidson’s chief financial officer Gina Goetter, its first high-profile female executive board member, has resigned her position at the company and skipped to giant US toymaker Hasbro to take up the same role. In a brief statement, and without further comment, Harley said vice president and treasurer David Viney will take over as her interim replacement.
Goetter was originally appointed in September 2020, after long-serving CFO John Olins was summarily purged by chairman and chief executive Jochen Zeitz in July that year. Zeitz had earlier been parachuted in by disgruntled activist investors to reboot the brand’s direction. Goetter became a pivotal part of his team, sacking extraneous senior staff, slashing costs, cutting dust-gatherer models and refocusing on an older customer base.
Lack of any automotive or motorcycle industry background proved to be no hindrance. Goetter joined Harley from Tyson Foods, America’s largest meat packer and processor of beef, pork and chicken products, where she was latterly CFO of its prepared foods division. Prior to that, her career path involved ascending managerial positions at General Mills, another big-league food processor noted for branded baking products, breakfast cereals and snacks.
US investors were clearly unamused by Goetter’s corporate demise, wiping more than 6% from Harley shares on the day of announcement.