All change at Harley-Davidson as President and CEO Mike Levatich quits

Harley-Davidson has a new President and CEO following the resignation of Mike Levatich amid ongoing struggles at the American firm

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson has confirmed its President and CEO Mike Levatich has officially stepped down from the company amid ongoing struggles at the American motorcycle firm.

Levatich has served at the company for 26 years but had been unable to steer the Harley-Davidson out of its current slump, with this announcement coming after it announced sales slide for a fifth consecutive year.

His exit will see board member Jochen Zeitz promoted into both presidential and CEO roles, as well as Chairman of the Board. Zeitz is credited with turning the fortunes of sportswear brand Puma around, while he was the leading motivator behind getting the LiveWire electric motorcycle to production.

“The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson. Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business,” Zeitz said in a statement.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Matt for his 26 years of service to Harley-Davidson. He has worked tirelessly to navigate the Company through a period of significant industry change while ensuring the preservation of one of the most iconic brands in the world. The Harley-Davidson Board and leadership team will continue to work closely together as we search for a new CEO."

While is at pains to stress the positive impact Levatich has had on the company, there is no denying Harley-Davidson is in the midst of a difficult period.

Since 2012, Harley-Davidson sales in the United States has plummeted 22% and after posting worse financial results than it expected in 2019, there is clearly a motivation to make a drastic change for the future of the brand.

The company is now committed to turning its fortunes around by shifting into new markets that it hopes will target a younger demographic.

Models on the way include the Pan America ADV bike and the Bronx streetfighter, while there are also bold plans to introduce more affordable models targeted at the burgeoning Asian market where Harley-Davidson’s sales remain solid.