Harley-Davidson and Impala settle on new CEO

Harley-Davidson and one of its investors, Impala, have settled on a new CEO for the troubled motorcycle maker

Harley-Davidson FXDR 2019 Review

HARLEY-DAVIDSON and Impala Asset Management have settled their boardroom tussle over who should become the next CEO of the brand.

The news, confirmed by H-D on Monday, comes just a couple of weeks after we reported that a potential proxy battle could begin at the company, as Impala looked to replace two directors of its favour at the head of the board.

Instead of this, H-D and Impala have mutually agreed upon installing an independent director at the company, taking over from Matt Lavatich who stepped down earlier in the year. It’s likely the new director will join the board officially at some point late in the summer.

Impala, which owns around 2% of Harley’s stock, filed the proxy statement earlier this month, claiming that Levatich, was fired, shortly after the $2.8b hedge fund expressed concerns with the direction of the company.

Impala nominated two directors shortly after this, in a bid to get the American brand to return to its roots after focusing on electric motorcycles and instead concentrate on its core riders. Harley-Davidson stock has fallen around 50% from the start of the year, something that will no doubt be hurt further by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of continuing the battle at board level, Harley and Impala entered into an “agreement in the spirit of cooperation during trying times” and agreed on the company’s new CEO.

Impala previously pushed for former auto industry exec’ Brent Dewar and Leo Hindery, Jr., as directors to Harley’s nine-member board. Harley rejected the two men, stating in a filing that they wouldn’t bring fresh skills to the role. Instead, Harley placed Jochen Zeitz as interim CEO as of the 28th February.