Industry

Jochen Zeitz named as full-time Harley-Davidson CEO

After taking the job as interim CEO of the firm Jochen Zeitz has now been named as the full-time CEO and president of Harley-Davidson

HARLEY-DAVIDSON has named Jochen Zeitz as their new CEO and president this weekend. The news comes after Zeitz had been holding the post as interim CEO taking over from Matt Levatich a couple of weeks ago. Zeitz new roll will also see him sitting at the head of the board of directors.

Zeitz was named the acting president and CEO of the iconic motorcycle brand in February 2020 after the company announced former CEO and president Matt Levatich was stepping down from his role. Taking on the leadership permanently allows him to continue leading a significant re-evaluation of the current More Roads to Harley-Davidson strategy that he announced April 28.

Zeitz, a current Harley-Davidson board member and former CEO of Puma, will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Thomas Linebarger, an independent member of the company's board of directors since 2008, was appointed presiding director.

In a statement he said:

"As the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis and recovery persists and given the significant changes that are needed at the company, solidifying Jochen as CEO demonstrates both the board’s confidence in him and Jochen’s commitment to leading the company through this extraordinary time," Linebarger said in a press release.

"His two decades of experience as Chairman & CEO of a leading global company and brand, and his enthusiasm and determination to challenge everything about the company based on his turnaround experience is exactly what we need right now to lead Harley-Davidson to long term success.”

One of the new CEO’s first jobs will be to help turnaround the success of a brand that has been stuck in a bit of rut recently, with dwindling sales and an aging customer base. The previous CEO, Matt Levatich, tried to do this with a bold new motorcycle strategy – Zietz’ plan is to go back to basics and also what their customers know.

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