Jochen Zeitz is the new CEO of Harley-Davidson

Jochen Zeitz is the new CEO of Harley-Davidson

After Levatich stepped down in February, it’s time for Harley-Davidson's board member and turnaround specialist to take over

Abhishek Wairagade, Principal Correspondent

Jochen Zeitz, Harley-Davidson board’s chairman and acting CEO since Matthew Levatich stepped down in February has been now named as the CEO of the Milwaukee-based firm.

Zeitz has previous experience at Puma in Germany and has been operational in the shoemaker’s success story after the shoemaker went bankrupt. Zeitz also pushed for the electric future at Harley and is the leading man behind the Livewire project.

“Over the next few months, we will rewire the business and define a new five-year strategic plan later this year,” Zeitz said in a statement on Thursday after taking over the role. “I will then oversee the implementation of these changes and reignite Harley-Davidson as one of the most revered and iconic brands in the world.”

Jochen Zeitz

Harley-Davidson’s acting chief executive officer will take over the job permanently as the company rewires its strategic plan and attempts to pull out of a five-year sales slump. Levatich had stepped down as Harley’s sales figures slumped to their worst in the last 16 years. In April, Zeitz revealed plans to cut costs and de-emphasize some of the company’s unprofitable international markets. Harley also that said its executive leadership would take a 30 per cent pay cut and most US-based salaried employees would take pay cuts of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. The company implemented a hiring freeze and said there would be no merit pay increases for 2020.

It’ll be interesting to see where Harley goes under Zeitz direction after their ambitious plans to launch several new models including the Pan America, Bronx and even a supersport that is yet to be revealed. We also know that Harley is launching a street-tracker a la Indian FTR 1200 S after noticing the Indian’s success. Rumours also suggest that Harley is all set to reveal a 338cc motorcycle in June this year. Stay tuned!

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