Is this the turning point in Harley’s recent saga of bad news we’ve been waiting for?
Harley-Davidson has announced that the Motor Co.’s new CEO is current Chairman Jochen Zeitz, the German-born executive who took over as acting head of the company after the abrupt departure of previous CEO and President Matt Levatich in February.
Zeitz officially takes control as Harley’s new president and chief executive officer during a tumultuous time in the company’s history.
Sales have dropped heavily in recent years along with Harley-Davidson being used by politicians as a target of trade wars. With many forecasting the death of the iconic American manufacturer if their fortunes aren’t turned around the company recently embarked on revamping its image along with reinvigorating its product lineup.
With many of the most recent new models being modern updates on previous Harley products, the new Pan America adventure tourer and Bronx streetfighter models offer a glimpse of the internal combustion future of Harley-Davidson. Both bikes are built upon the new Revolution Max engine platform - which comes in 975cc and 1250cc forms - and were previously expected to arrive later this year.
While his role was initially announced as an interim measure while the Harley-Davidson board searched for a new CEO and President, it comes as little surprise that they landed on giving the job to Zeitz. The youngest CEO of a public company in German history, Zeitz previously helped turn around a global giant before, as during his tenure with Puma he restructured the then-struggling company with a resulting 4000 per cent increase in share price over 13 years.
Zeitz has been a member of the Harley-Davidson Board of Directors since 2007 and served as the Chair of Harley-Davidson’s Sustainability Committee since its inception in 2011
Whether Zeitz will be enabled to work the same magic on Harley-Davidson is yet to be seen, but we remain hopeful.