Harley-Davidson CEO Leaves Struggling Company After Years of Sales Declines

Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich is stepping down as CEO, President, and member of the Board of Directors, the Milwaukee company announced Friday.

Levatich has been a part of Harley-Davidson for 25 years, the last 5 of which taking on the role of CEO. However, after years of constant sale declines, the board agreed that it was time for a change.

The biggest achievement Levatich takes pride in during his five years of leading the company is launching the campaign More Roads to Harley-Davidson, with the new-age, electric LimeWire as the cherry on top.

In a statement released on Friday, Levatich said:

“I am very fortunate to have spent many years with a company as revered as Harley-Davidson. The grit and determination of the employees and dealers and their passion for bringing our brand of freedom to people around the world has always been inspiring.

“I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as CEO,” he said. “In one of the most challenging periods in our history, and I am confident that the progress we have made on the More Roads plan will position Harley-Davidson for long-term success.”

A new member joined Harley’s board of directors, and he’s stepping in as Acting President and CEO until they find a permanent replacement for Levatich. The new board member and Acting CEO, Jochen Zeitz, was also named Chairman of the Board, and he will keep his current role until a new CEO is appointed. Michael Cave, who is the current Chairman, will now be the Presiding Director.

Levatich’s statements were followed up by comments from Zeitz, who explained:

  “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.

“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.”

Sources: Harley-Davidson; MCN