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Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Harley-Davidson CEO Doesn't Own a Harley

Rick Barrett, reporting on JSOnline today, reveals that the new CEO of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Keith Wandell, doesn't even own a Harley and is also an outsider. He comes from Johnson Controls. Here's an excerpt:

    "Wandell doesn't own a Harley yet, a fact that startled some bikers when his appointment was announced last week. They're used to seeing the company's top executives clad in leather, riding the shiniest Fat Boy and Ultra Glide Classic machines.

    But that doesn't matter much to Wall Street analysts who follow the company's fortunes.

    Wandell will be surrounded by people who ride Harleys, and die-hard motorcyclists wouldn't abandon the brand even if the CEO never became a rider." -- Rick Barrett, Journal Sentinel

What does all this mean? It means that Wandell, who takes the reins on May 1, will be running Harley-Davidson using the same business principles used for any other company. The fact that their products are motorcycles should make no difference. Or will it?

Read the complete article here.


John Lee, Hollywood winner said...

So the CEO's job is to loot the company and strip its a$$ets for Wall Street, then declare bankruptcy like GM?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Walt:

I think this is what's wrong with a lot of CEO's: they have no innate love or respect for their company's products. I think the new CEO of HD should sign up for the Rider's Edge program, buy a brand new Harley from his company, and ride it to Wall Street.

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Anonymous said...

BTW - Just for your info, after buying a 2003 100th anniversary Road King Classic at an estate auction and also finding out that the previous owner had it financed with Harley, that it was going to take 3 to 4 weeks for Harley to get around to processing the lean release and title. Just something you might want to know about and check on before buying a used Harley.