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Harley-Davidson President Matt Levatich Resigns 2020

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Harley-Davidson announced last week that president and CEO Matt Levatich will step down. Its stock price fell nearly 54 percent during his tenure.
Harley-Davidson announced last week that president and CEO Matt Levatich will step down. Its stock price fell nearly 54 percent during his tenure. (Harley Davidson Motor Company/)

American motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson announced that Matt Levatich will relinquish command as president and CEO of the 117-year-old company effective last Friday. Levatich has been employed at The Motor Company for 26 years and will be replaced in the interim by current board member Jochen Zeitz.

“I am very fortunate to have spent many years with a company as revered as Harley-Davidson,” he said in a company-issued press release. “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, 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.”

Related: 2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire First Ride Review

Levatich took the helm of Harley-Davidson during the spring of 2015. Prior to that he served in a variety of leadership roles including vice president and general manager of Harley-Davidson's Parts and Accessories arm, vice president of Materials Management, and president and managing director of the former ill-fated MV Agusta business.

He was responsible for pushing Harley into the next era of gasoline-free motorcycling. Harley is the first big motorcycle brand to offer a functional electric-powered motorcycle in its new 2020 LiveWire. We recently tested it with a favorable opinion.

However during his tenure, the publicly traded company’s stock price has fallen by nearly 54 percent and now trades near its 52-week low ($29.60). For reference, Harley-Davidson built 228,665 motorcycles worldwide during 2018, while Japanese rival Honda Motor Company cranked out 87.5 times more during that period.

“The board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson,” said Zeitz, who has served on the board since 2007. “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.”

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