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H-D appoints new president and CEO

Ziemer’s replacement steps in May 1

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 07, 2009
Harley-Davidson Inc. has named Keith Wandell as the successor to retiring President and Chief Executive Officer James Ziemer.

Wandell, currently the president and chief operating officer of Milwaukee, Wis., based Johnson Controls, Inc., will begin his new duties at the Motor Company on May 1.

“Keith Wandell is a seasoned global business leader who brings tremendous energy, passion, and organizational and talent development capability to his job as Harley-Davidson’s new chief executive,” says Barry Allen, presiding director of Harley-Davidson’s board. “His vision and values make him a great fit, and he is absolutely the right person to now lead Harley-Davidson on its exciting journey.”

Wandell has worked for Johnson Controls for 21 years, beginning as a plant manager at the company’s battery manufacturing facility in Toledo, Ohio. Over the years, Wandell moved up the Johnson Controls corporate ladder, holding positions such as president of the company’s Power Solutions and Automotive Experience divisions.

“Harley-Davidson has a remarkable record of success and limitless possibilities. I am honored and thrilled to join the Harley-Davidson family and to have this opportunity to help it fulfill dreams, create innovative market-leading products, and expand its opportunities worldwide,” says Wandell.

Outgoing CEO Ziemer announced his intention to retire in December, 2008. Ziemer has worked for Harley-Davidson for 40 years, starting as a freight elevator operator in 1969.

Keith Wandell assumes his new role with Harley-Davidson on May 1.“On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I also want to thank Jim Ziemer for his 40 years of service to Harley-Davidson and wish him well on his upcoming retirement,” says Allen. “All of us who have worked with Jim throughout the years have benefited from his leadership, his selfless commitment to the Company, and his contributions to making the brand one of the most admired and successful brands in the world.”

Harley-Davidson also announced three other changes to its corporate leadership.

Matthew Levatich, currently the president and managing director of MV Agusta, becomes the president and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Levatich served as vice president of Harley-Davidson’s Parts and Accessories business before being handed the task of restarting MV Agusta’s operations after the Italian marquee was acquired in August, 2008.

Levatich replaces James McCaslin who moves into the newly created position of executive vice president for corporate product planning, reporting directly to the CEO. In this new position, McCaslin will oversee the development of future Harley-Davidson products.

Enrico D’Onofrio was appointed managing director of MV Agusta. D’Onofrio was previously the corporate general director of MV Agusta. Before that, D’Onofrio has held senior management positions with Ducati and Proctor & Gamble’s European operations.

“The appointment of Matt Levatich to the senior leadership position at Harley-Davidson Motor Company recognizes his demonstrated abilities at relationship management and as a strategic thinker and problem solver on the operations side of the business. He will be a strong leader in his expanded role,” says Allen. “Matt’s predecessor, Jim McCaslin, has done an outstanding job of leading the Motor Company’s operations. His unique talents, passion for products and operational excellence, and market knowledge will now be a great asset to drive the organization forward in the critical area of product planning and development. And we also look forward to growth for MV Agusta, under Enrico’s leadership.”

Levatich, McCaslin and D’Onofrio will also assume their new posts on May 1.

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