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H-D CEO to retire in 2009

From elevator operator worked his way up over 40 years with Harley-Davidson

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Dec. 16, 2008
Harley-Davidson president and chief executive officer Jim Ziemer has announced that he intends to retire in 2009 after a 40-year career with the Motor Company.

Ziemer, a native Milwaukeean, started working for Harley-Davidson in 1969 as a freight elevator operator while working toward an accounting degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After graduation, Ziemer joined Harley-Davidson’s accounting department, where he worked for most of his career. In 1990, Ziemer was appointed chief financial officer and in 2005, he was named president and CEO.

“Working at Harley-Davidson has been an honor and privilege and has fulfilled a life-long dream for me,” says Ziemer. “I am extremely proud of what our outstanding team of employees and dealers has accomplished together. There is always new and exciting work to be done on Harley-Davidson’s epic journey, and I have great confidence that the powerful combination of our employees, customers and dealers around the world and their passion will continue to fuel the strength of the brand. I am delighted to be able to spend more time with my family and am enthusiastic about the Company’s tremendous opportunities and its prospects for success in the years to come.”

Starting with Harley-Davidson in 1969 as an elevator operator, Ziemer worked his way up from the ground floor.Harley-Davidson’s board of directors has formed a committee to search for Ziemer’s successor. Ziemer will continue his current role until a new CEO is appointed.

“Jim Ziemer has dedicated his entire professional career to Harley-Davidson and has been a great advocate for the Company,” says Jeffrey L. Bleustein, chairman of Harley-Davidson’s board of directors. “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. As an avid and lifelong motorcyclist, Jim also exemplifies the great legacy and spirit of Harley-Davidson.”

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