quits

Harley-Davidson CEO to leave struggling motorcycle maker

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Harley-Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich is leaving the struggling motorcycle maker. The Milwaukee company announced Friday that Levatich will leave his post and seat on Harley’s board of directors. Board member Jochen Zeitz will become acting president and CEO while a board search committee is formed and Harley hires an outside search firm to fill the job. “The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson,” Zeitz said in a prepared statement. Harley has been struggling with declining sales in the U.S., its biggest market, as it tries to adapt to an aging customer base while looking to expand markets overseas. The announcement of the leadership change, made after the markets closed, pushed Harley’s shares up 5% in after-hours trading. They had fallen 2.3% with the broader markets during the trading day. Harley’s closing share price Friday was down 18% for the year. Harley reported a net profit of $423.6 million in 2019, but it made only $13.5 million in the fourth quarter. The company said Levatich will stay on through March to assist with the transition. Zeitz also was named board chairman, replacing Michael Cave, who becomes presiding director. He said the board is confident that its leadership experience and understanding of the company will bring an effective transition.

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Rod Copes quits as Royal Enfield North America President

Before joining Royal Enfield in 2014, Copes worked with Harley Davidson for 20 years. Former Harley executive Rod Copes has quit from his role of President of Royal Enfield North America, where he was heading the North and Latin America for last 5 years, reveals a LiveMint report. Copes has previously worked with Harley Davidson for 20 years till August 2014, before joining Royal Enfield. An alumni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Copes was a key figure in setting up Royal Enfield’s operations in the USA and Canada. Later in May 2019, he also took over the responsibility of the Latin American market, including Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. The report claims that Rod Copes will continue his work until the end of February. It quotes a person from the company who said that Copes’ exit could be a blow to Royal Enfield in terms of further expansion of the brand’s presence in North American market. This is the second big exit among the key persons of the company, after Pierre Terblanche resigned in July 2016. Pierre Terblanche is a famous motorcycle designer, who joined Royal Enfield in November 2014. In North America, RE has around 100 dealers. The company is aiming to scale up the sales volumes to around 10,000-15,000 units by mid-2020. It is banking on the 650cc models for that goal.

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