Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been in the spotlight for the past few months following its change in leadership and less than stellar sales performance. It didn’t help that the COVID-19 global pandemic has caused dealerships and factories to temporarily shut down during the first quarter of 2020. At present, Harley-Davidson has announced that it will be cutting at least 700 jobs worldwide.
It should be remembered that sometime around April, Harley-Davidson, under its new leadership of its new president and CEO Jochen Zeitz gave a brief outline of its new strategy, dubbed the “Rewire”. It included refocusing its efforts on its core products, rather than introducing newer motorcycles in the hopes of attracting newer customers, however, further details of its new plan still remained unclear.
Of the 700 jobs that will be cut, 200 of those jobs still remain unfilled. The rest of the 500 current employees would have to face the ax. On top of that, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, John Olin stepped down from his position, a role that he filled and worked hard for the past 17 years. Its VP Treasurer, Darrel Thomas will be taking his position as interim CFO until the company finds a permanent replacement.
The Rewire is progressing very well and substantial work is being done to eliminate complexity and get Harley-Davidson on a path to winning. Our new operating model is simpler, more focused, and enables faster decisions across the entire company.
Zeitz added, “We’ve taken a hard look at our entire set up, our spending, and how work is getting done, to align our operating model, structure, and processes. We are building a strong foundation to drive a high-performance organization in the future.” He notes that significant changes are necessary and they must move in new directions. He however remained thankful for the 17 years of service that John Olin has served with the company, and for his leadership during this critical period of transition.
It is still unclear where the 500 jobs would be eliminated. This news comes in addition to the current 140 positions at its York, Pennsylvania, and Tomahawk, Wisconsin facilities that it announced it would be cutting last month in June. Surely, Harley-Davidson is tightening its belt to eventually come out strong out of this crisis that they are facing. In any case, we’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled and ears open for any more updates.