Harley-Davidson names new chief executive | business | Hindustan Times
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Harley-Davidson names new chief executive

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc has said its chief executive will step down on May 1 and will be replaced by an executive from car battery and interiors maker Johnson Controls Inc. Keith E Wandell, 59, replaces James L Ziemer, who is retiring after 40 years at Harley and four years as its CEO.

business Updated: Apr 07, 2009 08:14 IST

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc has said its chief executive will step down on May 1 and will be replaced by an executive from car battery and interiors maker Johnson Controls Inc.

Keith E Wandell, 59, replaces James L Ziemer, who is retiring after 40 years at Harley and four years as its CEO.

Wandell is currently president and chief operating officer at Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls, where he has worked the past 21 years. He said some of his first priorities for the job are establishing long-term goals for the 106-year-old company.

"We have to set a course for where we are going to be five years from now, 10 years from now and 20 years from now," he said in an interview.

Wandell will take over Harley during a challenging time for the motorcycle maker. Sales of its iconic heavyweight bikes have been in a slump recently as the tough economy keeps buyers out of dealerships and the credit crisis continues to make it difficult for some customers to get financing.

Harley, which is also based in Milwaukee, said in January its 2008 profit fell 30 per cent to $654.7 million, or $2.79 per share. Its motorcycle shipments fell 8 per cent to 303,479 during the same period.