Harley-Davidson to cut 700 jobs, appoint new CFO

Harley-Davidson to cut 700 jobs, appoint new CFO

10th Jul 2020 2:32 pm

Approximately 500 jobs are expected to be terminated by the end of 2020.

  • Harley-Davidson is looking for a new CFO

  • Job cuts said to be in line with new ‘The Rewire’ business strategy

  • More will be revealed along with Q2 results later this month

It’s been just two months since Harley-Davidson announced its new and seemingly more conservative ‘The Rewire’ business strategy. The 117-year-old American company has now announced that its CFO John Olin has left his role and that hundreds of jobs will be slashed. 

In its latest statement, Harley-Davidson has announced that changes to the company’s operating model under its ‘The Rewire’ plan will cover all areas of the business, including the corporate functions. Olin has been replaced by current VP treasurer, Darrell Thomas, who will assume duties as interim CFO until a successor is appointed. Newly appointed chairman, president and CEO, Jochen Zeitz said, “significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions. I thank John for his commitment during his 17 years with the company and for his leadership during this critical phase of The Rewire.”

The same statement went on to say that “overall, the streamlined structure requires approximately 700 fewer positions across the company’s global operations, with approximately 500 employees expected to exit the organisation through 2020.”

Harley-Davidson says that it plans to share a comprehensive summary of ‘The Rewire’ actions and financial impacts when it releases its Q2 results later this month. The Rewire will set the foundation for a new 2021-2025 strategic plan, which is expected to be shared in Q4.

A quick refresher, ‘The Rewire’ plan consists of five main points

  1. Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces.

  2. Prioritise markets that matter.

  3. Reset product launches and product line-up for simplicity and maximum impact. 

  4. Build the Parts and Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to their full potential.  

  5. Adjust and align the organisational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency, to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success. 

The first two points appear to be a step backward from the ‘More Roads to Harley-Davidson’ plan of 2018, but in a time of global crisis, caution is fair to expect. The good news is that the Rewire plan confirms that Harley-Davidson will remain committed to upcoming platforms like the adventure, streetfighter and EV lines. However, the upcoming Pan America ADV and Bronx streetfighter models, which were due to be released around this time, have reportedly been postponed to 2021.

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