Harley Davidson cuts 700 jobs, loses CFO in restructuring push

Marco Green
July 11, 2020

As a result, Harley-Davidson has cut production and 140 jobs last month at its factories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. "Our new operating model is simpler, more focused and enables faster decisions across the entire company", said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson. The Motor Company announced today that it's cutting 700 jobs worldwide, which in reality means that around 500 current employees will be out by the end of 2020.

On top of that news, the company said Chief Financial Officer John Olin stepped down from that role, after working for the company for 17 years.

The cuts affect roughly 500 current employees and will cost about $50 million in restructuring expenses, according to a regulatory filing. The company said that Olin will be replaced on an interim basis by Darrell Thomas, who will continue to serve as treasurer.

Changes to the company's operating model under The Rewire include all areas of the business globally, from commercial operations to corporate functions. At the time, Zeitz said the company was still committed to its other strategic plan known as "More Roads" that aimed to make the manufacturer an accessible, global brand through marketing and dealership initiatives and a series of new products that included small-displacement motorcycles for Asia markets and EVs, starting with the LiveWire. The company plans to share additional costs and savings in The Rewire plan when it releases second-quarter earnings later in July.

Harley-Davidson officials declined to specify where the cuts will be made. The Rewire will set the foundation for a new 2021-2025 strategic plan which is expected to be shared in Q4.

Harley-Davidson's sales have been declining for the past five years in the United States, its largest market, as its baby-boomer customer base ages. However, it's very clear the company is in the midst of big changes. Upcoming new models will see their launches delayed, and Harley-Davidson has cut production drastically. The LiveWire, which launched last fall, was supposed to lead a future line-up of EVs planned by Harley-Davidson - spanning motorcycles, bicycles and scooters. Harley-Davidson has not responded to a request for comment; TechCrunch will update the article if the company responds. Since 1903, Harley-Davidson has stood for the timeless pursuit of adventure and delivered freedom for the soul with an expanding range of leading-edge, distinctive and customizable motorcycles in addition to riding experiences and exceptional motorcycle accessories, riding gear and apparel. In The Rewire, the company also plans to prioritize markets that matter, enhance the core strengths of the company while balancing expansion into new spaces.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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