Welcome to the jungle Jochen! Harley-Davidson announced Jochen Zeitz has been officially appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective immediately. Zeitz had been acting in the same roles since the ouster of Matt Levatich in late February. Zeitz, who has been a member of the Harley-Davidson Board of Directors since 2007, will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.

“In alignment with the board, my decision to become the President and CEO of Harley-Davidson reflects my deep passion and commitment to this company. During this extraordinary time of crisis my first priority is the well-being of our H-D community as I execute our COVID-19 response plan efforts to stabilize the business, resume operations and recover. I am also leading a necessary and comprehensive overhaul of the company structure, operating model, and strategy as we adjust to the new post COVID-19 realities. Over the next few months, we will rewire the business and define a new 5-year strategic plan later this year. I will then oversee the implementation of these changes and reignite Harley-Davidson as one of the most revered and iconic brands in the world,” said Zeitz.

Harley’s new president takes the helm during tumultuous times. Harley-Davidson's U.S. motorcycle sales have been down five consecutive years, the company was already ailing from its aging demographic long before the pandemic, then COVID-19 throttled sales, manufacturing, and shipping. On the positive side, there’s plenty of buzz surrounding the release of its Pan America adventure-tourer, its Bronx Streetfighter, and 975cc and 1250cc Revolution Max liquid-cooled V-Twins.

Before taking the reins at Harley-Davidson, Zeitz led the worldwide restructuring of Puma where he served as Chairman and CEO from 1993 to 2011. He remained Chairman of Puma after being appointed CEO of Kering's Sport and Lifestyle division from 2011 to 2012. Zeitz continued to serve on Kering’s Board of Directors from 2012-2016 and as chairman of its Sustainability Committee developed its global sustainability strategy. Zeitz’s reputation as a specialist in turning around listing companies will certainly be tested as he seeks to flip the fortunes of Harley-Davidson.