America's most popular brand of garage floor oil-stain maker, Harley Davidson, is down one relatively important employee as of today.
Matthew Levatich is "stepping down" effective immediately, kind of. The end of his 26 years with the brand will actually be final at the end of March where according to WTMJ he will be assisting with the transition. Issuing a quote fitting of a man that was taken by surprise, (and likely given a fat check in exchange for some positivity about getting canned) Levatich had this to say:
“I am very fortunate to have spent many years with a company as revered as Harley-Davidson. The grit and determination of the employees and dealers and their passion for bringing our brand of freedom to people around the world has always been inspiring. I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as CEO, in one of the most challenging periods in our history, and I am confident that the progress we have made on the More Roads plan will position Harley-Davidson for long-term success.”
It must have been a pretty big check.
The Bar & Shield also lost Levatich as a member of the Board of Directors, which makes the following statement by appointed acting CEO Jochen Zeitz laughable at best.
“The Board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson."
Now, I was not in the room, but I have been fired before, and there is no fucking way this was mutual. None. You don't evict a tenant without having another renter lined up, and on the flip-side, you don't sell your house without having at least a couch to sleep on. The fact that there is an acting CEO in place while they search for a permanent replacement speaks volumes. With Levatich not talking about his future plans, it can be deduced that he has not recovered from the shock of getting fired right in the middle of his More Roads to Harley Davidson (AKA Buell 2.0) roll-out.
Should he really be shocked though? Sales (and stock prices) are lower than the seat-height on the new Softail, which if you have not ridden one, is uncomfortably low.
According to news sources out of Milwaukee, the company plans to use an outside search firm to find a new CEO. Another red flag that this was not in Levatich's plans for today. More details will be passed on as I find out about them.