Harley-Davidson will have a new CEO, after Keith Wandell retires on May 1.
Matt Levatich, currently the MoCo’s chief operating officer, will take over from Wandell as president and CEO in the spring. Levatich has been with Harley-Davidson since 1994, and in that time has held several high-level management positions with the company.
Wandell became CEO back in 2009, in middle of recovery from the 2008 recession. Much mud was slung at Harley-Davidson back in those days, with naysayers predicting the company’s downfall was imminent. Wandell took over and things changed quickly; he sold off MV Agusta, and was also considered one of the main reasons Harley-Davidson shut down their Buell line and focused on showy cruisers. Those decisions made him a love-him-or-loathe-him figure to many riders, but there’s no denying he turned the company’s fortunes around.
Levatich, on the other hand, was involved with both Buell and MV Agusta when he worked for Harley-Davidson in Europe. Presumably, he’s not scared by things like liquid cooling, and that’s important – with Harley-Davidson’s new Project Rushmore bikes, with their Street 500 and 750 and Livewire electric concept bike, the MoCo is going through more change at the moment than they’ve seen for decades.