Harley-Davidson cuts 700 jobs worldwide, CFO leaves company

The Fat Boy gets a black-out paint job for its 30th anniversary.

The wild changes continue at Harley-Davidson, with news the MoCo is cutting 700 jobs worldwide, and the chief financial officer has left the company.

Harley-Davidson is eliminating those 700 workforce positions and the cuts have already started. Harley-Davidson already has 200 vacant positions and it’s not filling those holes, according to reports. According to Harley-Davidson’s official statement, the company requires “approximately 700 fewer positions across the company’s global operations with approximately 500 employees expected to exit the organization through 2020.

That works out to roughly 13 percent of Harley-Davidson’s 6,000 employees. At this point, we haven’t seen where the job losses are centred; Harley-Davidson laid off almost 150 employees in the US last month, including dozens of factory workers. That was hardly a shocker, as the company has announced drastic cuts to production in 2020 as it enters a restructuring plan called The Rewire.

Meanwhile, CFO John Olin is also on the way out. Olin worked with Harley-Davidson for 17 years; the company’s treasurer, Darrel Thomas, is covering Olin’s duties on a temporary basis.

It’s tough news for many Harley-Davidson employees, but at this point, everyone inside the company should realize that massive changes are still ahead. CEO/president Matt Levatich stepped down (or was pushed out, depending who you believe) in February. In March, the coronavirus pandemic forced the MoCo to shut down production temporarily. Since then, Jochen Zeitz has assumed the role of chairman/CEO/president, and announced massive changes. Although Zeitz hasn’t canceled projects like the new Harley-Davidson adventure bike and streetfighter, he’s pushed back the release dates for those machines. 

What else is coming? As per Harley-Davidson’s press release today, the key elements of the Rewire plan are:

  • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces
  • Prioritize the markets that matter
  • Reset product launches and product line up for simplicity and maximum impact
  • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to full potential
  • Adjust and align the organizational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success

That sounds like things are going to get lean and mean. Stay tuned.


  1. I’m not sure that there’s much left to say on the subject after seeing that FortNine video, How Harley-Davidson Killed Itself.

  2. Seems like HD is restructuring around COVID due to the fact that most of its clientele are not allowed to participate in “PIG ROASTS” as much as they did in the past! Damn shame. I’ve noticed many HD riders seem a bit “peckish”. Comments?

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