Harley Slashes Executive Pay Amid Search for a Permanent CEO

(Bloomberg) -- Harley-Davidson Inc., the iconic motorcycle maker searching for a chief executive officer, is cutting management salaries and freezing new hiring to conserve cash amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jochen Zeitz, the company’s acting president and CEO, and the board will temporarily forgo salaries and cash compensation, while other executives will take a 30% pay cut, according to a statement Wednesday.

Even before the virus outbreak, Harley was having a volatile year. Former CEO Matt Levatich stepped down in late February following a five-year stretch of falling sales in the U.S., the company’s biggest market. Zeitz, a board member credited with reviving the Puma sneaker brand, took over on an interim basis. The manufacturer also sidestepped a proxy fight last month by settling with an activist investor that claimed it factored in Levatich leaving his role and called for the company to reconsider its turnaround plans.

Most of Harley’s production employees around the world have already been furloughed, though they continue to receive medical benefits, according to the company. Other salaried employees in the U.S. will receive a 10% to 20% pay cut.

Harley shares, which have plunged more than 50% this year, fell 6.4% to $18.12 as of 2:20 p.m. in New York.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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