Polaris (Victory, Indian): Leadership Changes
Motorcycle Industry News
Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), owner of Victory and Indian motorcycles, reported Friday several organizational changes designed to align its leadership team with the company’s long term strategic objectives.
Polaris’ growth outlook is exceptionally strong, supported by the recent success and strategic expansion of its product offerings and global footprint. These moves will enhance opportunities for continued domestic and international growth, and are effective immediately.
Scott Wine (Polaris CEO) says: “The transition strengthens the company as we continue to explore business opportunities around the globe, and puts our leaders in positions to further grow and develop to meet these challenges.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a talented team of people at Polaris. Our deep reservoir of strong leaders allows us to make changes from a position of strength, which will maximize both the potential of the company and our executive leaders.”
Creating a laser focus on international markets is a primary objective of these changes. In the newly created role of VP – EMEA, Matt Homan will lead the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business, concentrating on the development of both organic and inorganic growth opportunities in the region. Homan began his Polaris career in 2002 as ATV marketing manager, and for the past several years he served as VP and General Manager Off-Road Vehicle business, driving that unit’s tremendous growth.
Also focusing on international growth in a revised and strategically critical role, Mike Dougherty will oversee business in all countries outside the EMEA region, with particular focus on Brazil, India, and China, as VP – Asia Pacific and Latin America. Dougherty has already made significant contributions to Polaris’ international expansion and this role is designed to allow him to accelerate growth in these important regions. Since joining the company in 1998 as international sales manager, Dougherty has held several internationally-focused positions, including his most recent as VP – Global New Market Development. Dougherty also ran the ATV business during his Polaris tenure.
Paramount to Polaris’ success is the commitment to continually develop innovative products and Dave Longren’s leadership as VP and CTO of Engineering exemplifies this commitment. Longren will now lead the entire Off-Road Vehicle business as VP – ORV and ORV Engineering. He will continue to oversee the Bobcat adjacency as well as Polaris’ growing Defense effort. Longren’s broad experience and leadership has been critical to the various roles he’s held during his Polaris career, and will be a tremendous asset to his stewardship of the entire Off-Road Vehicle business. In addition to Longren’s strong record of success at Polaris, he also excelled in general management roles with his previous employers.
Scott Swenson becomes VP – Small Vehicle business and Parts, Garments & Accessories (PG&A), including the recent GEM acquisition. The Small Vehicle business represents a critical component of Polaris’ long term strategy, centered upon growing through non-powersports adjacencies. Swenson began his Polaris career as Assistant Treasurer in 1998 and over the last five years has been instrumental in revitalizing the snowmobile business.
Swenson also played an integral role in the expansion of the company’s PG&A business, which will remain under his leadership. In addition to Small Vehicles and PG&A, Swenson will play an active leadership role in commercializing related Powertrain technologies from Polaris’ Swissauto business. He will continue to lead Polaris’ retail financial services group.
Mike Jonikas becomes VP of the Snowmobile business and Sales & Corporate Marketing. Jonikas began his Polaris career in 2000 as Director of ATV Marketing & Product Management, and over the past six years played a key role in the company’s transformation to a retail business model via the successful MVP program. In his new capacity, Jonikas will accelerate the positive growth trend exhibited by the company’s legacy Snowmobile business, while continuing to lead development of a new organic business adjacency initiative.
Steve Menneto, who rose from District Sales Manager to General Manager of Victory Motorcycles between 1997 and 2009, has been promoted to VP – Motorcycles and will continue to oversee both Victory and the recently acquired Indian motorcycle business, reporting directly to Bennett Morgan, President and COO. Menneto’s strong sales background, significant contributions to Victory’s growth, and industry experience make him the ideal person to drive Polaris’ expanded, two-brand motorcycle business.
Steve Kemp, with his extensive engineering background, has been promoted to CTO of Engineering, with oversight of all product lines excluding Off-Road Vehicles. He has served as one of Polaris’ Directors of Engineering since 2009 and had 26 years of product development experience prior to joining Polaris. Kemp has been a key contributor to the teams that, during the previous two years, have repeatedly launched innovative products while simultaneously driving record quality and process improvements.
He will bring that strong engineering background and history of success to this new role, working closely with Dave Longren and the Off-Road Vehicles technical team, while reporting directly to Bennett Morgan. Steve Cohoon, Director of ATV Engineering, is being promoted to General Manager, Powertrain and Senior Director, Snow Engineering. Cohoon will succeed Allan Hurd in the Powertrain role, as Hurd has declared his intent to retire. Polaris will benefit from having the skills and deep experience of both Cohoon and Hurd, who will work together closely during this gradual transition.
Polaris continues to outperform in a challenging market environment and these leadership moves are specifically designed to maintain, or even accelerate that trend.