Harley Names CEO Wandell Board Chairman

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Motorcycle Industry News

Harley-Davidson has made some structural changes to its Board of Directors, most notably naming its Chief Executive Officer Keith E. Wandell as Chairman.

This decision, which is effective immediately, arrived after Board action on Tuesday.

Barry K. Allen (Harley Non-Executive Chairman) says: “Keith is a transcendent leader who has done an outstanding job of guiding Harley-Davidson in a period of extraordinary challenge and transformation.

“When Keith joined Harley-Davidson as CEO in 2009, the Board believed it essential for him to be able to devote his full energy to strategies to move the business forward, without the distraction of Board leadership responsibilities. With the Company’s tremendous progress under Keith’s leadership over the last three years, the Board believes the time is right to recombine the roles of Chairman and CEO.”

Wandell joined Harley-Davidson in May 2009 as the Company’s first outside CEO since 1981. Beginning in fall 2009, the Company embarked on a major new strategy to focus exclusively on the Harley-Davidson brand and transform the Company’s approach to product development, manufacturing and the retail experience.

Keith Wandell says: “I am grateful for the confidence the Board has placed in me, since I first came to Harley-Davidson, to work with everyone in this great organization to build a bright future for our company.

“On behalf of the directors and all our stakeholders, we express our deep gratitude to Barry for his Board leadership and we look forward to his continued guidance and contributions as a director.”

Harley reports that the Board also named Richard I. Beattie as Lead Director. Beattie has been an outside director of Harley-Davidson since 1996.

Harley says as Lead Director, Beattie will head the oversight and monitoring activities of the Board that would otherwise be performed by a non-executive Chairman.

In other action, the Board approved a cash dividend of $0.155 per share for the first quarter of 2012. This represents a 24% increase over the Q4 2011 dividend ($.125) and a 55% increase over the Q1 2011 dividend ($.100). The dividend is payable March 2, 2012, to the holders of record of the Company’s common stock on February 21, 2012.