Harley-Davidson’s acting CEO, board will forgo salary and cash compensation

Company cutting most salaries at least 10 to 20%

Harley-Davidson headquarters
Harley-Davidson Inc.'s headquarters in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. will cut salaries for most salaried employees in the United States by 10 to 20%, the company announced Wednesday.

Acting chief executive officer Jochen Zeitz and the company’s board will also forgo salary and cash compensation. Other executive leaders will see their salaries cut by 30%.

Harley also will not grant any merit salary increases for 2020 and has implemented a hiring freeze.

Zeitz said the effects of the coronavirus on economies around the world “have been swift and unprecedented.”

“It is essential for us to respond quickly, adapt and position the company to manage near-term challenges while preparing to reenergize the business for the recovery and beyond,” Zeitz said.

Most of Harley’s production employees are already on a temporary layoff. The company chose to halt production after an employee at its Menomonee Falls powertrain plant tested positive for COVID-19.

Medical benefits remain intact for the company’s employees globally and the salary reduction will be reassessed at the end of the second quarter.

“We understand that navigating this new reality has a real impact on our employees,” Zeitz said. “Their dedication to Harley-Davidson is never taken for granted, and we thank them for supporting one another and rallying together as we manage the profound impact of COVID-19.”

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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