Harley-Davidson nominates Ford’s CEO for board of directors

Ford Motor Co. president and CEO James "Jim" Farley. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. president and CEO James Farley Jr. will join Harley-Davidson’s board of directors if elected during the motorcycle manufacturer’s annual meeting in May, according to a proxy statement filed April 9.

Farley would replace Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. chairman and CEO Brian Niccol, who has sat on the board since 2016. Niccol told Harley “he did not desire to stand for reelection” in a previous annual meeting.

Farley has served as the automobile manufacturer’s president and CEO since October 2020. The 58-year-old executive is also on Ford’s board of directors, represents Ford on the U.S.-China Business Council board of directors and has been appointed co-chair of the Future of Mobility Commission.

Farley previously held several positions at Ford, including COO, president of new businesses, technology and strategy, and executive vice president and president of global markets.

Harley’s president and CEO Jochen Zeitz is chairman of the board, which includes a mix of former and current executives at Starbucks Corp., Levi Strauss & Co. and The Boeing Company, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Katapult, Inc., Cummins Inc. and ABB Group.

Harley’s April 9 proxy statement also revealed that Zeitz received $9.4 million in total compensation last year. The company also paid more than $4.1 million in severance to three former Harley executives, including former president and CEO Matt Levatich, who left the company in February 2020.

Zeitz took over for Levatich, who received a $2.15 million lump-sum severance payment in 2020, according to the April 9 proxy statement. He also received a salary of $343,572 and $5.4 million in stock awards in 2020. The value of Levatich’s pension and nonqualified deferred compensation earnings also rose to $653,000 in 2020.

Former Harley executives who also received severance payments were former chief financial officer John Olin and former senior vice president and Harley-Davidson Motor Co. chief operating officer Michelle Kumbier.

Olin received a $1.3 million lump-sum severance payment, a salary of $374,421 and stock awards valued at $1.7 million in 2020. Olin left the company in July 2020 and was replaced by former Tyson Foods executive Gina Goetter.

Kumbier, who left the company in April 2020, received a lump sum severance payment of $660,000. She also received $223,385 in salary and stock awards valued at $1.58 million, according to the April 9 proxy statement.

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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