Harley-Davidson paid $2.3 million in severance to execs last year, including fired brand president

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. paid out $2.3 million in severance to top executives who left the company last year.

Those payments included $778,521 to Neil Grimmer, the company’s now former brand president who was fired after “an internal inquiry along with a third-party investigation into concerns that his judgment and conduct as a senior leader did not align with our culture and the values we expect all our employees to demonstrate.”

Grimmer’s tenure at Harley was brief. He joined the company on April 15 and his last day was Oct. 25.

Harley entered into a separation agreement with Grimmer that included a lump sum payment of $700,000, equal to one year of his annual base pay. Harley’s standard severance agreement pays the company’s leadership team 24 months of base salary and all other senior leaders 12 months.

The company also agreed to forgive $44,000 in repayment of relocation expenses Grimmer would have owed. He also received $22,000 from the continuation of health insurance.

In exchange, Grimmer agreed not to make statements inconsistent with Harley’s position “that he was separated from the company for judgment and conduct as a senior leader that did not align with the company’s culture and values.” He also released the company from any claims of wrongful termination, breach of contract or invasion of privacy.

In a little more than six months with the company, Grimmer collected $401,152 in base salary, a $150,000 sign-on bonus and $1.75 million in stock awards, bringing his total compensation to almost $3.08 million.

Harley also paid out $1.52 million to Paul Jones, the company’s former chief legal officer who left on Nov. 29. The largest part of that package was $1,127,500 in a lump sum payment that represented 24 months of Jones’ base salary.

Former Harley-Davidson chief executive officer Matt Levatich, who stepped down at the end of February, is also set to receive a $2.2 million severance package.

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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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