Harley names Wandell chairman of the board

Harley-Davidson Inc. president and chief executive officer Keith Wandell will assume the additional duties of chairman of the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.
Wandell was named chairman by board action Tuesday.
"Keith is a transcendent leader who has done an outstanding job of guiding Harley-Davidson in a period of extraordinary challenge and transformation," said Barry Allen, who has served as the company’s non-executive chairman since 2009.
"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," Allen said. “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."
Additionally, the board named Richard Beattie as lead director. Beattie has been an outside director of Harley-Davidson since 1996. As lead director, Beattie will head the oversight and monitoring activities of the board that would otherwise be performed by a non-executive chairman.
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.
Wandell also took hard-line stances to reduce the company’s labor costs as he renegotiated with the company’s unions, which ultimately agreed to salary concessions.
"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," Wandell said. "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."
In other action, the board approved a cash dividend of $0.155 per share for the first quarter of 2012. This represents a 24 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2011 dividend ($.125) and a 55 percent increase over the first quarter 2011 dividend ($.100). The dividend is payable March 2, to the holders of record of the company’s common stock on Feb. 21.

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