Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson announced Thursday CFO John Olin's resignation, as well as the elimination of 700 positions.
The announcement is the latest in a series of widespread restructuring moves by the struggling Milwaukee-based company. Last month, Harley-Davidson announced, in an effort to adjust to lower sales volumes, it would eliminate about 140 production jobs at its Wisconsin and Pennsylvania facilities, Bloomberg reported.
The new operating model will affect 500 employees globally — 14% of its workforce — and cost the company $50 million in restructuring costs, Harley-Davidson said.
Olin, who has headed Harley’s finance for 17 years, is stepping down as CFO, effective immediately. "Significant changes are necessary, and we must move in new directions," CEO Jochen Zeitz said in a statement. "I thank John for his commitment during his 17 years with the company and for his leadership during this critical phase."
Olin will be replaced on an interim basis by Darrell Thomas, the company's treasurer since 2010. Prior to Harley, Thomas spent nearly seven years in the treasury department at PepsiCo.
Zeitz is leading the charge on these changes as he attempts to revive the struggling company. Zeitz, who sits on Harley's board, and formerly served as CEO of footwear brand Puma SE, stepped in as Harley CEO in May, following three months as interim CEO after former CEO Matt Levatich stepped down in February.
Of the 700 positions to be eliminated, 200 were already vacant, the company said, and the remaining 500 will be phased out before the end of the year.
These changes are part of Harley's widespread adaptation efforts, which the company calls "The Rewire." Of the $50 million restructuring costs, $42 million will be charged in the second quarter of 2020.
"The Rewire is progressing very well, and ... our new operating model is simpler, more focused and enables faster decisions across the entire company," Zeitz said. "We've taken a hard look at our entire set up, our spending, and how work is getting done, to align our operating model, structure and processes. We are building a strong foundation to drive a high-performance organization in the future."
Among the restructuring's key elements are an enhancement of core strengths, significant market prioritization, and adjustment to "reduce complexity, drive efficiency, and set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success," the company said.