Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson promoted Jonathan Root, previously senior vice president of Harley-Davidson Financial Services, to the CFO seat, replacing interim CFO David Viney, who stepped into the role in April when Gina Goetter left the company, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. The move is effective immediately, with Viney continuing to serve as vice president and treasurer as his CFO stint ends.
Root, 49, joined the company’s financial services subsidiary, which offers loans, credit cards and insurance products to the motorcycle-maker’s customers, in 2011 and was president of Insurance and Protection Products from 2015 until 2020 when he took the SVP role, according to the filing. He has also worked in financial services and corporate finance for more than 25 years including at Ally Financial, GMAC Financial Services and General Motors.
"Jonathan is a proven leader with extensive knowledge of our business, matched with strong financial acumen — we're excited to have him in place to lead the finance organisation at Harley-Davidson," Jochen Zeitz, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, stated in a press release.
Root is taking the finance reins as the company is facing a slump in sales. Global retail motorcycle sales fell 12% worldwide compared with the previous quarter, as a 3% year-over-year growth in Asia Pacific sales was offset by 25% and 17% declines in sales in Latin America and North America respectively, according to its April earnings release.
The company attributed the first quarter decline in North America sales to “the timing of new product launches, as well as shifting macro conditions.” In a statement included in the release, Zeitz characterized the company’s first quarter performance as a “solid start to the year.” Bright spots included a 20% rise in first quarter revenue to $1.7 billion compared to the year earlier period, and a 37% rise in net income to $304 million over the same period.
Harley-Davidson’s finance seat has seen several finance chiefs come and go in recent years. In 2020, Goetter replaced an interim finance chief that had stepped in for John Olin, who headed Harley’s finance for 17 years. Zeitz in 2020 said “significant changes” were necessary and asserted the company needed to move in “new directions,” CFO Dive previously reported.