Harley-Davidson promotes from within for new CEO, effective May 1

Matthew 'Matt' Levatich
Norman Ng | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Matthew 'Matt' Levatich

Harley-Davidson Motor announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Matt Levatich as its new CEO, effective May 1. He will replace Keith Wandell, who is retiring.

Many had credited Wandell with steering a resurgence for the brand. Since taking over as CEO in 2009, the company's stock has seen about a 200 percent increase (to more than $62 from about $21).

During Wandell's time as CEO, Harley generated more than $300 million in annual savings and grew international markets, the company said in a press release.

"We have accomplished a lot to reposition Harley-Davidson for a bright future," Wandell said in a press release, "and the most important achievement has been the development of great leaders at all levels of the organization. Our executive team has been integral to the creation and execution of our strategy and assuring a strong company going forward."

Wandell had been the first Harley CEO to be recruited from outside the organization since 1981, according to the company's website.

Levatich currently serves as HOG's president and chief operating officer.

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