Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Harley-Davidson Will Eliminate 700 Jobs Worldwide by the End of 2020

2020 Has Not Been a Good Year

Few people are having a good year in 2020, and if you’re a part of Harley-Davidson, things are about to get worse. The company announced that it will be cutting 700 jobs around the world. Two hundred of those 500 were unfilled positions, though, so it’s more like 500 jobs, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In another blow to the business, Chief Financial Officer John Olin left his position. He was with Harley for 17 years. His position will be filled by Treasurer Darrell Thomas for the time being.

“Significant changes are necessary and we must move in new directions,” Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO 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.

This all comes after the announcement of Harley’s Rewire plan. The company is in the process of restructuring and the new leadership of Jochen Zeitz will usher in a new era for The Motor Company. There will be many things over the next few years that look like bad news for Harley, but I have a feeling all of this restructuring and leaning out of the business (which has been bloated for years in my mind) will be a good thing.

People losing their jobs is never good, and the economic downturn mixed with Harley’s need to restructure is the perfect storm for job loss. However, Harley has to do something or suffer a slow and drawn-out death. Zeitz is trying to change the course of a company that has failed to do so time and time again. 

The news of the 700 jobs being cut comes after Harley announced it would cut 140 jobs from its Tomahawk, Wisconsin, facilities in June, according to RideApart. I would bet this isn’t the last round of Harley cutting jobs as the business seeks to become a leaner operation overall. It’s a shame, but it seems that’s what Harley needs to do at this time. Hopefully, in the coming years it can turn things around and get back on the right track.