The time to be a new broom in an established company like Harley-Davidson is not at a time of a recession, charged with discontinuing a brand that turned out to have far more, and more passionate support than Harley could have imagined, and set against poor performance figures - indeed the first posted quarterly loss in sixteen years.

But then you've got to wonder whether beleaguered Keith E Wandell was brought in as a hatchet man with the unenviable job of taking the slings and arrows while Harley repositions itself for the Twenteens, and ready to bale when things start to look up, leaving a bright, time-served Harley insider to take the company out of recession with a clean slate as the saviour of The Motor Company.

If so, the following report from the Associated Press will be water off a duck's back - I'd be thick-skinned enough to take that for $6.4m - but if this was a long term career choice, I'd guess that he'll be getting wistful for his lower profile past right now - and for a more sympathetic press when his remuneration package was filed.


NEW YORK, NY – March 12, 2010 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The CEO of Harley-Davidson Inc., who took over the motorcycle maker part way through 2009, received a pay package valued at $6.4 million during his first eight months on the job, according to a regulatory filing.

Keith E. Wandell received a base salary of $650,025 from his start date of May 1 through the end of 2009, according to proxy a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He received a bonus of $780,030 and stock and option awards valued at $4.9 million at the time they were issued.

He also received other compensation worth $22,515, which includes a cash payment of $19,733 instead of perquisites.

Wandell, 60, replaced James L. Ziemer, who retired last year after 40 years with Harley-Davidson and four years as its CEO. Before taking over Harley, Wandell was chief operating officer of the car battery and building ventilation systems maker Johnson Controls Inc.

During his final four months as CEO, Ziemer received a pay package valued at $2.9 million. That includes a base salary of $455,144, a bonus of the same amount and stock and options valued at $1.9 million when they were granted.

He received other compensation worth $44,221, including $14,800 in cash instead of perks and $22,521 in contributions to a deferred compensation plan.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker has hit hard times recently as consumers put off buying its high-end bikes. The company ended the fourth quarter with a loss $218.7 million, its first quarterly loss in 16 years.

The company has been laying off workers, closed factories and shuttered or sold unwanted brands.
The AP’s total pay calculations include executives’ salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don’t include changes in the present value of pension benefits, and they sometimes differ from the totals companies list in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the SEC.

SOURCE: The Associated Press


Jim Bright said...

Personally, I don't think anyone is worth that much money, no matter how brilliant they may be.
It seems that the disparity between the average wage and most CEO pay levels is now outrageous. Harley I guess are no different so I am not picking on them per se, however, given the poor decision (no matter what their future plans are for it) to close Buell down, it makes his renumeration and performance bonus even more obscene.