Harley-Davidson CEO to Step Down in 2009

Harley-Davidson President and CEO James L. Ziemer plans to retire in 2009, capping a 40-year career with the company.

The Harley-Davidson Board of Directors has formed a search committee to review internal and external candidates. Ziemer reportedly will remain in his current role until a new CEO is in place.

"Working at Harley-Davidson has been an honor and privilege and has fulfilled a life-long dream for me," Ziemer said. "I am extremely proud of what our outstanding team of employees and dealers has accomplished together. I am delighted to be able to spend more time with my family and am enthusiastic about the company's tremendous opportunities and its prospects for success in the years to come."

"Jim Ziemer has dedicated his entire professional career to Harley-Davidson and has been a great advocate for the Company," said board chairman Jeffrey L. Bleustein. "All of us who have worked with Jim throughout the years have benefited from his leadership."

Ziemer is a native Milwaukeean who grew up in the neighborhood next to Harley-Davidson's original factory location on the city's west side. He started with the company in 1969 as a freight elevator operator while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After earning his undergraduate degree in accounting at UWM, he joined the accounting department where he spent the majority of his career. He was named the company's chief financial officer in 1990. In 2005 he became president and CEO. Ziemer also serves on the board of directors of Textron Inc.

Submitted by Guido Ebert