Harley-Davidson hires former Tyson Foods executive as its first female CFO

September 30, 2020 at 5:30 pm  •  Posted in Biker News by

Harley-Davidson hires former Tyson Foods executive as its first female CFO

By Sarah Hauer

Harley-Davidson Inc. has hired a former food executive and University of Wisconsin-La Crosse alum as its new chief financial officer. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle-maker said in a news release that Gina Goetter would become its chief financial officer starting Sept. 30, 2020. Goetter is the first woman to be hired as CFO at the company.

Goetter will help lead the company that has been dealt a tough blow during the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic downturn. Harley reported a loss of $92 million in the three-month period that ended June 30. Its U.S. retail motorcycle sales fell 27% in the quarter — the steepest decline in at least six years.

Goetter was most recently senior vice president and CFO of Tyson Foods’ prepared foods segment. She stabilized cash flow and right-sized the cost structure with a reinvention of the segment’s business model, according to the news release. Before Tyson Foods, Goetter worked at General Mills Inc.

“Gina is a CFO with the experience to drive a transformation of core processes and reporting for improved operational efficiency, build a global shared services model and modernize accounting and controls,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, in a statement. “She will add to the fresh perspectives and new capabilities now represented at the leadership level that complement the experienced talent that has been promoted from within. We have a diverse management team structured in a new way that is designed to fuel Harley-Davidson’s brand desirability and lead Harley-Davidson as a high-performing organization.” Goetter graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a bachelor’s of science degree in finance and economics. She received an MBA from Boston College.

Harley-Davidson announced in July that Chief Financial Officer John Olin had left the company. Olin had been with the company for 17 years. At the same time this summer, Harley-Davidson said it would eliminate 700 jobs this year as part of a comprehensive effort to rebuild the company. The company also replaced CEO Matt Levatich with Zeitz earlier this year. Levatich had been with the company 26 years.

“A total rewire is necessary to make Harley-Davidson a high-performance company,” Zeitz said during a conference call with analysts after the company’s most recent earnings report.

“The company has seen five consecutive restructurings in order to sort of chase the downward trend in sales. That has affected morale and engagement by our team members around the world, which is totally understandable,” Zeitz said.

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