Harley Davidson has hired a new CEO to lead its financial markets business, but she is no stranger to controversy.
The company, which has been in turmoil since the bankruptcy of its US subsidiary in 2015, has faced controversy before, with former CEO and investor John DeLorean resigning after it was revealed he had been the driving force behind a $5 billion fund to invest in luxury brands.
But now, in the wake of the company’s latest financial collapse, Harley Davidson is once again facing questions about how its top financial analysts have been paid.
“I think the chief financial officer is a very good person and I think she has done a great job,” Harley Davidson CEO Michael Waddell said during an interview with CNNMoney’s Alisyn Camerota, after the company confirmed DeLorean had stepped down.
But the CEO also said he believes the company has made the right decision in firing the chief finance officer, after her controversial comments to investors.
“We’re not going to be a small company,” Waddill said.
“We’re going to do what we have to do to keep ourselves viable and make sure we’re going strong.”
Harley Davidson CEO, Michael Waggon says the company is going strong.
We’re not taking any steps to close the door on a leadership change.
Alislyn Camerota/CNN”We think that we are a small, agile, agile company that’s going to continue to make great strides.”
Waddell was not alone in his view.
“She is going to have a tough time finding a way to keep her job, especially as her reputation has been damaged,” David Jones chief financial analyst Peter Bower told CNNMoney.
But he added: “I think that’s probably a smart move on her part because if you have a CEO who is going through some sort of crisis and has been a part of a big corporate crisis, it’s pretty easy to have trouble.”
The fallout for Harley Davidson and its analystsThe fallout has been particularly intense for Harley’s financial analysts, who have been under intense scrutiny since their hiring by DeLorean’s investment fund.
The fund was founded by a former hedge fund manager who also owns a stake in the company.
DeLorean was one of several investors in the fund, which was founded to support luxury brands such as Harley Davidson, Bentley and Lamborghini.
The firm has faced accusations of poor management, mismanagement and poor investment decisions, with one investor accusing DeLorean of “wasting $5 million on a $2.8 billion fund that didn’t pay a single penny in dividends.”
“He’s not a financial expert and I don’t know how much money he made,” said Joe Sartore, who led the fund’s investment for about a year.
“He was a great investment but he has lost control.”
In the aftermath of DeLorean leaving the fund last year, DeLorean said he had made the decision to leave Harley Davidson because of “bad management”.
“It was a horrible mistake,” DeLorean told CNN last year.
“It’s just not right that I’m leaving a company that I think has really made great strides in terms of investment, and a great part of that has been the investment of people like me and Harley Davidson.”
They’re people who I really respect.
“The fund’s demise has left some analysts wondering how to move forward without DeLorean.
Some have been calling for the firm to take over some of the responsibility for the fund.”
This has caused me to look for other ways to do business,” Harley analyst Jim Bower said, according to CNNMoney, adding that it is difficult for Harley to maintain its financial independence if DeLorean has been making investments for the last two years without consulting the analysts.”
You need somebody with a big, heavy financial background and a very strong financial background to do that, because it’s very hard to keep a company financially independent without somebody that has a financial background.”‘
We’re a small little company’The financial markets division is one of Harley Davidson’s largest divisions, but its analysts have also faced criticism for some of their decisions.
For instance, some analysts have suggested the company should invest more in its investment in luxury goods, including cars, in order to offset DeLorean spending.
But Waddel said the firm has “never been a small small company”.”
We have a global footprint, we have a lot of customers around the world,” he said.”
The way that we invest in the market is through our customers.
“He added that Harley Davidson was able to build its business through its “brands and experiences”, which helped it survive the global financial crisis.”
Our brands and our experience in terms [of] how we manage the market are very strong,” Waggone said.
But critics have also questioned whether Harley Davidson should be investing heavily in luxury cars in the first place.”
There’s been some speculation that they’re not buying these cars and that’s not true,” Wadi