Harley-Davidson CEO Got $6.4 Million Pay Package in 2010.

Keith Wandell received compensation valued at $6.4 million in 2010, up 1 percent from 2009, and this for eight months on the job.

Breakdown of compensation is: Stocks and options $3.02 million. Performance-based cash bonus $2.3 million. Balance is salary and perks.

Harley reported a $146.5 million profit in 2010, compared with a $55.1 million loss in 2009.

28 Responses to “Harley-Davidson CEO Got $6.4 Million Pay Package in 2010.”

  1. 1 pabstbluerigid Mar 15th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    can’t wait for the haters to start spoutin’ off over this article? omg….

    he may very well deserve this.

    envy is a strange trip. we should all rejoice that HD is starting to rise again. how hard is it to understand…

    their success, HDMOCO = INDUSTRY SUCCESS

    a thriving aftermarket parts business, V-TWIN Expo couln’t happen without them, indy service business, customization, often taking “the wheel” (one of their concepts, parts or ideas) and then making it better…i digress

    without Harley Davidson, the parts, the lifestyle, Sturgis, Daytona – it is ALL beacuse of the American V-Twin these things are “what they are” and continue

    the man was called in as an objective “outsider’ to make tough cuts & decision….one’s that needed to be implemented years ago, and decisions that needed to be made to SAVE AN AMERICAN ICON. he had/has NO ties to the current “guard” thus he COULD come in and do the job with exhibiting little or no favoritism at all.

    were there “insiders” or long term company employees who might have deserved it or been better suited as “motorcycle people?” probably. could they have made the necessary cuts, played hardball with ridiculous union demands? probably NOT. they were “still connected.”

    HDMOCO was/is a victim of their own success. when times were good, they allowed a dealer on every corner…hell, in LA you can stand on any streetcorner & piss on 4 dealers…as in the case with WI, and FL as well. too many dealers.

    natural thinning of the herd has begun…those in it for the money only – gone/leaving. those with passion & good business practices will survive. those who have adhered religiously to MSRP pricing will perservere (when times were good…appreciated by the consumer, and “still MSRP” when times were tough…keeps the product from being “cheapened”).

    off soapbox, down with megaphone.

    off to serve my friends/customers & live the dream.

  2. 2 Tracker Mar 15th, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Good for him. Poor workers who have been fired.

  3. 3 Knucklehead Mar 15th, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Tracker, If folks are not buying Harley’s what is a company to do? Did you pick up a new Harley this year? If no one is buying the it is lay-off time. Sorry but thats what one has to do to save a company. It’s called budget in my house.

  4. 4 GG Mar 15th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    It’s funny that Victory posted a record profit, and then announced it was sharing it with the employees via huge cash bonuses. Harley announces a big profit, and the CEO gets the huge bonus for 8 months of work. I need one of their dictionaries, you know, one that had the word “Shame” removed.

  5. 5 les Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Before everyone looks at his income and angerly spouts some nonsense.
    Take a look at the loss of $55.1 million in 2009 and a profit of $146.5 million in 2010. At a net change of over $200 million, he and his team of workers deserve a raise. You may look at his salary and say HOLY $hit, he recieved a raise of 1%? In general, after a performance review which yeilded good results a medium company would give out a 3% percent raise to the individual. After reviewing this CEO’s review, as a team manager and leader, he is responsible(directly and indirectly) for a huge gain in profit, market share, and growth in new sales, aftermarket sales, and profit per dollar spent.
    He deserves the raise. As well as his support team and everyone who did the grunt work to turn this company’s loss into profit.
    Everyone down the line deserves a reward.
    But ultimately, by making all the changes HD made,in our eyes good or bad, they have guarenteed their lowest teered workers job security, by turning profit and gaining market share.
    good job HD

  6. 6 hoyt Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Why don’t the CEOs get their bonus after sales return to prior levels and they manage to keep the company from getting too fat at that time? This will not only keep the company lean for a longer duration (and reap higher profits), but it will reduce the costly layoffs when the economic cycle dips again.

    It is relatively easy to slash and cut. Grow the company and do it in a lean way…then get your bonus.

  7. 7 Walt Lumpkin Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    They hired Wandell for one reason, to reverse the downward spiral within a shrinking market and deal with increasing labor and material costs.

    pabstbluerigid put it in perspective. Wandell achieved a $200 million turnaround in short order. For this he was compensated according to the contract the board of directors negotiated with him prior to his employment. And as noted his increase was only 1% over the previous year.

    The CEO doesn’t make the decision to distribute the company’s earnings or set his own salary. That is a function of the Board. Additionally, any business person with any sense knows that you save for the rainy day. Reference the year 2009 with a $55 million loss.

    Those of you who adhere to the socialist agenda and want to share in the good times should be willing to share in the losses. After all that is what socialism is all about, equality. Capitalism is about initiative, drive, innovation, risk and hard working entreprenuers who expect to make more than those they employ. Why else would we work so hard?

  8. 8 John E Adams Mar 15th, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Nice job Mr. Wandell!!! $200,000,000 is quite a jump in any economy -;0)

  9. 9 Unkl Ian Mar 15th, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I have only 3 questions.

    #1 Did he even get his Motorcycle license ?

    #2 How many people lost their jobs at HD in the last year ?

    #3 How many millions in concessions were squeezed from the union members ?

  10. 10 1550tc Mar 15th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    #1 Did he even get his Motorcycle license

    did’t he ride to sturgis????????? or was he in a side car??

  11. 11 19 Guns Mar 15th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Who gives a shi*.

  12. 12 Isaac M Mar 15th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    This is an amazing financial turn around for Harley. It seems to me that he has earned the bonus. I personally don’t care if he rides as long as he doesn’t Run the company into the ground or devalue the “product”. They still have a long way to go regain market share and attract new business.

    Hoyt-CEO’s don’t get their money later because they can’t possibly know what profits will be like in the future. Look at what has happened in Japan ! Honda and Toyota stocks have dropped at no fault of thier own.

    GG you point out a very stark difference in management philosophy between Victory and Harley. Maybe Polaris has become the true “American” motor company.
    Be safe.

  13. 13 pabstbluerigid Mar 15th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    ian & 1550..

    you guys always post such thoughtful responses, well done.

    whether he rides does not matter…he was hired to run a company & make tough decisions.

    if you are ceo at levi’s, does that mean you can’t wear lee or gap clothing? absurd.

    downsizing was needed, adjustment to the marketplace.

    he is just a man, doing his job.

  14. 14 Nicole Mar 15th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Yes, pabstbluerigid -HD has put too many dealerships in certain areas but I disagree that Wisconsin is even close to one of them. Florida yes and definately Texas but they really have gotten rid of alot of their franchises along with the economy doing the same. Good for HD for coming out of the huge loss they did! You are correct, he was hired to run a huge company and make tough decisions….he obviously made some good financial decisions for the company.

  15. 15 Big Mar 15th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Harley employees got huge cash bonuses this year too. I guess GG doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, but that never stopped anyone from posting nonsense.

  16. 16 Jeff Nicklus Mar 15th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Well said Walt and pabstbluerigid …. you have it exactly correct. One must also remember that 1/2 of Wandell’s compensation package is taken in stock options …. the company doesn’t do well neither does he.

    Over & Out,


  17. 17 GG Mar 15th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Wait, so Harley employees were all given big cash bonuses recently too? Why wasn’t that newsworthy? That’s great news for the recovery of the company if it’s true!

    Apparently the only news worth reporting on H-D is that they’ve beaten up the unions; taken away some full time positions, and replaced them with seasonal workers. And now they’re opening manufacturing plants in India.

    All I see are hard time stories for the Motor Company, and then this story comes out, that the CEO is making millions. I deserve to be pissed, with the information that’s out there. If they have made a miraculous turn around and they’re paying huge cash bonuses to all their employees, not just the CEO, then kudos to them. The article states that the CEO was awarded 4.5% of their profit, and mentions nothing about the people who get their hands dirty. I guess my dirty hands feel for their dirty hands…

  18. 18 Greg Mar 15th, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    How can you compare Polaris, where Victory motorcycles are part of the product mix, to Harley-Davidson?

    Agree with the comments that Mr. Wandell’s job was to get the house in order.

  19. 19 Bigalyts Mar 16th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Well in my World of Economics and after visting and being part of the World Economic Strategic Experts and Know Nothings, we decided to put all of America on Commission. We will call this form of getting paid, Commish. We voted to include all Senators, Congressmen, State and City Politicians and that is……………….When you turn a Profit you get your predetermined Commish. If you don’t turn a Profit then No Commish ! Keith Wandell need to return last years Salary and keep the difference, against 2010 Profit’s, and Happy Day’s spending this Years Commish. P.S. Flying is Fine as to get around , just make sure the HD Logo is on your Jet and Car !!!!!!!!!

  20. 20 poppymann Mar 16th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I would be hesitant to congratulate Mr. W on his turnaround.

    What it comes down to is this: There are two ways to generate profits. Reduce cost on the same revenue base or increase revenue on the same cost base. The former can be done through supply-chain efficiencies, better tooling, process improvement or layoffs and shutdowns.

    The latter has to be done through higher revenue per unit sale or increased unit volume.

    Reducing costs is easy, but at some point you risk the ability to return to pre-crisis production levels. Shuttering a plant signals that you don’t believe the levels of unit sale will return. I don’t think a single person out there actually believes that unit purchases will return to pre 2008 levels even if India and China start buying.

    IMHO Mr. W. will continue to seek concessions and at some point will shutter teh KC plant and then move production offshore to better serve the Far East and South Asian markets.

    Whether he has a motorcycle license or not.

  21. 21 J Mar 16th, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Poppymann- finally, a voice of reason……

    For those of you patting Wandell on the back, I suggest you take a more macro look at Harley’s financials over the past 10 yrs. This report is the logical culmination of streamlining their balance sheet- pretty simple to squeeze out $146M in profit when you’ve burned down your liabilities to the ground… Hey, look at GM- their numbers are awesome this year, too- shocker!

    A better question here is- is Wandell being rewarded for enhancing marginal revenue and developing/enacting a long-term strategy for the company, or is he simply pandering to the short-term interests of option holders (i.e.- himself) by posting a meaningless flash number on the way out the door to his next gig?

    Jeff, options CAN be a good incentive for a CEO, if they’re priced to incentivize….. However, Harley has a history of awarding options to Wandell that are already in the money, which means his incentive becomes short term, and why you can suddenly squeeze $146M of profits out of thin air and declining sales and try to declare it a “turn-around”;

    Hey, I get it- we all like making easy money when the Board is too stupid to figure it out.

    Personally, I am tired of the mystery. Shutting down and moving business offshore isn’t a brainstorm worthy of $6M/yr; Any kid in junior high can figure out that India and China are high-growth, low-cost environments to set up factories, but a good CEO CAN figure out how to prosper domestically- plenty in this country do so every day.

    Here’s an idea I am all for: Award Wandell $100M of Harley options, exercisable at $100- that’s a real, long-term carrot under his nose….. The Board can grow a pair and set parameters that many other companies in this country adhere to and find success with;

    Will it happen? Of course not- do you really think Wandell wants to survive on his sub- $1M salary until real value returns to Harley? His is a flawed compensation package for the shareholders.

    The REAL job of the CEO and the Board is to make it clear to shareholders how a company is going to grow long-term so that EVERYONE wins. This is not Socialism- it’s the FACT of running a publically-owned company;

    Other than a few vague references to India, we’ve seen NOTHING to suggest that Harley isn’t looking any further down the road other than to what they can paint flat black next.

    Sorry, I ain’t drinking the Wandell Kool-Aid. Kudos to him for gaming the system, tho- the Board made that very easy for him to do.

  22. 22 hoyt Mar 16th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Walt – why is the “socialist” word used so frequently and rather foolishly?

    Stock holders & board members should expect CEOs to keep costs down in bad times AND good times.

    No doubt Wandell has done well by the numbers from certain perspectives, but once you reach any summit, you’re only half way home. The rest of the way is frequently the most difficult and important. It is not socialistic to expect performance in good times.

    If more companies were scrutinized as much during good times as they are during bad times over things like fixed costs, head count, operating costs, etc. then maybe the bad times wouldn’t be so bad.

    Who here doesn’t think HD could have been better during 1999 – 2008?

    Isaac M – “Hoyt-CEO’s don’t get their money later because they can’t possibly know what profits will be like in the future.”

    Not true & somewhat absurd. They are paid & legally bound to forecast accurately within reason for publicly held companies. A rare 8.9 earthquake tragedy would not be part of that equation.

  23. 23 Wiz Mar 17th, 2011 at 5:21 am

    6.4 mmiiilllioooon dollars? What the hell do you need that much money for? Do nuthin’ but get you in trouble! Let’s see, iffin’ I wuz to get 6.4 mill right now I’d probably take off to sum island paradise on a private jet with some tag along so-called friends that just are with me fer the dough, more high-class hookers that you can shake yer winkie at, coke, crank, booze, and throw in an attitude that I’m King-Shit ‘an don’t need anybody tellin’ me what to do, be rude ‘an obnoxious [already got the obnoxious part down with no money involved], ‘an do many nasty things to myself ‘an others! “Money is the root of all Evil!” Look what it did to the Teutuls! Naw, I”d rather be lean ‘n hungry, thank you very much! Poor guy, hope it don’t lead to his demise. It sure would lead to mine! Wiz

  24. 24 Boss Hawg Mar 17th, 2011 at 8:07 am


    Great job. Love it when profit enters the equations.

    To the nay sayers…get a life!

    Vroom vroom vroom!

    Boss Hawg

  25. 25 Boss Hawg Mar 17th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Wow…on second thought, he may have retired out of the Navy.

    The Navy found they had too many officers and decided to offer an early retirement bonus. They promised any officer who volunteered for Retirement a bonus of $1,000 for every inch measured in a straight line between any Two points in his body.. The officer got to choose what those two points would be.

    The first officer who accepted asked that he be measured from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He was measured at six feet and walked out with a bonus of $72,000.

    The second officer who accepted was a little smarter and asked to be measured from the tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. He walked Out with $96,000.

    The third one was a non-commissioned officer, a grizzly old Chief who, when asked where he would like to be measured replied,

    ‘From the tip of my weenie to my testicles.’

    It was suggested by the pension man that he might want to reconsider, explaining about the nice big checks the previous two Officers had received.
    But the old Chief insisted and they decided to go along with him providing the measurement was taken by a Medical Officer.

    The Medical Officer arrived and instructed the Chief to ‘drop ’em,’ which he did. The medical officer placed the tape measure on the tip of the Chief’s weenie and began to work back. “Dear Lord!”, he suddenly exclaimed,

    ”Where are your testicles?”
    The old Chief calmly replied, ” Vietnam ”.

    Boss Hawg

  26. 26 madpuppy Mar 17th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Boss Hawg

    Thats an oldie, but a goodie ! Thanks for the chuckle.

  27. 27 Hark Mar 21st, 2011 at 8:37 am

    When Wandell came to the Motor Company he did not even ride any kind of bike. This from what I know is not the NORM for Harley. The question to stock holders should be…What Has He Done For Me?

    I am sure he was treated like any other CEO, he had a contract…an agreement was made in the contract…and being smart, he made sure his contract was fullfilled. Nothing wrong with that…I think all of us would wish to be treated this way. So I say….Great Job Harley for doing right.


  28. 28 Sam Walton Mar 22nd, 2011 at 5:31 am

    This is corporate America at it’s best or worst, however you see it. When Harley signed up to work with and operate as a typical corporate America company does, they lost their core, lost their independence, these types of things are expected results. With that said, who cares, why so much criticism? Do you all jump on Ford or BMW? Mercedes? Wal-Mart perhaps? All who act similar and worse?
    It is what it is and has nothing to do with riding motorcycles or being in the wind. Harley is run like a conglomerate now, just like Yamaha, Suzuki and all the rest that you have put on a pedestal since the 70’s.
    CEO’s get hired with a contract, the contract has an exit clause that usually pays them exorbitant amounts and or includes stocks, ect.. They are supposed to earn the money. If HD did in fact make the kinds of profits they claim under Keith Wandell’s tutelage then he fulfilled his end of the bargain. If the stock prices went up he made his employers and shareholders just as happy, just as wealthy.

    Corporate America. It’s what’s for dinner.

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Cyril Huze