Harley Davidson stock continues to rise from the depths of the recession under the leadership of CEO Keith Wandell. Since he took over during the financial crisis in 2009, the stock has climbed 139 percent compared with the 86 percent rise of the broader market.
The motorcycle maker lost $55 million in 2009. Harley made $624 million last year, the best annual profit since 2008.
Wandell was hired from auto parts maker Johnson Controls and is the first CEO hired from outside Harley. To turn things around he renegotiated union contracts and modernized production plants. The majority of new dealerships opened in the last five years are in developing countries, reducing the company’s reliance on middle-aged American men to buy the premium-priced bikes.
Several financial analysts believe Harley’s greatest potential for growth lies overseas; the developing economies of Latin America and Asia are particularly promising.Associated Press