Oct. 13, 2008 – Hot News

Suzuki’s Harris Might Retire

LAS VEGAS — Powersports Business has learned Mel Harris, vice president of American Suzuki Corp.’s motorcycle and marine division, might retire at the end of this year.
Harris, who has been the face of Suzuki at its national dealer meetings for a number of years, said he accepted an early retirement package. However, he also said “there’s still talk about whether I really will take it and walk away or not. I don’t think those decisions have really been made.”
Harris said his last day currently is scheduled to be Dec. 23.
Several dealers thanked Harris for his role in making Suzuki the market share leader for large-displacement metric motorcycles in the United States immediately after the new product introductions on Monday, Sept. 29. However, Harris’ possible retirement was not discussed during the actual dealer meeting.
“It’s not about me,” Harris said about why his possible retirement wasn’t discussed at the dealer meeting. “The company was here before I came and it will be here after. There are capable people (at Suzuki). Whether I decide to go or not, Suzuki will continue.”
Harris has been with Suzuki for 27 years, many of those as an executive, and has served on the Motorcycle Industry Council’s board of directors.

Brett Smith Resigns as S&S President

S&S Cycle has announced that president Brett Smith is resigning his position with the company effective Dec.1.
“It has been an honor serving as a steward to our family business the past six years,” Smith said in a press release. “I am confident the measures we’ve taken with respect to new products like the X-Wedge, our dealer development efforts, rapid international sales growth and a clear focus on emissions-related efforts have set a solid foundation on which to build. I’m looking forward to watching things develop as a shareholder.”?
Smith’s father, S&S Chairman George Smith, will assume the role of interim CEO.?
“I am proud of the job my son has done for S&S and my parents would be proud as well,” George Smith said. “He has put together a great team and done a lot over the past several years, and I will miss having him at S&S. I respect his request to move on and I know he’ll do well at whatever he pursues in the future.”
For more information on this story, see an upcoming edition of Powersports Business.

Harley-Davidson Increases Number of Board Members

Harley-Davidson increased its board of directors from 11 people to 12. The company elected Thomas Linebarger to fill the new opening, according to a Harley-Davidson press release.
Linebarger is the president and chief operating officer of Cummins Inc., which designs, manufactures, distributes and services diesel and natural gas engines, electric power generation systems and engine-related component products.
Linebarger will serve as a director with a term expiring at Harley’s 2010 annual meeting of shareholders. He’ll only be on the board’s Audit Committee and its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
The company’s Director Compensation Policy will apply to Linebarger as a non-employee director. He will receive a pro rata portion of the current $100,000 annual retainer that
H-D pays to non-employee directors. At least 50 percent of that will be paid in shares of H-D’s common stock and/or share units pursuant to an election of Linebarger under H-D’s Director Stock Plan. He also will receive a grant of 1,000 share units, each representing the value of one share of the company’s common stock, pursuant to the Company’s Director Stock Plan.

UTI Names New COO and Senior Vice President

Universal Technical Institute (UTI) named Sherrell Smith as its COO and executive vice president. The company also named Robert Adler as senior vice president of campus admissions.
Smith has been with UTI for 22 years. His previous role was executive vice president of operations. In his new role, he will push operational improvements necessary to enhance customer service levels. psb

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