Harley-Davidson (Harley) seems to be taking two-wheel vehicle electrification seriously. The MoCo is appointing Ryan Morrissey as the Chief Electric Vehicle Officer (CEVO). He will start on April 1st (no, this is not an April Fools gag).
Morrissey brings over twenty years of experience in “disruptive technologies and the development of new business ventures.” Like Harley’s new Chief Commercial Officer, Edel O’Sullivan, Morrissey comes from Bain & Company.
In his most recent position at Bain, Morrissey was a Senior Partner and Head of the Automotive and Mobility Practice in the Americas. While in this position, he led the development of growth, adjacency, and M&A strategies for OEMs, tech providers, and retailers specific to the long-range transition to electric vehicles and autonomous fleets.”
Morrissey also has extensive experience “…leading global OEMs in powersports, heavy equipment and automotive on developing digital channels, EV product strategy, and software-based services.” According to Harley’s press release, he has also been an advisor to “…many leading investment firms on acquisitions in mobility.”
Morrissey appears to have a significant educational background with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Harley’s CEO, Jochen Zeitz, is looking to Morrissey to help build Harley’s electric vehicle business:
“Ryan has extensive experience with leading OEMs, working on building businesses to develop, commercialize and support electric vehicles. I’m excited to have him join the team to help us lead in electric. As we announced in February as part of The Hardwire, we’ll be talking more about our electric strategy later in the year.”
There’s one thing that strikes me as very significant in Harley’s press release. While the release does concentrate on Morrissey’s credentials and past work accomplishments, they took the time to insert this tidbit into his bio:
“As part of Bain’s work with financial investors, he has advised many leading investment firms on acquisitions in mobility.”
And that statement makes me wonder. Haters might say that this experience is important if Harley is looking to sell the MoCo. But from my perspective, it seems that Harley may be on the prowl. They could be prowling to buy a company or companies to snatch up technology or an electric two-wheeler manufacturer. It’s a path to instant access to a larger part of the electric motorcycle/bicycle market. And that would be interesting.
We know what happened with Harley’s last electric motorcycle partnership, and it wasn’t pretty. But that case was a partnership and not an outright purchase. If the MoCo bought a company like Energica or Zero, would that be a good thing? Interesting.
So it now seems that Harley and its CEO place significant importance on pursuing the electric vehicle marketplace. What’s not so clear is whether Harley is planning to push electrification of its motorcycles, its bicycles, or both.
Interesting times these.