Harley chief Jeffrey L Bleustein has decided to retire next year, on April 30, 2005.
The 65-year-old will remain as Chairman of the Board of Directors, and his successor as Chief Executive Officer will be current Vice President James L Ziemer, 54.
Bleustein was one of the 13 executives which purchased Harley-Davidson from AMF in 1981. By 1987 the firm recaptured its position as the leading heavyweight motorcycle manufacturer in the U.S. In 1998, Bleutsein became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
Under his leadship, the firm's annual revenue has risen from $1.5 billion in 1996 to $4.6 billion in 2003, while net income rose over the same period from $143 million to $761 million.
"I've been fortunate to work with a great team," said Bleustein. "And I'm confident Jim Ziemer will continue to take the Company forward. Over his 35-year career with Harley-Davidson, Jim has served in nearly every area of the company. He'll bring a broad-based knowledge of the business and the enthusiastic support and trust of the entire organisation."