When Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz spoke in early October, 2022, about his thoughts on working from home, he made a different choice than many businesses. At the same time, it raised certain questions about Harley's future plans for its Juneau Avenue headquarters in Milwaukee. Of course, the natural expectation was that he might have more to say about it at the Q3 2022 earnings call scheduled for October 26.
Although he did have a few remarks, what he revealed was perhaps not as detailed as many would have liked. Here’s what he said:
“We know that the faster we move forward and transform and innovate, the more important it becomes to remember where we came from,” he said. “We want Milwaukee and our roots in Wisconsin — including Juneau, the product development center, the power train operations and Tomahawk — to be as relevant to us today and tomorrow as it’s been in our past."
Zeitz went on to say that, “We’ll be announcing more details in the new year on our plans including an investment that the Harley-Davidson Foundation intends to make on the heels of our $10 million investment into our museum campus focusing on our Juneau home and the near west side of Milwaukee.”
In Zeitz’s recent interview with Bloomberg, where he discussed the foreseeable permanence of a work-from-home policy, he also reaffirmed Harley’s commitment to its Milwaukee headquarters. With the company's storied past in the Wisconsin city, any major changes would of course affect the local community. So, even if he wasn't prepared to give details about the company's plans, the smart move would be to reassure the public that although things might change, it’s still going to be Harley.
What kinds of things could the Motor Company be planning to do with the space? After all, the Harley-Davidson Museum is already thriving—not to mention that it also just opened an 8,200-square-foot event space called the Garage in August, 2022. In a certain kind of way, predicting its plans seems a bit like asking what kind of gift you’re supposed to give that one friend or family member who already has everything (or else buys themselves whatever they want and don’t already have).
What about LiveWire? The much-discussed LiveWire SPAC deal officially went through and listed on the New York Stock Exchange on the first day of Q4. So, Zeitz said that we can expect to hear more about LiveWire when the Q4 2022 financial report is out, and LiveWire president Ryan Morrissey will attend to give a presentation. “A core pillar in our Hardwire strategy is to lead in electric,” Zeitz added, shortly before turning the proceedings over to Harley CFO Gina Goetter to deliver the quarterly financial presentation.
Sources: Milwaukee Business Journal, The Motley Fool