Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Board of Directors’

Elevate your lifestyle with another glass…

It might become the new Harley-Davidson slogan as Keith E. Wandell (H-D CEO) recently joined the board of directors for Constellation Brands.

Constant who?

Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ) is a Fortune 1000 company with more than 100 brands in their portfolio, sales in about 125 countries and operations in approximately 30 facilities.  They are the world’s leading premium wine company with a broad portfolio of products across the wine, beer and spirits categories.   Constellation’s brand portfolio includes Robert Mondavi, Clos du Bois, Blackstone, Arbor Mist, Estancia, Ravenswood, Jackson Triggs, Kim Crawford, Corona Extra, Black Velvet Canadian Whisky and SVEDKA Vodka.

I can see a new marketing campaign now… the flirtatious, and witty pin-up bot from the future where there are no boundaries… SVEDKA Girl Grl.  You know her as the fembot of the future.  The world’s leading heavy cruiser motorcycle company joining together in a hip-hop nightlife where denizens do the “bot” dance… a version of “Dancing Machine” by the Jackson 5 (remixed by Scott Spock).  There will likely be posters and t-shirt giveaway’s with the sensual female robot standing astride a V-Rod… doing that super model burnout gig?!  Watch out Marisa Miller.  Your days are numbered!  Clearly merchandise tie-ins will be planned, scheduled and be most prolific.

In a company press release accolades oozed… “We are very pleased to welcome Keith to the board of directors and believe his experience in a diversified, consumer-driven industry, will provide excellent guidance as Constellation continues to focus on building its premium wine and spirits brands,” said Constellation’s Chairman of the Board, Richard Sands. “We look forward to the contributions he will make to the organization.

The editor of this blog wasn’t solicited for an opinion, however, had it been it would have went something like… “I think it’s important to not confine yourself to society’s stereotypes.  It’s radical to see H-D embrace every aspect of the robot future.  First in displacing manufacturing workers to potentially no real people in advertising.  No one owns the future so why can’t a fembot ride!

Look for my interview with the SVEDKA Grl soon.

Photo remix courtesy of Constellation and H-D.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

MV Agusta - F4

I’m not sure who said it, but there’s an old saying about Harley-Davidson, that goes something like: “if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.

So, on the day I left for Sturgis (August 6th), Harley-Davidson announced it had concluded the sale of its subsidiary, MV Agusta, to Claudio Castiglioni and his wholly owned holding company, MV Agusta Motor Holding, S.r.l.   You may recall that in October 2009, under the new leadership of CEO Keith Wandell, H-D announced its intention to sell MV Agusta as part of a NEW corporate strategy and to focus resources on the Harley-Davidson brand.  In fact, Mr. Wandell was in route to Minnesota on this announcement day so his handlers undoubtedly had everything all wrapped up prior to his departure ride to Sturgis.

The divesting announcement came 2 years (almost to the day) after it completed the $108M purchase acquisition of MV Agusta on August 8, 2008.  Then CEO Jim Ziemer said of the purchase:

“We are thrilled to welcome the MV Agusta family of customers and employees into the Harley-Davidson family of premium motorcycle brands,” … “Our primary focus with this acquisition is to grow our presence and enhance our position in Europe as a leader in fulfilling customers’ dreams, complementing the Harley-Davidson and Buell motorcycle families.”

The divesting announcement didn’t include the sale price but its 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed the company essentially paid MV Agusta’s former owners to take it back.  In the filing Harley stated it “contributed 20 million Euros to MV as operating capital” that was put in escrow and is available to the buyer over a 12-month period. The buyer was Claudio Castiglioni, who, with his brother Gianfranco, ran MV Agusta for years before selling it to Harley two years ago.  In the filing Harley also said it received “nominal consideration” from the buyer. In a subsequent interview the company said the specific amount it received was $3 Euros (~$3.98 USD)

In 2008 most of us were stymied by the purchase of MV Agusta.  As a maker of expensive and exotic, high-performance sport bikes at minimum it overlapped with the Buell products and even worse was the company never explained how MV could attract younger buyers to H-D.

Here are my questions.  How many laid off workers equal the cost of this poor decision and why hasn’t the Board of Director’s been held accountable for one of the worst business decisions in H-D history?  Yeah, they’ll likely tell me “if they have to explain it I wouldn’t understand…”

I previously blogged about H-D going Italian HERE.

Footnote:  There is a certain level of incompetence from the old time management at H-D and they should-have-known-better.   It’s not the first time Harley-Davidson has had a hard time with an Italian acquisition. In the 1960s it bought a stake in Aermacchi, a maker of small off-road bikes as a way to expand into new markets. Eventually it bought the whole company, but that move also eventually failed and Harley sold Aermacchi in the late 1970s. The sellers and buyers: the Castiglioni brothers.

UPDATE: September 11, 2010 — Not previously made public, but buried in the Sale and Purchase Agreement filed with the SEC is a provision that H-D retains control of any press releases and statements about the sale for a year from the August 6th closing date.  Why?  Maybe the fact that H-D forgave a $103M Euro receivable… basically money it had loaned MV Agusta for operations.  The sale agreement specifies that the receivable transfers to Castiglioni for $1 Euro!!  Shareholders need to hold the board and management responsible for this “BARGAIN:”  H-D paid $108M, then put $20M Euro in escrow for Castiglioni when they “sold” it back; forgave $103.7M Euro’s lent to MV Augusta and wrote off $162.6M on the company.  Q3’10 will include more losses due to tax liabilities…does it ever end?

Photo courtesy of MV Agusta.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: