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Posts Tagged ‘Pink Slip’

pink_slipI’m fascinated by the decline or some might say the “fallout” of the Harley-Davidson management team.

HD announced a couple days ago that effective immediately the CFO, Tom Bergmann was leaving the company.  Labeling the hasty departure with the all too familiar and politically correct words; “seeking other career opportunities” to describe his abrupt exit.   Mr. Bergmann had been CFO since 2006 and in January 2009 it was announced he would take on the additional responsibility as president of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) after Sy Naqvi’s sudden departure.  So it’s rather odd that on the very first day that the new CEO, Keith Wendell comes to work Mr. Bergmann would choose it as the most optimal time to leave?! 

I smell “Mr. Clean”… and I even provided Keith a 10-step success plan, but forcing out the CFO in the first 8 hours on the job was not on the list!

On the day of his departure, Tom had just completed a transaction that would provide about $1B in funding capacity that the company could use for consumer lending in 2009. The new funding was important, since the firm finances roughly one of every two HD motorcycle purchases.  HDFS increased the size of an existing $500 million asset-backed commercial paper conduit facility to up to $1.2B, based on the level of outstanding receivables. The facility expires April 29, 2010.  In addition, Tom negotiated to have replaced a 364-day, $950M bank credit facility expiring July 31 with a new 364-day, $625M credit facility expiring April 29, 2010. Together, the two agreements provide additional available credit of up to approximately $375M over the term of the agreements for the lending activities of HDFS. 

Getting the funding covered is a monkey off their back and a fairly impressive accomplishment to tell the new boss on day #1, but to turn around and say “Hasta la vista, baby”…I’m outta here.  WTF?  Whether Mr. Bergmann was run off the road or decided no more black leather, but instead it’s time for touring suits with leg guards and time to gear-up for a sound different than a low rumble…we’ll never know.

The HD press release stated that Controller John Olin would serve as interim CFO at the company.  Bergmann also served as President of Harley-Davidson Financial Services (HDFS) and Treasurer Perry Glassgow would take over on an interim basis.  Lastly it named Mark Kornetzke, senior director of financial reporting, as the company’s chief accounting officer.

Photo courtesy Henny Ray Abrams/Reuters.

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cnbcWe don’t need a psychotherapist to confirm what we feel in our gut each morning — it’s unsettling at minimum to outright rage and then add the ‘Bernie’ and AIG hysteria to the mix.

Market volatility, economic instability, double digit unemployment, bailout-i-tis, along with purchasing paralysis — it’s no wonder people are staying home under the covers — if they haven’t lost their home!

In talking with folks who have not yet received a pink slip even they feel trapped in companies where their sort of grateful to still be working, but insecure because no employer is making any type of guarantee about jobs longer than two-weeks. 

But, all of this doesn’t mean we have to slog through the rest of the year in an emotional cellar dweller funk. It’s not easy, but it is possible for motorcyclists to stay up in a beat down economy.  And with minimal $$.

Here are some thoughts on how to minimize the funk:

  1. Return to your motorcycle riding roots — remember why you first got into motorcycle riding? Bring back some of that enthusiasm — maybe even master a new riding skill — do something you’ve never done just for the sheer challenge of it. Commit to finding 10 Best Rides in your local area: 10 best waterfall rides (hint: Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls); 10 best scenic landscape rides; 10 best coffee shop rides, etc. you get the idea.
  2. Get the most from motorcycle social networking — build and extend your network of motorcycle friends and colleagues. Take full advantage of blogs, social networking opportunities via BB, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other online communities. Consider using your motorcycle skills to connect with the world: start a blog, build a Web site, create and post an original video on YouTube of your “10 best”, or share your legislative viewpoints or showcase new riding techniques. Write reviews for Shelfari or Amazon.com — reviews of motorcycle-specific books. Hell, learn and do all of them!
  3. Get out into the motorcycle real world — if you live near a college, check out its motorcycle technology centers. Personnel in these education-technology-transfer centers excel at helping people learn — how to repair/remove a motorcycle engine is a skill that many of us could use.
  4. Improve your motorcycle soft skills — head down to the local H-D dealer to “spar” with sales and work on your negotiation and relationship-building talents — the so-called soft skills — raise your sense of self-worth by working down the prices of motorcycle upgrades and parts. Ask the question, “Is that the very best price you can offer?” Not only will the practice help you payless for upgrades today it will keep you sharp mentally and position yourself for when the economic upturn occurs because consumer prices are increasing.

Sure this is a ride in the wind and ‘feel good’ type post, but aren’t you tired of reading about some reality TV star’s secret marriage to Elvis?!

Photo courtesy Flickr.

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