Iconic American motorcycle Harley-Davidson has said that it has settled a board fight with investor Impala Asset Management, just days after reports indicated that Impala was pressing to replace two directors at Harley-Davidson. According to new reports, Impala has withdrawn its notice to nominate two candidates to Harley's board of directors at the 2020 shareholders' meeting. An independent director, mutually agreed on by Impala and Harley, will join the board after the company's annual meeting, which was held in May last year, and before July 31.
So far, there's no word on who that independent director will be, but it will not likely be someone working for Impala, or one of the two persons put forward the investment group. Impala owns 2 per cent of Harley-Davidson's stock, and had nominated two directors, as the $2.8 billion hedge fund criticized management for losing market share and the board for not responding quickly enough to a declining stock price. Impala had also pushed for the recent removal of Matt Levatich as President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.
The latest truce seems to have come amid new concerns over the economy in general and the motorcycle industry in particular, over the coronavirus pandemic. Harley-Davidson has already shut down production across its manufacturing facilities in the US after one of its employees posted positive for COVID-19.
According to a regulatory filing, Harley-Davidson and Impala entered the latest agreement "in the spirit of cooperation during trying times, viewing it as a necessity to move forward." With the global motorcycle market heading for certain de-growth in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen how long the truce will last, or in worse circumstances, the differences surfacing again, once things start coming back to normal from the current COVID-19 crisis.
(With wire inputs)