As Harley-Davidson Inc. extends its product line and reach into new markets around the world, the iconic Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer has turned to a San Francisco-area entrepreneur to help drive the global expansion of riders.
Neil Grimmer, the founder and, most recently, the CEO of personalized nutrition life science company Habit, has joined Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) in the newly created position of president, Harley-Davidson brand. Grimmer’s responsibility will be to oversee the evolution of the Harley-Davidson brand as the company expands into new segments and new geographies to grow its ridership base. His duties will be broad, ranging from product planning, marketing, retail and apparel to communications.
Grimmer has roots in product design, with a master’s of fine arts from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in fine arts from California College of the Arts, who had earned a reputation for devoting as much attention to product packaging as to what goes inside. He co-founded Plum Organics, a San Francisco-area organic baby and child food company, in 2007 and helped build it into a $93 million company before selling it to Campbell Soup Co. in 2013. He followed that up with Habit, a Bay-area company he founded in 2016 that quickly attracted a $32 million investment from Campbell Soup.
“Neil’s creative instincts, innovation mindset, deep brand and consumer experience and bottom-line orientation is critically important as we lead and inspire our teams and riders,” said Harley-Davidson president and CEO Matt Levatich in a Thursday press release. “He is joining us at a pivotal time, and his leadership qualities and affinity for who we are and what Harley-Davidson is all about will be a spark that ignites people to imagine what is possible for them from Harley-Davidson.”
Grimmer will report directly to Levatich as he seeks to bring together consumer-facing teams around the world to invigorate the Harley-Davidson consumer experience.
“Harley-Davidson is an iconic American brand recognized around the world as a symbol of personal expression and individual freedom,” said Grimmer. “It is nothing short of an honor and a privilege to work with Matt and the amazing team at Harley to bring the strategy to life and excite the next generation of riders, ushering in the next chapter of the storied legacy of Harley-Davidson.”
In July 2018, Harley-Davidson announced its More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan to accelerate growth through 2022 and deliver its strategy to build the next generation of riders. The plan provides the products, access and channels to engage more, new consumers and drive growth. One of its principal elements is the aggressive development of new products, which will include Harley-Davidson’s first all-electric motorcycle, LiveWire, being introduced to dealerships this year.