Harley Davidson President and CEO Matthew Levatich on Friday stepped down from both his roles amid leadership changes.

The company’s Board of Directors has appointed Board Member Jochen Zeitz as President and CEO leaving the brand in search of a new CEO during a multi-year makeover.

“A committee of the Board will be formed, and the Company will utilize an external search firm to undertake a search for a new CEO, and a further announcement will be made at a later date. Levatich will assist with the transition through the end of March,” the company said in an official statement.

Zeitz acknowledging Levatich’s contribution to the company said, “Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Matt for his 26 years of service to Harley-Davidson. He has worked tirelessly to navigate the Company through a period of significant industry change while ensuring the preservation of one of the most iconic brands in the world.”

Levatich said, "I am very fortunate to have spent many years with a company as revered as Harley-Davidson. The grit and determination of the employees and dealers and their passion for bringing our brand of freedom to people around the world has always been inspiring. I am proud of what we have achieved during my time as CEO, in one of the most challenging periods in our history, and I am confident that the progress we have made on the More Roads plan will position Harley-Davidson for long-term success."

The company has been highly affected over the years with poor but slowly improving sales according to the company’s fourth-quarter update. The impact is mainly due to weaker sales further impacted by a highly competetive market. The brand had launched its “More Roads to Harley Davidson” revival plan in 2019 to “reinvigorate the U.S. business while accelerating the pace of international growth.”

The brand had also launched its first electric vehicle Live Wire as part of the acceleration plan. However, despite garnering popular reviews, the EV is yet to kickstart sales in the US and abroad.

The Milwaukee-based company’s shares have plunged 18 per cent in 2020. The company’s $4.6 billion market capitalization is down by more than half from when Levatich took over, according to a Bloomberg report.

Harley Davidson’s US sales dropped for a fifth consecutive year in 2019, it said.