Harley-Davidson Europe has promoted its former commercial chief Michael van der Sande to managing director. He will lead the sales, marketing and distribution activities for Harley-Davidson and its Buell motorcycle brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Van der Sande, who was managing director of commercial operations, replaces John Russell as managing director. Russell is leaving the company but it is not known if he has a job to go to.
Van der Sande becomes a member of two of Harley-Davidson’s senior management groups, the functional leadership group and the sales and marketing circle. He will report to president and chief operating officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company Jim McCaslin in his new role.
McCaslin says: "Michael has led many strategic initiatives for us and is one of our longest serving leaders in our European office. His industry experience and business expertise are an asset to us."
Van der Sande joined Harley Davidson in 1996 and has held several senior positions, including director of marketing for Europe. Prior to joining Harley-Davidson, he held various marketing roles at Nissan Europe and Rolls-Royce.
Harley-Davidson hired former Honda marketer Greg Willis as head of marketing for the UK and Ireland at the end of last year (MW December 14, 2006). He took over from Allan Brownridge, who moved to run the company’s parts, accessories and motorclothes division.
The motorcycle brand has been working to boost its popularity with young people in recent years with the launch of new products such as toys and a children’s clothing line in the UK (MW October 27, 2005).