Expert Marketer Magazine
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United States

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Rebuilding the Brand

Clyde Fessler

Clyde Fessler, retired vice president of business development for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, played an integral part in their dramatic turnaround.

Fessler joined Harley-Davidson in 1977 as the advertising and promotions manager and soon was promoted to director of marketing services. In that position, he led the establishment of Harley Owners Group, which now has over a million members and is the largest enthusiast club in the world.

As general sales manager in the early 1980s, he established new policies and programs, many of which are still in effect today. As director of licensing, Clyde created a new business that has received national recognition enhancing the brand to the general public as well as adding substantial financial value to Harley-Davidson.

As vice president of general merchandise, he repositioned the rider accessory department and led the MotorClothes team from $20 million in annual sales to over $100 million in a period of five years. As vice president of Motor Accessories, he developed the plan and strategy that doubled the business in three years and tripled it in five years.

In the role as vice president of business development, Clyde played a key role in developing strategic direction for the company, sponsoring programs like Motorcycle Rentals and the Rider s Edge safety training program.

Clyde is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He served on the board of trustees for the American Motorcycle Association and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. He also served as an active liaison between the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Harley-Davidson, a relationship that has generated over $70 million in donations since 1981.

Clyde retired from Harley-Davidson in early 2002 and is now active as a marketing consultant and motivational speaker. He enjoys fulfilling his dreams by exploring the world on one of his four Harley-Davidson motorcycles with his wife, Joan.