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Changing Lanes

Shifting Gears (January): Printing All The News That Fits

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Turmoil in the e-tail ranks to ring in the New Year! Word broke December 16th that RevZilla frontman Anthony Bucci was out as CEO effective January 13, 2017. “As I looked towards RevZilla’s future – which I believe has incredible potential – I recognized that the best approach for continued growth and expansion is a broader executive playbook, which begins with my passing the torch,” said the charismatic pitchman who co-founded RevZilla. While Bucci is moving out of the CEO role, the plan calls for him to be the “face” of the e-com giant. “Our customers and the RevZilla family should rest assured that I will continue to remain a force behind our cause.” Bucci also remains on the board of Comoto Holdings, which owns both RevZilla and the Cycle Gear chain of retail outlets encompassing 100+ stores. “I could not be more proud of the ongoing success of RevZilla, our team, and the enthusiasm of our customers, all of which have had a global impact on our industry over a very short time.”

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End of an era as SpokesPeople LLC and Robert Pandya no longer represent Indian Motorcycle or Victory Motorcycles/Slingshot in a PR capacity. “I want to state up front that this is NOT an acrimonious split. In other words — it’s all good,” says Pandya. “I have made many life-long friends at Polaris, Victory and Indian… We did some cool stuff and fundamentally changed the motorcycle industry. I’m damn proud of the work we’ve done and ideas we contributed, and I look forward to continued success for all of us.” SpokesPeople will continue to pursue new opportunities and will be promoting a new event: www.sidecarsoiree.com. “Epic is as epic does, and remember to always protect your enthusiasm – it’s your fuel. See you on the next great trip. Now – get back to work.”


While management was “transitioning” at RevZilla, the news broke that MAG Retail Group was looking to merge J&P Cycles and Motorcycle SuperStore’s e-commerce efforts into a single portal. As an early Xmas present more than 30 people in the MAG Retail Group facility in Irving, Texas, were given their walking papers before the holiday break. Many of these were the same employees who had relocated from Anamosa, Iowa, and Medford, Oregon, when MRG decided to centralize operations in Texas. No statement was issued by the company, but this seems to be part of widespread cost-cutting measures. It follows on the heels of the October shake-up when the Retail Group was rocked by changes, including moving all contact center positions from Dallas to Florida and eliminating the planning manager, marketing manager and the off-road segment manager positions held by Taslow Roberts, Mark Rodgers and Gavin Rodgers.


Meanwhile the distribution arm Tucker Rocky didn’t escape the swinging axe and laid off dozens earlier in the fall, including VP of Marketing Hank Desjardins, VP of HR and administration Matt O’Dell, senior director of apparel brands Phil Davy, Jenn Garfinkle from the amateur racing support team, social media manager Haley Whisennand, video producer Chris Gomersall, MSR Hard Parts Brand Manager Jason Gearld and “Brand In A Box merchandising maven Jennifer Robison (see December Shifting Gears). The downsizing of Tucker Rocky was precipitated by the announcement that two of their distribution centers were closing.


In the latest round of musical chairs, industry veteran Lewis Hill was let go by Tucker Rocky. However TR’s loss is MTA’s gain as MTA Distributing named Hill national sales manager. “We’re excited that Lewis has joined our team and we’re looking forward to his leadership skills and experiences in helping MTA attain our growth goals for the future,” said Greg Blackwell, president of the Corona, California-based operation. “Lewis will play an important role in growing our current offering and launching newly acquired brands, through our expanded shipping locations.” Hill has held management positions at Global Motorsports, Motorcycle Stuff and most recently Tucker Rocky. “The MTA owners and senior management have a long heritage in the powersports industry,” says Hill. “I feel their core values and dedication align most closely with mine. Together we share a deep commitment to the powersports dealers and manufacturers we serve.”


New year, new president… John Hinz became the new president of KTM North America effective January 1, 2017. Hinz takes over for KTM, Husqvarna and WP suspension in both the United States and Canada. Former KTM North America President Jon-Erik Burleson will step into the role as Husqvarna brand ambassador beginning February 1, 2017. “I am excited for John Hinz to transition into the position of president so he can continue the implementation of the successful business strategy that the KTM North America group has developed with its executive management team,” says KTM CSO Hubert Trunkenpolz. “On behalf of the entire KTM AG Board of Directors, we would like to thank Jon-Erik for his over 20 years of hard work and dedication to the company.” Jon-Erik adds, “I have arrived at a point in my career in which I have decided to embark on new personal challenges. My passion for both the company and individual brands remains strong and true, as well as my personal investment in continuing industry initiatives to support the sport of motorcycling, which tie back to the company’s foundation of success and core of the brands. I have worked closely with John for many years now and I am looking forward to seeing the continued growth and success of the company.” Since coming over from Yamaha 10 years ago to launch KTM’s quad program, Hinz has played an instrumental role in the company’s success. He has served stints in product marketing, research & development, KTM’s RC8 Superbike Racing program, product development and most recently as managing director of KTM.

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