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Most biker girls don’t wear business suits. But as vice president, general counsel and secretary of Harley-Davidson Inc., Gail Lione has to look sharp. And she has the money to do it. The 52-year-old lawyer took home $595,412 in salary and bonus in 2001, not including $1.8 million in stock options she sold for a total of $2.4 million in take-home pay. What fueled Lione’s high-flying payout? Chalk it up to Harley-Davidson’s staggering sales growth. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle legend — which celebrates its centennial in 2003 — boosted profits by 26 percent in 2001, to $437.7 million. Revenue shot up 16 percent, to $3.36 billion. And the company’s motorcycle market domination was hardly limited to last year. Harley’s had 16 straight years of record sales and earnings, and its annual growth rate in the ’90s was a whopping 27 percent. Those stats help make it the nation’s No. 1 motorcycle company, with a worldwide network that is upward of 1,350 dealers. But it wasn’t just hipness that kept Harley on top. In recent years, the company’s made several deft business moves to help diversify its holdings and to secure new customers. In addition to beefing up its product line, Harley’s branched out into services, including a motorcycle riding school, a rental program that reached 110,000 customers in 2001, and an expanded financial services unit that offers loans to potential bike-buyers. Lione’s own Harley joyride began in 1997, when she nabbed the company’s top legal slot. From 1999 to 2000 she did double duty as GC and as acting vice president of human resources. Before that, Lione, who launched her career at Philadelphia’s Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, sat in the driver’s seat as GC and secretary of U.S. News & World Report and its affiliate, The Atlantic Monthly. Her first GC gig was at the Atlanta-based insurance concern Sun Life Group. Yet as she gears up for another year at Harley, Lione may face some speed bumps. Sales of the 2001 V-Rod, Harley’s attempt to tap into the Gen Y market, fell short when 20-somethings scoffed at its $17,000 price tag. The 2002 V-Rod model won kudos from critics, but has been plagued by production delays. The economy aside, 2002 could also be a tough year for Lione’s employer. With baby boomers holding out for the company’s 2003 anniversary edition, some dealers could face a backlog of Harley’s famous hogs.

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