Since TVS Motors bought Norton Motorcycles out of administration in April, 2020, interim CEO John Russell has been hard at work righting the ship at this most storied British motorcycle company. Russell brought a lifetime of industry experience with him, with the clearly-stated understanding that it was always going to be an interim role.
What would come next? All businesses have plenty of discussions the public never knows about, but as of 13 May 2021, we have an answer.
TVS joint managing director Sudarshan Venu announced that a new Norton Motorcycles leadership team is about to take the helm going forward. Dr. Robert Hentschel will be the new Norton Motorcycles CEO, and Vittorio Urciuoli will step into the newly-created Chief Technical Officer position. John Russell will be stepping down from his interim CEO role, after having most recently gotten the brand-new Norton Motorcycles facility in Solihull up and running.
New Norton CEO Dr. Robert Hentschel comes from a position of Managing Director at Valmet Automotive Holding GmbH & Co KG, which he held since 2017. Among other previous experience, he was a director at Lotus Engineering. Meanwhile, new Norton CTO Vittorio Urciuoli was head of powertrain at Lotus Cars and also a project leader with both Ferrari and Aprilia Racing.
“It is an honour to take over the stewardship of Norton at this exciting time in the company’s remarkable 123-year history,” Dr. Robert Hentschel said in a statement.
“To help restore such an iconic and much-loved marque to its rightful place on the global stage is a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity. Under the strategic direction of TVS Motor, Norton has already achieved incredible success which includes being rescued from administration and beginning the rebuilding process. A highly motivated team has been assembled, bringing around 100 new skilled jobs to the region, to which we will be adding more in the future as the business grows. Norton is once again poised to build the finest motorcycles in the world,” he concluded.
“The Norton name has such a special place in the heart of every motorcycle enthusiast around the globe. Being the first manufacturer to win the famous Isle of Man TT race in 1907, no other motorcycle has such an evocative name and superlative history,” new Norton CTO Vittorio Urciuoli said in a statement.
“It’s every engineer’s dream to work for a company of such rich heritage. Now though, our sights are set firmly on the future. With the backing of TVS and the opening of the new state-of-the-art manufacturing process, everything is in place to take Norton to the next stage,” he concluded.
Gallery: Norton Motorcycles New Leadership
“TVS has created a plan for Norton to transform into the future. The brand will retain its core values which will be interpreted in a modern way for the customers of today and tomorrow. As part of this we are excited to welcome on board a new management team led by Robert to lead this next phase of the journey,” TVS joint managing director Sudarshan Venu said in a statement.
“His passion for customers, brands and the future of mobility will be of immense value to Norton. Vittorio has a tremendous commitment and track record of creating world class products, which is key to the future of the brand. Both of them are strong engineers with pedigree on the world stage. Along with the entire TVS team, I look forward to working together with them for the revitalisation of one of the world’s most storied brands,” he added.
“Over the last 12 months, we have ensured that our clear strategy for the transformation of Norton has been delivered with significant improvements to the product and the creation of a world class manufacturing facility in record time. Now, Norton is ready to move to the next phase of its journey,” Venu concluded.