Former Harley-Davidson boss takes over at Norton

John Russell

The new owner of Norton Motorcyles has named its interim chief executive as it looks to steady the ship at the firm after buying it out of administration.

John Russell, a vastly-experienced manufacturing professional, has joined Norton after TVS Motors bought the company for £16m last month.

Russell was previously chief executive of Manganese Bronze, the firm that made London taxis, and managing director of Harley-Davidson in Europe. He was also managing director – commercial at JLR for eight years.

He will oversee a move away from Norton’s Castle Donington manufacturing site. Reports last month in Indian trade publication carandbike said that TVS joint managing director Sudarshan Venu will continue to make Norton motorbikes at Castle Donington in the short term – and move to another location nearby in the near future.

Sudarshan Venu, joint managing director, TVS Motor Company said: “[John] will take over immediately and going forward, this is an interim role, going forward; we will name a complete management team as well. And we will also put in place a strong management to complement the existing resources available at Norton and scale this further.”

Last month Venu said: “We’re taking over all the employees except a few, which is basically the old management, who we’re not taking over. The strong design team and assembly team is coming over to us, and we will look to leverage their strength and work with them to deliver more bikes of this storied brand. In Europe the location is in Derby, in Donington Hall. We will move to another new location very soon, in the same region. The idea is to continue with this very talented team to get the brand back to its original glory, and take it into the future.”

He added: “See, right now, if you see, the team at Norton in UK is very capable. They are manufacturing the bikes really well. And we’ll look to strengthen that as we cater to the global market.”

The move is good news for Norton’s employees who have been in limbo since the company slumped into administration at the end of January.

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