Ex Man Utd CEO Joins Norton at ‘Crucial Moment’ in Brand’s Rejuvenation

Richard Arnold joins the Norton senior leadership team and is set to bring a ‘wealth of commercial experience’ to the Solihull-based manufacturer

The foyer at Norton Motorcycles with some motorbikes from past and present

Norton is gearing up for a busy period, as it publishes details of new executive hires, has new model announcements on the horizon and looks to expand into new markets.

Richard Arnold will be a familiar name to most football fans, as he is a former CEO of Premier League team Manchester United. Arnold's CV at the Red Devils is impressive (even if results in the 2023-24 season were not) including him being one of the driving forces behind lucrative sponsorship contracts for the team. These included a reported $600 million (£500 million) kit deal with Chevrolet and a $1.3 billion (£1 billion), 10-year deal with Adidas. He’ll now be looking to help turn Norton, helped by TVS’s £100 million plus investment, into a globally respected and commercially successful entity once again. 

The news of Arnold’s inclusion in the senior leadership team comes just a short time after Norton hired a new Chief Technical Officer, former MV Agusta stalwart, Brian Gillen. Prior to MV Agusta, Gillen had worked with Magneti Marelli and GasGas, and previously headed up MV Agusta Reparto Corse, the racing arm of the Varese factory.

One of the new Norton V4SV models

The press release from Norton also confirms the fulfilment of outstanding orders placed with the previous iteration of the company, Norton Motorcycle UK Ltd (NMUL). To turn this page of the book, Norton had to dissect a handful of NMUL V4SS models, highlighting the faults and figuring out a course of action. Putting a price on that task (and rectifying the bikes so they are safe for use), Norton states that £2.3 million has been spent on the re-engineering, manufacturing and delivery of the updated Commando 961 and new V4SV models.

Norton also talks about incoming new models, claiming the company is ‘gearing up for an exciting period of new product unveils’. Aside from the Norton V4CR cafe racer (which was a naked version of the V4SV) and the Commando 961 and V4SV legacy models, these would be the first all-new models from the TVS era of Norton ownership. What they could be is as yet unknown, although with the aforementioned Brian Gillen overseeing the design and development of the new bikes, along with Richard Arnold assisting from the commercial side, they should be worth waiting for.

Speaking about his latest role, Richard Arnold said: 

“I see a hugely exciting future for Norton Motorcycles and I am proud to become part of the team. The investment made to date by TVS Motor Company has put Norton in an excellent position; ready to launch new products and develop a global sales proposition. I am looking forward to using my experience to assist Norton in maximising the opportunities ahead and helping the established commercial team deliver a world class customer experience.”

Norton Motorcycles CEO, Dr Robert Hentschel adds: 

“Following a £7m investment in our state of the art Headquarters in Solihull, Birmingham, we employed a dedicated team, focussed on an extensive quality improvement programme so that we could provide both legacy and new customers with our reengineered V4SV, Commando 961 and the new V4CR. Alongside this, development of the future product range continues to make excellent progress thanks to the recent addition of Brian Gillen as Chief Technical Officer. It is a great achievement being able to deliver motorcycles to NMUL customers and new Norton Motorcycle customers alike. Seeing their joy first hand is a great source of pride, both for Norton and for me personally. We can now focus our efforts on the future, on new products and new markets around the world.”

Find all the latest motorcycle news on Visordown.com