Former Jaguar Land Rover boss swaps four wheels for two as he joins Solihull company

Sir Ralf Speth

The Norton Motorcycle Co Ltd has welcomed Sir Ralf Speth to the Board of Directors of its parent company, TVS Motor Company. The experienced automotive global business leader will join the company as Chairman, effective January 2023.

Most recently holding the position of CEO at Jaguar Land Rover for 11 years, Sir Ralf is widely acclaimed for the transformation of the British brands, striving to transform the company into the global force it is today. Prior to this, Sir Ralf is widely experienced in senior roles within the automotive industry and has widely acknowledged for his leadership skills. He was the recipient of a knighthood from the Queen in 2018 for his contributions to British industry, and also named as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2020 for his passion for science.

This senior appointment comes at a time when Norton Motorcycles is making great progress under TVS Motor Company ownership, benefitting from significant new investment in the motorcycle brand. Norton announced in January 2021 that the company is to move into the most advanced manufacturing facility in the brand’s 122-year history. Norton is currently finalising work on construction of the new factory in Solihull, expected to open by the end of Q2 2021.

John Russell, Interim CEO of Norton Motorcycles, said: “We are truly delighted to welcome Sir Ralf to the TVS Motor Company family. We know that Sir Ralf is a tremendous leader and his accomplishments in the automotive industry speak volumes. This excellent appointment comes at a time when the Norton Motorcycles business is on a very positive trajectory but still with much work to do. We will soon be settled in our state-of-the-art new manufacturing base and the guidance of Sir Ralf will be important for us as a growing British business that has a strong legacy.”

The outgoing Chairman, Mr. Venu Srinivasan, who will become Chairman Emeritus of TVS Motor Company from January 2023, said, “It is a momentous occasion for TVS Motor Company to welcome Ralf to its Board. His passion for technology, eye for products and commitment to building brands are truly remarkable. His thoughts will add immensely to TVS Motor as the company shapes itself for the future. Ralf’s deep insights and guidance will be invaluable to the management team as TVS Motor Company embraces the future of mobility.”

Norton’s new factory base will be the central hub for all of the company’s operations, providing a permanent base for all staff. The new headquarters will be home to design, engineering, purchasing, sales, marketing, and support teams as well as the skilled production team that is resuming manufacture of motorcycles. Some of the specialist tooling and equipment previously used by Norton has been carried over to the new site in Solihull, but the site is benefiting from substantial new investmentNorton Motorcycles, which was acquired by TVS in April 2020, was founded in 1898 as a manufacturer of fittings and parts to the two-wheel trade.

Norton Motorcycles went on to become one of the most iconic British motorcycle brands, manufacturing famous models such as the 650SS, Atlas, Commando, Dominator, Manx, Navigator and more – constantly innovating in motorcycle technology, with features advantageous for lightness and strength in motorcycle racing. Norton Motorcycles has an unrivalled history in motorsport and the brand name is synonymous with Isle of Man TT racing.

In April 2020, Norton Motorcycles was acquired by TVS Motor Company, India’s third-largest motorcycle manufacturer. Under the leadership of TVS, Norton is based out of a new manufacturing facility in Solihull, West Midlands, building British bikes in England using traditional hand-crafted techniques with modern day machinery for consistently high quality.