As Norton reboots, ex-CEO may be headed to jail this winter

The front of the new Norton factory, under new ownership from India. Photo: Norton

It’s a tale of two names: Norton, and the company’s ex-CEO, Stuart Garner. In early 2020, these names diverged, as Norton went into bankruptcy protection in Britain, and Garner’s sketchy finances were revealed. Now, we’re starting to see the end result of that whole mess. Spoiler alert: It’s probably good for Norton, and definitely bad for Garner.

Norton’s future

TVS, a company from India, bought the rights to Norton’s name after the company went bust.

North American riders might not be too familiar with TVS, but the company’s bikes are already all over Canada. The BMW G310 series? Designed in partnership with TVS, and TVS builds those bikes for BMW at a factory in India

That doesn’t seem to be the plan for Norton, at least not now. TVS has actually dumped a fair amount of money into an R&D centre for Norton in the UK, and has also opened a new factory for the company in the British town of Solihull. Who knows; down the road, a made-in-India Norton may be a reality, but for now, TVS seems to want to keep the marque’s mystique alive. And, it seems we’ll actually see Nortons on the road again, instead of seeing the brand as a pawn in a vapourware scheme.

Stuart Garner’s future

As for Norton’s former CEO, Stuart Garner pleaded guilty to pension mismanagement this week in a British courtroom. The charges sounded a bit weak, but when you hear how much money is missing (roughly $24M CAD), and that more than 200 pensioners’ retirement funds are affected, you can see why the Brits would want to pursue this matter.

Garner’s up for sentencing at the end of February as a result of his guilty plea, and the British press says he may face a jail sentence of up to two years, or a massive fine—apparently the court can make that fine as expensive as it deems appropriate, with no limit. Will Garner end the month in a cell, or will he see his financial future destroyed? No doubt those affected by his misdeeds are hoping for both.

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