Former Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman retires after 45-year career

Former Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman retires after 45-year career

Former Vauxhall boss Stephen Norman, who in three years as managing director of the firm restored the company to profitability, is retiring after a career spanning 45 years in the automotive industry. 

Norman became senior vice president of sales, aftersales and marketing of Vauxhall-Opel worldwide last year, with former Nissan executive Paul Willcox taking over his position as director at the Stellantis-owned firm.

Starting out as a trainee at British Leyland, Norman spent more than seven years as marketing director at Rover France, before an eight-year stint in several senior management positions at Volkswagen.

The industry veteran went on to work in senior marketing positions at Fiat and the Renault Group, before moving to PSA, eventually spearheading Vauxhall-Opel’s sales and marketing  operations under its new Stellantis ownership. 

Named as an Autocar outstanding UK leader in 2020, Norman helped propel Vauxhall’s business back to profitability after 20 years of losses, all during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He devised a five-point plan to help restore the firm back to sales success and sustainable profit, which included boosting sales of light commercial vehicles and backing off pre-registrations to avoid cutting margins. 

His plan also involved refranchising the Vauxhall retailer network from 330 to 250 dealerships, reorganising parts distribution and improving the firm’s brand strength. In addition, he oversaw Vauxhall’s emphasis on its ‘Britishness’.

One associate said: “Frankly, he can be a pain in the backside… but he’s the best boss I’ve ever had. He’s direct and open, listens to opinions, acts young and believes in young people because they’re the future. Most of all, he hates the status quo. He wants things to be better every day.”