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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.

He will be succeeded in his current role by Florian Huettl, who currently heads up sales and marketing for European markets, specifically.

“I am really looking forward to working with Florian Huettl who is a sales and marketing expert with strong international experience. Together, we will continue to strengthen the Opel and Vauxhall brands and our business,” said Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz. 

“Steve’s experience in automotive sales and marketing is second to none. On behalf of the entire Opel team, I would like to thank him cordially for all his invaluable contribution – especially in terms of profiling the brand, driving our internationalisation and market share growth.”

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’.

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