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Former Vauxhall MD Stephen Norman retires after 45 years in automotive

Stephen Norman, former Vauxhall MD

Former Vauxhall managing director Stephen Norman has been thanked for his “invaluable contribution” to the brand four years after overseeing the its retail network restructure.

Norman, who took up the MD post in January 2018 and two months later revealed his plan to cut around a third of its 326 franchised sites, is set to retire after 45 years in the automotive sector.

Florian Huettl has been appointed as the new head of sales and marketing at Opel-Vauxhall and will take over from Norman on March 1.

Opel chief executive, Uwe Hochgeschurtz, said: “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.”

Norman's 'invaluable contribution'

Huettl has held various senior management positions in the automotive industry at Stellantis and the Renault Group, gaining international experience in the UK, France, Switzerland and Russia.

Tobias Gubitz will also now report directly to Opel CEO Uwe Hochgeschurtz as head of product and pricing at Opel-Vauxhall.

Paying tribute to Norman’s role at the OEM, Hochgeschurtz added: “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.”

Norman - the subject of an AM profile feature in 2019 - has been in his current position since February 2021, taking up the post in Rüsselsheim after three years heading up the Vauxhall brand.

He joined Groupe PSA in May 2014 as chief marketing officer and became chief sales and marketing officer in 2016.

Prior to this, Norman held various senior management positions in a number of global car companies including Renault, Fiat and Volkswagen with a strong focus on sales and marketing.

'Many, many mistakes'

In a candid interview with Marketing Week in 2019 he admitted “I’ve made many, many, many mistakes” as he reflected on his career in automotive marketing.

The former PSA Group senior vice-president of sales and marketing was brought into the Vauxhall fold to transform the fortunes of the brand after market share fell to 7.4% and was in decline.

A month after his arrival AM exclusively reported on his plan to cut a third of the brand’s UK retail sites.

But a year on Norman told AM that the brand was now “nicely established” for growth ahead of the 2020 arrival of new Corsa, Mokka and Vivaro products with a reduction from 326 to 307 franchised sites coming as “network profit has increased by 33% between 2017 and 2018, in terms of the average per retailer”.

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