Zero Motorcycles Finds New CEO After 16-Month Search

07/24/2012 @ 12:13 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

It is hard to believe that for over a year now (16 months by our count) that Zero Motorcycles has gone along without a hand on the rudder. Well…that’s not entirely true of course, as we hear that Zero’s COO Karl Wharton has been calling the shots at the Scotts Valley company in the interim, but the duration certainly has been done without a formal leader at the electric motorcycle manufacturer. That all ends today though, as Richard Walker has been appointed as the new CEO of Zero Motorcycles.

Walker comes with references from Hewlett Packard & Control4 (a home automation controller company). At HP, Walker was the VP and General Manager of the Consumer Desktop Business Division, which was responsible for the HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario, and HP Touchsmart product lines. While at Control4, Walker was the Executive Vice President of Product Development and Product Operations, so we are guessing he knows a thing or two about bringing a product to market.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to join a dynamic team and help lead a new and innovative company to higher levels of performance and success,” said Walker. “My goal is to ensure that Zero Motorcycles continues to grow and lead the electric motorcycle industry through product innovation and sound management, while never losing sight of our goal to build a ‘better motorcycle’ for our customers to enjoy.”

As far as we can tell, Walker has no formal experience in the motorcycle industry, though Zero Motorcycles says it aims to create a management team that is blended with voices from within and outside the motorcycle industry. For the same reason I have been fairly vocal about applauding Harley-Davidson for bringing an outsider into the company’s CEO role, I have the same reservations about Walker’s appointment now at Zero.

In the case of Harley-Davidson, the company desperately needed to revamp its business operations for the changing economic and market conditions — a job perfect for an operations man like Keith Wandell. However at Zero Motorcycles, the electric motorcycle company desperately needs to bring a bike to market that actually functions and looks like a traditional motorcycle. It’s hard to see how an outsider to motorcycling (we have a call in to Zero to see if Walker even rides a motorcycle) is going to be able to drive those kind of changes within Zero.

Hopefully Walker can bring his product development skills to the table at Zero, while his team of industry veterans can help steer the company in a direction that more closely follows the expectations of seasoned motorcycle enthusiasts. But as always, time will tell on this one. Welcome to the meat grinder Richard.

Source: Zero Motorcycles

  • craig1200

    Could have found one sooner, but every 2 months they had to stop and recharge for 4 months.

  • StuartR

    I think a lack of motorcycle background could cause a few divides in the company’s future progress. You’ve got to have some genuine passion at the front and not just rely on the fact that he’s managed to put some product out the door at the ‘computer giant’ Hewlett Packard. Zero is not in that league. He may be a passionate motorcyclist and knows exactly what this company needs – but that hasn’t been mentioned. But it sounds like an appointment based on satisfying the short-term concerns of investors more than one that’s going to produce a really exciting ‘bike’ that people actually want to buy. All looks a bit bland, safe and Corporate . . . .Carl Fogarty would have been a much more interesting appointment . . . . !

  • in my opinion these are by far more dangerously to ride than a regular engined bike.
    it happened to me that i was nearly to provoke an accident by now hearing this shits. I was taking a walk withing the Brno circuit facilities and at some point i wanted to change direction, i didn t looked back as i couldn’t hear anything so i thought is safe to cross, one guy came with one of these shits and he barely missed me.

    I apologized, normally you must look before crossing the street, my fault, BUT, fu** how many would be in same situation and in even more dangerous situations.. traffic or etc..

    damn these things..

  • ZeitgeistXiii

    @ Adrian, so admittedly you didn’t look and the bike is dangerous? I know its a common excuse for car drivers to use when they pull out in front of a bike and it hits them. Just because you did not look does not make the bike unsafe. Even a stock ICE streetbike is quiet. heck a coasting race bike is pretty quiet as a lot of guys shut them down and coast to their pit. Walking around a race track paddock or anywhere there could be bikes you should be looking where your going and assume there may be something to hit you nearby.

    As for Zero having this guy in charge, meh it helps but even John Bloor want a big rider admittedly in early interviews he bought the rights because he thought it was a solid investment. I hope Zero does well I like the idea of a quiet bike. Sunday morning rides I can go much faster than riding around like a knob and pissing every non-rider around me into calling the police or worse supporting actions to ban bikes all together.

  • StuartR

    Noise is easily added . . .not so easy to take away. Its a recognised issue and there are good creative solutions for e-motorcycles.