Richard Walker, a former executive at Hewlett Packard, has been named the new chief executive officer for the Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles, which specializes in electric bikes.
Walker earned a reputation for his entrepreneurial spirit, ability to optimize operations and aligning resources to accelerate growth at HP, according to a press release from Zero.
“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,” Walker said in a statement. “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.”
Karl Wharton, who was formerly CEO, will stay on as chief operating officer.
ZERO Motorcycles' New CEO
The naming of Walker concludes a two-year management selection process, according to the company. The vision is to have “senior executives with motorcycle industry experience along with leaders from other high tech fields to create the ideal blend of background and experience,” according to a statement.
“Richard will contribute great business acumen, superb leadership, deep executive management skills and profound consumer insights to drive Zero Motorcycles forward and further enhance its leadership position in a critically important and fast-growing segment of the motorcycle industry and build a powerful, trusted consumer brand,” said Philippe Amouyal, a board member of Zero and managing director of The Invus Group, LLC, a Zero financial backer.
“Zero Motorcycles is in the enviable position of benefiting from the combined efforts of a very deep executive team that is committed to its success, to the success of its business partners and to the delight of the fast-growing number of consumers enjoying the thrill and unbridled joy of owning and riding a Zero Motorcycle.”
ZERO Recall Troubles
The company has been making news in recent weeks, some good and some bad. Zero recalled multiple 2011 and 2012 motorcycles due to brake lever troubles earlier this month. The bikes included in the recall may suffer from a malfunctioning brake light switch, which may not activate until considerable brake level travel takes places.
On the good news side of the ledger, Zero was inducted into the Made In The U.S.A. Hall of Fame, becoming only the second U.S.-based motorcycle company, in addition to Harley-Davidson, to be so honored.
Zero Motorcycles was founded in 2006 by Neal Saiki, a former NASA engineer. They're known as a leader in the motorcycle sustainability arena.