Brompton Founder Steps Down From the Board
LONDON, UK – Following disagreements with Brompton management, founder and inventor of the extremely popular folding bike Andrew Ritchie has stepped down from the board.
Brompton, headed by chief executive Will Butler-Adams, earlier this year secured investment from serial entrepreneur and private equity boss Luke Johnson. Brompton has recently opened a new 84,000 square foot factory in West London and has plans to expand into China and launch an electric assist Brompton.
It also aims to double bike production to 100,000 a year by 2020. Profits dipped 37 per cent last year to GBP 2.1 million (2.45 million euro), according to its latest set of accounts, partly, it seems, as a result of the major new factory investment.
Unhappy with certain aspects
“Brompton is Andrew’s baby, but he’s been unhappy with certain aspects of how the company is developing. Things had started to upset him so he decided to step down from the board,” a source told the Press Association.
The exact reason for Ritchie’s departure from the board is unclear but possible reasons suggested are that he disagrees with the aggressive plans to expand the business or the role played by Johnson, who has gained a reputation for building firms such as Pizza Express and Patisserie Valerie. Johnson invested in the firm in return for a minority stake and a seat on the board as a non-executive director.
Ritchie, 69, remains the firm’s biggest shareholder with around 18 per cent of the shares.
North American market
Current Brompton management will be pleased with the state of the North American market, having just reduced prices there with immediate effect on both its bikes and accessories. Brompton cited efficiency improvements at their new factory and the strength of the U.S. dollar.
The price for a 2017 ‘base’ model has been reduced from USD 1,250 (1,175) to USD 1,199 (1,127 euro) whilst their most popular configuration the M6L (6-speed) now has a retail price of USD 1,499 (1,409 euro), down from USD 1,691 (1,589 euro).