One of the most remarkable careers in motorcycling will end this December when Tue Mantoni (pictured) returns to his native Denmark, eight years after he came to Triumph as a 28-year-old consultant, then quickly advanced to Sales and Marketing Director and then CEO. Mantoni will be replaced by Nick Bloor, the son of Triumph’s owner.
Mantoni joined Triumph as part of a consultancy team brought in to kick start the brand after the fire that ruined the Triumph factory in 2002. Mantoni had no motorcycling background whatsoever and didn't give himself an easy start when the first thing he did was tell John Bloor that the projects Triumph had invested millions in and worked on for years weren’t right for the company.
"It was a time for soul-searching when I came to Triumph", Mantoni told The Independent. "Sometimes you need that extra shock to say, 'OK, what do we want to do?'. We took the opportunity to carve out a niche for ourselves, to be really different from the Japanese."
Mantoni credits this as his most important contribution to Triumph in an interview with Jyskebank.dk, "When I came to Triumph we were really good at trying to be the best at everything. What I've brought in was how we could also try to be unique. That means you'll have to choose what NOT to do, and that makes it more difficult for anyone to copy our strategy. If someone would want to copy our strategy, they would have to also copy what we're not doing, and that might not go down well with some of their existing customers."
The strategy has paid off, under Mantoni's guidance, Triumph’s turnover has more than doubled and the company is making money again, but Mantoni warns that might not always be the case. "We learned from the 1970s that complacency leads to death," he told Jyskebank.dk. "We are a success now, but the Japanese manufacturers are always there, and the Chinese will come."
Since joining Triumph, the Dane has also found time to get a motorcycle licence,and he's made riding part of the job.
"I own a Street Triple, simply because I think it's a fantastic motorcycle,” he told Jyskebank. “One of the greatest advantages I have is that I know the product. I think it's important that someone in my position knows our products, so I always ride our new bikes before they enter the market.”
We know very little of Nick Bloor other than what’s stated in Triumph’s communication to its dealers, published below for the first time.