• Jul 17th 2010 at 9:25AM
  • 23
Amidst recent rumors, Ducati has officially announced that its CEO of North American operations, Michael Lock, will step down at the end of July to pursue other opportunities.

Since Lock took the reins in North America in late 2003, Ducati has bridged the gap from something of a novelty brand to what is perhaps the most feared and admired European motorcycle brand. Ducati owners may still crave an exclusive, somewhat eccentric image, but the brand has become very mainstream in the U.S. and Canada, competing at the top of several segments and boasting a robust dealer network. With waiting lists for new models and a full apparel collection to further pad the bottom line, we don't see the momentum slowing much in years to come. In the interim, Ducati N.A. will be run by VP of Sales for Ducati Holdings, Christiano Silei. As far as a long-term plan, expect to see a new CEO appointed soon.

And what of Michael Lock? Why would the successful executive leave when he's at the top of his game? Well, we suspect "other opportunities" to involve plenty of cash and a new challenge for the former Ducati captain. Who knows, maybe Triumph hired him back? Hit the break to view the official press release.

[Source: Ducati]
Show full PR text

Cupertino, Calif. (16 July 2010) – Ducati Motor Holding announces today that Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America, is leaving the company at the end of July.

Michael joined Ducati in 2002 in the UK, and in early 2003 moved to the USA to head up the management team at Ducati North America's headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Over the next seven years Lock's team made many changes to Ducati's organization, distribution, marketing and service operations.

Lock's hard work culminated in Ducati achieving its highest ever US market share in 2009, increasing Canadian sales four-fold between 2003-2009, and taking over responsibility for the brand in Mexico earlier this year. As well as setting sales records, Lock transformed DNA's communication strategies and delivered numerous highlights including the Monster Challenges, high profile retail promotions with brands such as Oakley and Puma, and the successful conquering of Pikes Peak with the Multistrada 1200 just this past June.

"I have experienced and participated in an amazing journey at Ducati. In a few short years we have been able to transform our brand into the most feared and admired European motorcycle by competitors and enthusiasts alike. It has been a privilege to be involved and I look forward to watching the brand soar to new heights over the coming years." Said Lock from his office Cupertino, CA.

"Michael has been the driving force behind the great success Ducati has enjoyed in North America this past seven years. His ambition, passion and his unwavering determination has established our beloved brand as the object of desire for any motorcyclist. He has nurtured the brand, developed the dealer network and put together an outstanding team in the US, Canada and Mexico alike." Said Cristiano Silei; Vice President Sales at Ducati Motor Holding in Bologna, Italy.

While Lock moves on to pursue other opportunities, Ducati North America is looking to finish a challenging year strongly. The much-admired Multistrada 1200 has been winning awards, while the recent arrival of the Monster 796 to dealer showrooms has spurred sales even further.

Cristiano Silei will assume the position of CEO of DNA for the interim while retaining his current position as Vice President of Sales at Ducati Motor Holding.

"North America is the most important international market for Ducati and the one I personally know the best. I am excited to be supporting DNA's Senior Managers to set and implement policy for the new season. Our goals are to support our dealer network and keep improving our market share thanks to an ever expanding product line-up, innovative branding and sound commercial policies".

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Poe - if Ducati's had wet clutches and weren't desmo's, well ... They wouldn't be Ducati's. Those are the attributes that give it character. They aren't for everyone and not all m/c enthusiasts appreciate them but they must be doing something right as the Japs are losing market share (and races) to these beautiful and sexy pieces of Italian rolling art. You don't know what your missing my friend.
      "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And be one traveler long I stood ..."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have had a similar experience with air and water cooled Ducs. The service was generally no worse than the Yamahas, Suzukis, and Hondas I have owned. The only thing that annoyed me were parts that had to be sourced from Italy, but I am sure that has improved in the last decade. What I loved most about my Ducs was the handling and effortless speed with the intake and exhaust soundtrack that played while the blurred scenery went by. That is what sells Ducatis.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where do I send my resume?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Silly rabbit, resumes is for commoners not ceo's

      • 5 Years Ago
      Desmos are the Ducati trademark, along with dry clutches. I own one and have done the valves on it and agree totally that it's tedious and annoying but nothing sounds and rides like a Duc. May not be high tech but I have found mine to be very simple, reliable, satisfying, and unique. Expensive? Not really. About the same as any other bike out there. Valve springs and wet clutches aren't what the people who buy Ducatis want.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The whole point of a ducati is to be different, so suddenly changing to wet clutches... which they have a few models of already, and dropping the desmo would lose half the appeal for some people.

      I know people that love the clattering of the plates when they are at the lights. I don't as it makes your bike sound like a mess and only the people that know about bikes know dukes are meant to do it... everyone else thinks you've got something wrong going on.

      Drop the desmo and the dry clutch and you have what... a better looking Aprilia?

      haha not likely.

      I still yearn for an 848 though but insurance is through the roof :( My daytona will do me for now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ducati makes some very sexy and interesting bikes, but I won't consider buying one until they switch to wet clutches and ditch that ridiculous desmodromic valvetrain. It may have made sense over 50 years ago when Ducati started using it, but today's valve springs can easily and reliably handle MUCH higher RPMs than Ducati's v-twin engines are even capable of without breaking or allowing the valves to float, so there's utterly no reason for them to stick with it. Yamaha has no problems with valve float or valve spring breakage at over 16,000 RPMs in its R6 - and Ducati's highest-performance production bike redlines at just 10,500 RPM. It just overly complicates the engine and makes valve adjustments complex and annoying (and/or expensive).
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ one2gamble

        Apparently reading comprehension is not your strong suit. You COMPLETELY missed my point. I didn't say or imply that Ducati engines should be able to rev higher, I said that there was no point in them using complex, difficult/expensive to maintain desmodronic valve actuation when simple conventional valve springs work just as well well at significantly higher RPMs than their engines reach. Here, let me help you... that means they will work very well in Ducati engines that only rev to 10,500 RPM's - while being cheaper to build and easier/cheaper to maintain. The main thing people complain about with Ducatis is the short valve check/adjustment intervals and how difficult/expensive they are to do because of the desmodronic valve system. Switching to a conventional system would eliminate those complaints and make the bikes more appealing to a wider group of people.

        ...and for the record, I LOVE American V8's. Even the ones with pushrods instead of OHC. I've owned several of them.

        So... FAIL x 2.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Interesting points about valve size which I hadn't considered before. Nevertheless, Suzuki doesn't use desmo in it's 650 or 1000 twins, even in the TL1000, and neither did Honda in the RC51. Just sayin' it's not necessary and benefits are dubious. But I guess it's part of what makes a Ducati a Ducati, right or wrong.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry for the confusion. I wasn't comparing I4's to twins. The only reason I mentioned the I4 at all was simply as an example of how modern valve springs can handle extremely high RPMs without breaking or allowing the valves to float. Given that, Ducati really has no valid reason to keep using the complex, expensive and maintenance-intensive desmodromic valve system in their relatively low-revving engines. That's all.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Valves in a V twin of similar displacement to a four tend to be bigger and heavier putting more strain on valve springs. I guarantee a valve in an R1 weighs less than a 1098 valve. But I do see your point for street use, however, no one doubts that the desmo makes more power than anyone in MotoGp in both the 990cc and 800cc rules.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry. Wish I could delete. If you're just talking about the capabilities of valvesprings, then it's allowable. The connotation of that is what's throwing the readers.

        It's still an apples to oranges comparison though. Twins make more torque and have higher displacement and more pressure per cylinder. This puts more stress on the valvetrain.

        I'm not saying you're wrong, just that a better comparison would be required to make your point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        why does it need to rev higher?

        You sound like those vtech stickered honda driving posers who talk crap about an american v8 because it "only revs to 6000".

        I dont disagree that Ducati has held onto somethings a bit longer than they should but really, your complaints listed arent really complaints that lead to anything wrong with the bike.
        • 5 Years Ago
        cdwrx, I went back and skimmed over a tech article regarding the MotoGp desmo engines and also noted that the overall friction losses on the desmo valvetrain are significantly less than pneumatic or metal valve springs. I suppose this is because the valvetrain does not have to work against a spring designed to close the valve. This is the main explanation for the higher power and better fuel consumption of the Desmo, at least in MotoGP form. I also suppose you could get very radical with your cam profiles since valve spring limitations are not a consideration.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmmmm,... helps to grow sales for an Italian sportsbike brand in difficult times? Could this guy lead Alfa Romeo re-entry into the U.S. market?
        • 5 Years Ago
        BTW... That's not a serious suggestion, but a "Why not?..."
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, if Fiat gets off their lazy rears Alfa could easily be in the US in the next year or so. Sometimes their pace of actually doing something (rather than words) seems like they are waiting for GM to give them a few more billions just to stay away.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i will do it for free.
      If i can have a Desmosedici RR.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am available! Finishing school in august so contact me Ducati
        • 5 Years Ago
        ROFLLL yeah they will put everyone on hold when they read this post and make sure they contact you instead of you contacting them :)

      • 5 Years Ago
      That's a row of pretty bikes. Don't really agree that Ducats were novelties before, but the company has stabilized its finances in the last decade, and improved the quality as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think that because they probably build the best V-Twin in the world has a lot to do with it too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Or L-Twin if you want to get REALLY technical
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