Speaking exclusively to Autocar, Morgan boss Steve Morris sets out the company's new plan and says he is “keen to move on” from the recent Charles Morgan affair
Steve Cropley Autocar
1 November 2013

Morgan boss Steve Morris admits he is “keen to move on” from the furore that has resulted in the dismissal of Charles Morgan, grandson of the 103-year-old company’s founder.

Speaking exclusively to Autocar this morning he refused “to become publicly involved in the minutiae” of his board’s controversial decision, which is believed to have been made on disciplinary grounds.

When his appeal against dismissal was yesterday refused by the Morgan board, it was suggested that Charles Morgan’s next move might be to take his family company to an industrial tribunal, or to use his existing 30 per cent interest in the company to lead a buyout. Morris won’t speculate on either possibility: “This whole affair has been very difficult,” he says. “The important thing is we have a very successful sports car business with 180 employees.

"I believe it’s in everyone’s interest that we continue to operate it as efficiently as possible. What Charles chooses to do with his share of the company is his own affair.”

Morris says the priority for Morgan Technologies — the holding company since a group structure was introduced about a year ago — is to concentrate on preparing for a global dealer meeting on 25/26 November, at which a five-year plan for the marque will be revealed. However, he has already said “major expansion” is not on the agenda, and that there are no immediate plans for new models, which appears to contradict Charles Morgan’s recent assertions that “modernisation” is what the company needs.

“We don’t need massive growth and we don’t want to overstretch the company,” says Morris. “Selling sports cars as you’re going into winter isn’t easy in the UK and northern Europe, so at times like this we look to our markets further afield, which are doing well. Everything’s healthy here.

"We have the orders we need, and build levels are where we want them.” Might Charles Morgan yet heal his rift with the board and take a role in Morgan’s future? Perhaps at the global dealer gathering? Morris stops short of declaring this impossible. “It’s unlikely,” he says.

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Comments
15

1 November 2013
Hardly a dynamic, exciting statement of a leader of famous brand. No vision...no development...no ambition.!...and no statement of gratitude to Charles and the Morgan family for their stewardship and management for the past 103 years (they must have done something right!). I imagine the workforce and customers are really looking forward to what appears to be a lifeless and stale "Steve Morris "era or error.

1 November 2013
I totally agree with all you say ,Steve Morris seems unaware of the good feelings Charles Morgan has with the existing customers,new customers, race car lovers, the excellent workforce and indeed anything of importance. As you so succinctly say, the Steve Morris era of errors!

1 November 2013
I agree that it is sad that Charles Morgan no longer is the face of Morgan. However, the family members and the family trust are still on the Board and the Company remains family owned. I doubt that either Steve Morris, the management team and the family underestimated the feelings of Morgan owners etc. The writing has been on the wall for Charles Morgan for certainly most of this year and he has apparently chosen to sadly ignore it.

1 November 2013
I too could not agree more even if I tried.... Your comment is exactly as the the situation and Morris'comments suggests! It appears that these parasitic so called board members in the various companies around only exists to benefit from what someone has successfully created, and destroys it from lack of drive and ambition other than greed! You just have to look at successful companies like Virgin, Easy Jet, Microsoft, and Dell to see what board members are capable of destroying...

1 November 2013
another TVR waiting to happen.

1 November 2013
First thing to say is that it's entirely possible that Morgan will continue to flourish without Charles Morgan. I'm certainly not saying that the company is doomed, just that I think it made an ill-judged decision. Anyway, I've been playing out the Morgan accusations in my head and think there's a decent counterargument to each one. 1) Charles Morgan posed as chairman despite being demoted to strategy director in February. - Morgan hasn't had a 'Chairman' since 2006. However, it's had board meetings and those meetings must have been chaired by someone. If CM chaired them, then he WAS the de facto chairman. 2) Charles Morgan supported Oak Racing and the Nissan-engined Morgan 2012 LMP2 car at Le Mans and in the LMP series without approval - Difficult to rebut completely without knowledge of the extent of 'support'. Could have been simply attending Le Mans, or they may mean huge financial support. Either way, the top story on Morgan's website is shouting about its involvement with Oak Racing, so it seems strange that this would be a charge against CM. 3) Charles Morgan announced to a small group of Morgan owners that an improved version of the Morgan 3 Wheeler was to be launched. - I'm not sure, but it strikes me that this charge could relate to a video clip (search 'Charles Morgan forum') where CM does imply, rather than explicitly state, another generation of the M3W in the future. But doesn't every car company executive do the same? It's not like he started taking orders... 4) Charles Morgan took two payments for talks about his time with ITN in Afghanistan and Iran without seeking board approval. - Difficult to rebut if true (and if approval was required as per his contract), but is this really a sackable offence? I'm not sure it is. All-in-all, it just smacks of a vendetta against CM being acted out by the company's management and other family members. I suspect the reason that Steve Morris doesn't want to get into the "minutiae" of the decision is that the board knows it has tarnished Morgan's friendly family image with an air of vindictiveness.

1 November 2013
Have to also agree. No future vision, no new direction. Fact that Steve Morris is only worrying about winter sales says about as much about his ability to run Morgan as anything. Can't see past his own shoelaces! As someone else picked up on too, I would really hate for Morgan to become another TVR. Morgan needs Charles Morgan. Part of what sells Morgan is that Charles Morgan is the grandson of H.F.S. Morgan. It's his larger than life character of a car building company which is still run and owned by the family. Unless there's another family member willing and able to become the front for Morgan then I really do fear for the company.

1 November 2013
Charles Morgan's family should be ashamed of themselves for stabbing THE man in the back

2 November 2013
"I believe it’s in everyone’s interest that we continue to operate it as efficiently as possible. What Charles chooses to do with his share of the company is his own affair.” This statement seems to suggest that Steve Morris and his fellow board members want to ensure Morgan's future by curbing expenditure and being conservative with product development and new models. While Charles Morgan, on the other hand, wanted to 'speculate to accumulate', spending more with the promise of increased sales and bigger revenues. If this is true then somebody had to go, you simply can't run a company with a boardroom so fundamentally split on business strategy, it would put Morgan Cars at risk to do so. I'm sorry it seems to have come to this and I hope it works out for everyone concerned. Morgan Cars need a strong five year plan now, along with a decision from CM on what he plans to do with his shareholding - of course, they probably know this already.

1 November 2013
appear to confirm he is stuck in the middle of a family disagreement, with Charles Morgan being the largest individual shareholder 31%. and is a beneficiary of the (54% I think) held by the Morgan Family Trust, far more than the other directors combined shareholdings. Time will tell, sooner rather than later I expect.

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