Segway: darling of innovation to industrial millstone?

Updated Segway has been sold to a British businessman, Jimi Heselden. There was a time when you couldn’t shake a remote without having a puff piece on the sassy scooter fall out of the tv. Now, it may be just another strange reminder of a very strange decade.

Jimi or Jimmy Heselden owns a company called Hesco Bastion, and is known to be a philanthropist. He was brought up in a very rough area of Leeds, England and doesn’t blow his own trumpet.

A mainstream newspaper,  the New Hampshire Union Leader, claimed that Segway had announced the deal on its web site yesterday. There are no plans to move the company from New Hampshire to the UK.  A representative said that Heselden bought a share in the company, a “bit like Victor Kiam”. The story is here.

Heselden was an investor in a Segway UK distributor. The strange thing about Segways in the UK is that the machines are not allowed on public roads or sidewalks, although in San Francisco you can see them scooting around everywhere, up hill and down dale, whatever a dale is.

They are used in big industrial complexes in the UK, however.

The Union Leader said  that CEO James Norrod has left Segway and has been replaced by someone called Tricia Laidler. It estimates Heselden is worth $320 million. 

A source close to Segway’s plans said: “Heselden just blew a s***load of money probably. Don’t know how long they can keep going. Can’t see them moving production to Europe. But some other low wage country would be good.  Their repair policy is just to replace components and that was killing them in the past. They need to manufacture  the components at a cheaper price.”

A representative from Segway replied to a request for more information. He pointed to this blog.