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CARNORAMA»News»Better Place board expels Shai Agassi as CEO
Shai Agassi

Better Place board expels Shai Agassi as CEO

Agassi will be replaced by Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia, but will retain his seat on the board

The board of electric car venture Better Place has removed founder Shai Agassi as CEO of the global company. He will be replaced by Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia, who has been appointed CEO of the global company.

Agassi will continue as a board member and shareholder in the company he founded. Better Place has accumulated a loss of $490 million since it was founded. Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO), which owns 32% of the venture, bears a loss of some $160 million. At the end of the second quarter, Better Place had $73 million cash, and it subsequently obtained a €40 million credit line from the European Investment Bank.

“I too would be glad to know when we will start making a profit from Better Place,” said Israel Corp. president and Nir Gilad in late August. Israel Corp.’s share price rose by more than 5% just before the announcement of Agassi’s removal; the rise has moderated since.

“Under Shai’s leadership, we’ve successfully achieved our goals in the first chapter of Better Place, and we owe Shai our gratitude for turning his powerful vision into a reality,” said Idan Ofer, chairman of Better Place. “It is almost five years to the day since Shai launched Better Place and a natural point in the company’s evolution to realign for its second chapter and for the challenges and opportunities ahead. Our board has long prepared to ensure that Better Place has a strong bench of talented executives in place to support the CEO and a clear succession plan to ensure a smooth leadership transition and we are fortunate to have such a strong leadership team within Better Place.”

Agassi circulated a letter to Better Place employees, in which he wrote, “This month, five years ago, we announced in New York the formation of Better Place. At the time, we were viewed as an audacious plan that was mocked by most people in the industry. Today we are no longer a plan, but a reality – one that drives millions of miles on the roads of two countries.

Better Place was founded by Agassi in 2007, with the aid of venture capital funding of $200 million. Under the company’s business model, customers lease the batteries in its electric cars, and can swap them at battery changing stations, thus extending the range of the cars between charges.

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