Electric carmaker Better Place ousts Agassi as CEO

Evan Thornley, CEO of the company's Australian branch replaces founder Agassi, who stays on as board member, shareholder.

October 2, 2012 15:23
1 minute read.
THE FLUENCE ZE (Zero Emission)

THE FLUENCE ZE (Zero Emission) 390. (photo credit: Nadav Shemer)


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Israeli company Better Place dismissed Shai Agassi as chief executive officer Tuesday, replacing him with Evan Thornley, CEO of its Australian branch.

Agassi, who founded the company in 2007, will continue to serve as a board member and shareholder. The reason for his dismissal was not made public.

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Better Place unveiled its electric car network in Israel and Denmark earlier this year, opening dozens of battery switch stations in both countries to support the commercial launch of Renault’s Fluence Zero Emission electric vehicles. Only about 1,000 cars have been sold so far, considerably below the company’s expectations.

The electric car company has raised around $800 million in funds since its establishment, but incurred $490 million in losses.

“Five years ago, I followed my passion to make the world a better place and founded a company to materialize that vision,” Agassi said in a press statement released by Better Place.

“Very few people are blessed to see such a grand vision become a proven reality within a relatively short time frame. I am proud of the Better Place people and the team that I am leaving behind who will take this company to the next chapter.”

Thornley was appointed CEO of Better Place Australia in January 2009. He came to the company following a successful career as an entrepreneur and a politician, serving as a member of parliament and as parliamentary secretary to the premier of the Australian state of Victoria.

“Four years ago, Shai asked me to join the Better Place mission and bring it to Australia. It has been my pleasure to lead the effort along with my colleague CEOs in Israel, Denmark and now the Netherlands,” Thornley said.

“Today, it is an honor for me to step up and lead this fantastic global team on a day-to-day basis.”

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