Better Place replaces CEO Agassi
Shai Agassi set up Better Place with the aim of using new technology to make electric cars more affordable and more convenient than gasoline-powered cars.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Electric car technology provider Better Place said it has replaced chief executive officer Shai Agassi with the CEO of its Australia unit, five years after Agassi founded the company.
Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place Australia, will succeed Agassi, who will remain a board member, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Israeli financial media said Agassi was "ousted" because Better Place has lost nearly $500 million since it was founded. In the first half of 2012, Better Place saw its loss widen to $132 million from $74 million a year earlier.
Better Place Chairman Idan Ofer said in the statement: "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."
Evan Thornley joined Better Place in 2009.
Better Place, which works closely with Renault, operates networks of stations where drivers can stop to exchange depleted batteries for new ones, or charge existing batteries, helping increase the cars' range and speeding their mass adoption.
The company has started to set up its networks in Israel, Denmark and Australia, although there are limited numbers of electric cars on the roads so far.
Thornley joined Better Place in 2009 and created EV Engineering, a venture between global automotive leaders, to develop and create switchable-battery electric car technology.
Better Place Chairman Ofer said in the statment that Thornley "has built an impressive track record" in his four years as CEO of Better Place in Australia.
"Evan brings the right combination of entrepreneurship and coalition and team building to take Better Place to the next level," he added.
The U.S.-based firm has 20 battery-swap shops in Denmark and 40 in Israel. Last month, Agassi was in the Netherlands for the opening of the country's first pilot switch station, which will be used on Renault Fluence taxis. He told Automotive News Europe that Better Places plans to have between 35 and 40 swap stations built in the Netherlands, for which a total investment of about 80 million euros may be needed.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this storyContact Automotive News