Better Place Replaces Israeli CEO Shai Agassi

Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has been ousted as CEO of the company he founded. Agassi will now serve as director.

Maayana Miskin ,

Shai Agassi
Shai Agassi
Flash 90

Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has been removed from his position as CEO of Better Place, the electric car company he founded five years ago. The board of directors elected to replace Agassi with Evan Thornley, currently the CEO of the company’s Australian branch.

Agassi will continue at Better Place, but will now serve as the director.

“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 chairman Idan Ofer, who was quoted by Forbes.

“It is almost five years to the day since Shai launched Better Place, “ he continued, “and a natural point in the company’s evolution to realign for its second chapter and face the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The company has been posting losses since early 2010. It has built battery charging stations in Israel but has yet to make significant inroads in the market despite government support and tax breaks for those who purchase an electric car. Better Place has lost a total of $490 million since its founding, including $64 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Ofer told Forbes that he expects the company to begin turning a profit in two to three years. “The faster we scale up and refine the model, the faster we’ll be making money,” he said.

Better Place has built battery charging stations in Denmark as well, and the company has contracts to build in the United States and Australia. “I want to be all over Europe,” Ofer declared.

It is not yet clear whether Better Place will keep its global headquarters in Israel.