Better Place Australia’s future is in serious jeopardy after its CEO resigned, amid plans to restrict new investment to Israel and Denmark, Better Place’s main markets.
Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO (and a native of Australia), stepped down just three months into the job. A note released to his staff, obtained by The Australian, said:
“…in recent times, strong and honestly held differences have emerged at the most senior levels of the company about how we best take the company forward…I do not wish to be a barrier to that unity and so will step down and let the company transition to new leadership…”
Prior to the New Year, around a quarter of Better Place Australia’s staff was let ago, along with half of the company’s Israeli staff. Thornley’s resignation apparently comes over differences in strategy; with battery swap stations on the ground in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, Thornley’s hometown of Melbourne was next on the list. But with Better Place’s funding situation on shaky ground, the board decided to shift direction and focus on markets like Israel and Denmark, with significant infrastructure and cars that are compatible with BP’s network of battery swap stations.
Thornley relaced founder Shai Agassi as CEO of Better Place, after a dispute with chairman Idan Ofer led to Agassi’s ouster. Now, investors and observers in Israeli are growing frustrated with the company’s substantial cash burn and management changes. Aside from Better Place’s inherently risky nature as a start-up business, the industry seems to be shifting away from their prior EV enthusiasm, with hydrogen fuel-cells suddenly en vogue yet again.