Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place, which provides electric-car services to customers in Israel, is no longer CEO of the company, the firm has confirmed.

In an official statement posted earlier today, the company said that Agassi has been replaced by Evan Thornley, previously CEO of Better Place Australia. 

Agassi will retain his position as a member of the Better Place board of directors, the company said, and will also continue to own his shares in Better Place. 

The firm’s official statement remains impartial and professional, but many headlines--including those from Israeli news sites--cast doubt on the reasons for Agassi’s departure. 

The Times Of Israel claims that “Better Place removed its founder from the company’s top job on Tuesday, as the firm struggles to gain a foothold in the automobile market,” citing financial problems

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post reports that “Better Place dismissed Shai Agassi as chief executive officer.”

Better Place Battery Swap Station

Better Place Battery Swap Station

As Globes reports, Better Place has lost a total of $490 million since it was founded.

One company, the Israel Corporation, owns 32 percent of the company, bearing some $160 million of those losses.

“Under Shai’s leadership, we’ve successfully achieved our goals in the first chapter of Better Place," said Idan Ofer, Chairman of the Better Place Board of Directors.

"We owe Shai our gratitude for turning his powerful vision into a reality."

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


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