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Moshe Kaplinsky (R) and Idan Ofer Photo: Israel Hadari
Moshe Kaplinsky (R) and Idan Ofer Photo: Israel Hadari
 
 

Better Place changing direction

Only month after electric car venture's founder Shai Agassi sent packing, Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinsky announces his resignation

Tomer Hadar, Calcalist
Published: 11.16.12, 09:17 / Israel Business

Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinsky announced his resignation on Wednesday after five years with the company. Better Place International CFO Alan Gelman will replace Kaplinsky temporarily, although he stepped into office only two weeks ago, after serving as CFO at Bezeq's Israeli Telecommunications.

 

Kaplinsky told Calcalist on Wednesday that he would effectively leave the company in two months.

 

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Kaplinsky called it quits just a month after founder Shai Agassi was removed from his position as CEO of the company’s global operations and replaced with Australia CEO Evan Thornley, and two months after the company performed a layoff round, which was approved by Kaplinsky himself.

 

At the time, his planned resignation was attributed to differences of opinion between Kaplinsky and Agassi; however, Kaplinsky told Calcalist that he had no intention of leaving the company and denied there were negotiations to replace him.

 

Since its establishment in 2007 until the second half of 2012, Better Place raised a total of $750 million but lost $474 million.

 

Recently, the company made a bid for another $100 million from its investors, and two weeks ago, Israel Corporation announced that it would give the company a $67 million two-phase cash injection, which exceeds its relative stake in the company.

 

Now it turns out that Kaplinsky is leaving, according to sources with knowledge of the company, due to its lackluster performance and differences of opinion with Israel Corporation owner Idan Ofer.

 

No fallout?

Kaplinsky said in a letter to the company's employees, "I have been weighing my future in the company for a while but felt a managerial and moral obligation to remain in my position until Evan assumed his position and completed his orientation. Now that this has been done, I announced my resignation."

 

Kaplinsky told Calcalist on Wednesday that "there was no fallout between Ofer and myself. I have no intention of going into politics and I still haven't made any concrete plans. The company is in a transition between business models and this is why I am leaving in the middle of the process."

 

Sources knowledgeable of the company say that Shai Agassi's sister, Dafna, the company's VP marketing, is also about to announce her resignation. After Shai Agassi left the company, his younger brother Tal, who was in charge of deploying the company's national infrastructure, handed in his resignation as well.

 

According to Better Place employees, the company is currently undergoing reorganization, in which some of its facilities may be transferred to the Australia arm since it works in close collaboration with car makers such as General Motors and Mitsubishi, which are unlikely to cooperate with Better Place Israel.

 

Lior Gutman and Golan Hazani contributed to this report

 

This report was originally published in Hebrew by Calcalist

 

 

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