Better Place Inc. today announced that its COO and Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinksy is leaving the electric car venture. His departure comes less than a month after the ouster of Better Place CEO Shai Agassi and his replacement by Better Place Australia CEO Evan Thornley.
Kaplinsky is being replaced by former Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Co. Ltd. (TASE: BEZQ) CFO Alan Gelman who will also serve as global CFO.
Kaplinsky's departure is a major shock for Better Place, and is liable to further hinder its attempts to get back on track. Kaplinsky's relations with Agassi were tense in recent months, and Agassi's ouster was interpreted as a victory by Kaplinsky. In retrospect, Kaplinsky's position was also not the one favored by Better Place chairman Idan Ofer, who controls the company through Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO).
Rumors have circulated in recent weeks that Kaplinsky intends entering the political fray and that he has been offered a realistic place on the lists of several parties.
Even if this is the reason for his resignation, Kaplinsky's departure is still a major shock for the company, which makes Better Place's restructuring all the more difficult. Many expect Kaplinsky's departure to spark another round of layoffs as the company focuses more heavily on marketing and sales. Others say that Better Place's business focus will be increasingly on developed countries outside of Israel.
Kaplinsky said, "“Five years ago, Idan Ofer introduced me to Shai Agassi whose vision for oil independence inspired me to take a bold step and join a young and ambitious start up called ‘Better Place.Today, I’m incredibly proud of my team and the work we did in bringing to life the world’s first network for electric cars, a key step to breaking our dependence on oil. It’s now time for a new generation of leaders to move Better Place forward, and it’s time for me to move on and find another mission as challenging as Better Place has been.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 14, 2012
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