Globes in Israel reported that sources said that Thornley left over differences with Chairman Idan Ofer over Better Place’s future, especially over plans to reduce activity in global markets and focus on its core markets of Israel and Denmark.
Thornley’s first job, the Globes report noted, was to develop a recovery plan for Better Place’s Israeli operations—a condition for further financing. Thornley presented the plan to the board of Israel Corporation, Better Place’s controlling shareholder, in December. The plan reportedly included sharp spending cuts, extensive layoffs, an expansion of activity in other countries, offering battery recharging services to other electric carmakers, and offering a new and cheaper plan to leasing companies.
Idan Ofer, Chairman of the Board of Better Place, will now assume the role of Executive Chairman and manage external relationships and alliances for Better Place, while Alan Gelman, Global CFO for Better Place, will manage day-to-day operations.
In a statement on the change, the company noted that under Thornley, the company was able to raise the capital it needed to sustain continued operations, and underwent a significant restructuring. The Better Place Board now wishes him “the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
Globes quoted Ayalon Group chief strategist Yaniv Pagot as saying, regarding Thornley’s departure: “The investment in Better Place is beginning to look more like an investment in a rollercoaster than an investment in an infrastructure for electric cars. If the company’s new CEO is on his way out, we’re talking about a managerial pile-up.”
Better Place is a developer and proponent of a battery switch model for EVs. The company owns and operates a network of battery switch stations and public/personal charge spots, along with the supply of batteries that power the cars.