Fisker Automotive's Founder Quits


  • Henrik Fisker Picture

    Henrik Fisker Picture

    Henrik Fisker, founder of green-car company Fisker Automotive, has resigned. | March 13, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Struggling Fisker Automotive confirmed on Wednesday that Henrik Fisker, its founder and executive chairman, has resigned.
  • Fisker cited "several major disagreements" with top management on "business strategy" as the reason for his departure, according to Automotive News.
  • "Often the vision of the founder doesn't mesh with what others — investors and management — see as steps necessary to the company's long-term survival," said John O'Dell, Edmunds senior editor, fuel efficiency and green cars.

ANAHEIM, California — Struggling Fisker Automotive confirmed on Wednesday that Henrik Fisker, its founder and executive chairman, has resigned.

Fisker cited "several major disagreements" with top management on "business strategy" as the reason for his departure, according to Automotive News. Fisker is the maker of the 2012 Fisker Karma and had been seeking capital to launch the Fisker Atlantic.

"Fisker Automotive announced today the resignation of its executive chairman, Henrik Fisker," the company said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. "The Company recognizes and thanks Mr. Fisker for his service and many contributions as Fisker Automotive has progressed from start-up to a fully-fledged global automotive company.

"Fisker Automotive is proud to have launched the world's first extended-range luxury electric car, the award-winning Karma sedan. The company has a strong and experienced management team and its strategy has not changed. Mr. Fisker's departure is not expected to impact the company's pursuit of strategic partnerships and financing to support Fisker Automotive's continued progress as a pioneer of low-emission hybrid electric powertrain technology."

Roger Ormisher, a Fisker spokesman, told Edmunds he could not comment beyond the formal statement from the company.

Fisker's resignation comes as the automaker, which is backed by loans from the U.S. Department of Energy, is looking to sell a stake and hook up with one of two Chinese automakers.

"It is not unusual for founders of highly entrepreneurial companies — in and out of the green scene — to be ousted as the companies struggle to make it into the mainstream," said John O'Dell, Edmunds senior editor, fuel efficiency and green cars. "In the green car space Tesla's Martin Eberhard was ousted by Elon Musk, and Coda lost its founding president pretty early on.

"Often the vision of the founder doesn't mesh with what others — investors and management — see as steps necessary to the company's long-term survival."

Fisker's resignation is perhaps more striking than the departures of other green-car company executives, given that the company — which describes itself as "innovative and "eco-driven" — bears his name.

Fisker is a well-respected auto executive and designer who held prominent design positions at Ford and Aston Martin. He penned the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and was responsible for the production launch design of the DB9, variants of which were James Bond's preferred vehicles.

Edmunds says: It will be interesting to watch where Fisker Automotive goes from here.

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