The founder of electric car startup Fisker Automotive has resigned, citing “major disagreements” with upper management reports Reuters. The news comes at a time when the company has been weighing investment and acquisition offers from Chinese auto tech companies.
Last month Bloomberg reported that Chinese state-owned car maker Dongfeng Motor Corp had a $350 million offer to buy 85 percent of Fisker, while Reuters reported that China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (which owns Volvo) had another offer for a majority stake with a deal between $200 million and $300 million. As 2012 wrapped up, it was clear that Fisker needed a lifeline in the form of partnerships, investments or an acquisition in order to keep operating.
But those offers would represent a major discount from Fisker’s original valuation. The company raised a billion dollars in funding, and at one point back in 2011 had raised money at a reported valuation of $2.2 billion. Fisker appears to be readying itself for a sale, and recently dismissed a lawsuit it had against an insurance company for denying its claim for hundreds of cars that were destroyed by superstorm Sandy. This week Fisker also said that its bankrupt battery supplier A123 Systems owes it considerably more money than the battery company has declared.
Henrik Fisker is a car designer celebrity, who was responsible for designs at BMW like the Aston Martin DB9, Aston Martin V8 Vantage and BMW Z8 Roadster. He co-founded Fisker with Bernard Koehler in 2007 and acted as the CEO for several years. But he hasn’t proven to be all that adept at running a business.
In early 2012, Henrik Fisker stepped down as CEO and and former Chrysler Chief Executive Tom Lasorda took the helm. Back then Henrik Fisker said he would move into the role of executive chairman and would continue to work on the designs of the cars, marketing and outreach. Then just six months later, Lasorda stepped aside and the company brought in another CEO, former Volt executive Tony Posawatz.
Now as the company figures out what will happen to it, the high-profile founder has jumped ship. The story is not all that uncommon. Another electric vehicle company Better Place, saw its founder, Shai Agassi, recently depart, too, following slow sales of its cars.