Shai Agassi is the founder and chief executive of Better Place, a company focused on one of this century’s biggest challenges – building a scalable and sustainable personal transportation system that ends oil dependence. He works directly with government leaders, auto manufacturers, energy companies and others to make his vision of zero-emission electric vehicles powered by renewable energy a reality in countries around the world.
This vision was inspired by a profound question posed at the World Economic Forum in 2005, “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?” With a passion for tackling large-scale challenges, Agassi sought to answer this question by creating a pragmatic plan to free cars from oil, reduce harmful emissions, and usher in an era of sustainable mobility.
Agassi founded Better Place and, in 2007, officially launched the company. In 2008, Israel became the first country—and Renault-Nissan the first carmaker—to embrace the Better Place model of building an open network to enable mass adoption of electric vehicles and delivering transportation as a sustainable service. Soon thereafter, Denmark followed suit. Today, Agassi and Better Place are in discussions with more than 25 countries, major auto manufacturers and other potential partners around the globe.
Recognizing Agassi’s visionary leadership with the Better Place model, TIME Magazine recently named him one of its “Heroes of the Environment 2008.”
Before founding Better Place, Agassi was president of the Products and Technology Group at SAP AG and a member of the software company’s executive board. He was responsible for the global development of the SAP product line and portfolio of industry-specific solutions.
Agassi remains an active member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, where he focuses on climate change and transportation issues. He is also a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council and serves on the advisory board of the Corporate ECOForum. In addition, he pens a blog titled “The Long Tailpipe,” where he discusses alternative energy and other issues.
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