Idan Ofer justifies firing Shai Agassi

The Better Place chairman told China's "Southern Weekly": Building and operating a company are different things, which require different skills.

"Shai Agassi is a smart man, and I like him and his idea. But building and operating a company are different things, which require different skills," Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) controlling shareholder Idan Ofer told China's "Southern Weekly", in his first public comments since firing Better Place's founder and CEO. "It is ordinary for a founder to leave management in Israel, and Shai Agassi still owns 10% of Better Place," Ofer, who serves as chairman of the electric car company, added.

Asked if he has his own business philosophy, like Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) founder Steve Jobs ("Think differently") or Intel Inc. (Nasdaq: INTC) founder Andrew Grove ("Only the paranoid survive"), Ofer said, "I'm a great admirer of Jobs. What I admire the most was his honesty, integrity, attitude toward serious people, and fair business dealings. I'm honest, and always hope that others will be as honest as I am. But I've always discovered that other people are different from me, and I am sometimes bitterly disappointed. I also never give up, and almost never buy or sell companies. I prefer to constantly expand."

Asked if doing business in China was easier or more difficult than in other countries, because of China's regime, Ofer said, "Mayors and party secretaries all want to do something, no matter how small their districts are, because they know that bringing in business will foster their careers. Local authorities do what Beijing says, whereas in India, local authorities can frustrate a project approved by New Delhi. My friends who are officials in China are always happy to present me to other people. This is the system of guangxi or "relationships". They of course take into account that I am not an unknown man."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 24, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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