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Battery maker EnerDel loses CEO, names interim

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EnerDel Inc. CEO David Roberts has resigned and chief operating officer Michael Canada will replace him on an interim basis, the Indianapolis lithium-ion battery manufacturer announced Thursday afternoon.

Roberts steps down after taking the post in June 2012 in the wake of the company’s Chapter 11 restructuring.

He took the helm as the company changed its strategy amid sluggish demand for the electric cars its batteries were developed to power.

The company, which received a large federal incentive in 2009 to ramp up production, began struggling after the bankruptcy of its primary customer, Think Global, went bankrupt in 2011.

EnerDel’s parent, publicly traded Ener1, followed in suit and filed for Chapter 11. A Russian investor acquired the company in 2012 and took it private.

Roberts began as CEO soon after EnerDel emerged from bankruptcy protection.

He quickly turned the company’s focus toward marketing its products as storage devices for power grids. But EnerDel continued to struggle securing contracts, resulting in layoffs.

“It has been my honor to lead EnerDel over the past two years as the company stabilized and built a sustainable business model in the fickle space of lithium-ion batteries,” he said in a prepared statement.

“I believe that EnerDel is now positioned for an exciting growth stage as the market recognizes the value of implementing energy storage strategies today.  There is still work to be done in the industry, and I think that Mike [Canada] will do a great job solidifying EnerDel’s spot as a market leader.”

Roberts will "continue to support" company during its leadership transition, EnerDel said.

Canada, his replacement, has been with the company since January. He was previously a vice president and general manager for Altairnano, another lithium-ion battery maker. He also worked for DaimlerChrysler, Goodrich Aerospace, Harman/Becker Automotive Systems and Praxair.

“The company is at the right spot strategically to capitalize on the growing understanding of how lithium-ion energy storage can facilitate our broader goals of energy security and independence, as well as the sustainable impact of integrating renewables on our grid,” Canada said in a prepared statement. “Our focus will be on delivering beyond our current customers’ expectations and cultivating new customers based on our historic success.”

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  • Roberts sees the writing on the wall
    Roberts is getting out of the battery business and leaving Canada (the 7th CEO since 2004) to hold the bag when it finally folds. He knows exactly what is going to go down in the next few months. Obama and his administration are about to slap sanctions on Russia for it's involvement in the Ukraine which would involve Boris Zingaravich who owns Enerdel. All of the Grid energy projects went to St. Petersburg and Sochi. None in the U.S.

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