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EnerDel parent shakes up management ranks

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Battery maker Ener1 Inc., which has almost 400 employees in the Indianapolis area, has fired its chief executive to improve the flagging company’s performance.

Ener1 replaced CEO Charles Gassenheimer this week with Chris Cowger, who was the New York-based company’s president, according to a public filing. Gassenheimer is also required to resign as chairman.

Ivy Tech President Thomas J. Snyder, a board member of Ener1, also was appointed to take the role of non-executive chairman of the board.

Ener1’s stock has plunged 95 percent this year and the company has been struggling to survive. In August, Ener1 said it was “determining whether the company has sufficient liquidity to fund its operations.” It’s also restating its financial results for 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, and has not filed its second-quarter report.

Cowger, a former vice president at computer processor-maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc., will “enhance the company’s ability to execute its business and financial plans in the current economic environment,” Ener1 said in the filing.

"We are fortunate to have hired Chris Cowger earlier this year," said Snyder in a prepared statement. "He's done an excellent job re-focusing Ener1 on the needs of its current and potential customers."

Ener1’s Indiana-based battery-manufacturing subsidiary EnerDel Inc. received an $118.5 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department in 2009 to help the company expand its production capacity. In January, Vice President Joe Biden visited an Ener1 factory in Indianapolis to promote companies building green vehicles.

Company shares were priced at $4.17 when Biden visited the plant on Jan. 26. The shares closed at 15 cents each Wednesday. Ener1 has a market value of $32 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Brian Sinderson, a company spokesman, declined to comment on the management changes or the company’s financial situation in an e-mailed message.

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

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  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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