Britishvolt gigafactory CEO steps down

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The chief executive of UK battery gigafactory firm Britishvolt has stepped down unexpectedly.

Orral Nadjari, who founded the firm with Lars Carlstrom, is to step down, with Dr Graham Hoare OBE appointed as Acting CEO. Hoare is currently Britishvolt’s Deputy CEO and President of Global Operations, and is also Chair of the UK Automotive Council.

This follows confirmation of UK Government support from its Advanced Propulsion Centre Automotive Transformation Fund to boost the development of the gigafactory in Blythe, Northumberland. There is no comment on the search for a new CEO.

The company is developing technology with the UK Battery Innovation Centre (UKBIC) in the West Midlands and  first cell samples will be sent to customers this summer.

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“I am extremely proud of what Britishvolt has achieved since the business was founded in 2019, exceeding all expectations and bringing my vision to life,” said Nadjari. “My vision was only possible because of all of the foresight of UK Government in creating a world-class battery cell ecosystem. In less than three years, we have created an enduring and sustainable organisation and remain focused to hit our mid-decade strategy of Phase One production at our UK Gigaplant.”

“Although it was a difficult decision for me to step away from the operational management of the company, now is the right time for me to pass the reins, after laying the foundations, to our hugely talented, world-leading team, who will drive the business forwards as it enters the execution phase. They have my complete trust to take Britishvolt to the next level.”

“On behalf of the Britishvolt board of directors, I want to thank Orral for his contribution to the company as our founder and CEO. His vision and leadership have been instrumental in ensuring that Britishvolt has reached the point today where we can look with great confidence to a highly successful future,” said Peter Rolton, Executive Chairman, Britishvolt

“I express my thanks to Orral for his leadership during the embryonic stages of this amazing company. Orral provided powerful insights, and a tenacious approach, that ensured the early ideas for the company were brought to fruition. I thank him for his huge commitment, energy and contributions. I’m honoured to take the company forward, in the next chapter of our growth and industrialisation,” said Hoare.

Britishvolt acquired German battery cell developer and manufacturer, EAS, in May 2022, that will allow it to develop and scale up its larger 46xx high-performance cell formats and get them to customers quicker and more efficiently. The deal is subject to completion and any regulatory approvals.

The company has a deal with Posco Chemical for supply of anode and cathode active materials as well as BTR for graphite anode materials. It also has a deal with Manz to supply equipment for the gigafactory.

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