Not surprisingly, it was largely about money.
In this case, according to anonymous sources divulging internal communications at Fisker Automotive, things came to a head between Henrik Fisker and CEO Tony Posawatz over whether federal funds should be relied upon.
Contrary to other speculation, the founder of his namesake company did not walk out because Chinese bidders – now since out of the picture – were looking to take a controlling stake.
Agreed upon by all is Fisker needs cash now.
The sources told Reuters that Posawatz sought a way to restore $336 million in lost U.S. Energy Department loans that were frozen in February 2012.
Henrik Fisker, sources say, opposed this and sought a smaller operating budget funded by what revenues the company could make and other funding sources than the federal government.
To date, Fisker Automotive has raised in excess of $1.2 billion in private funding. Its Energy Department loans had withdrawn about $193 million of the originally promised $529 million in taxpayer dollars.
Undoubtedly there is more to this story, but in short, it was said Posawatz wanted to turn back on the public funding to add to the amount Fisker could spend, as it seeks to finalize and launch its Atlantic and restore confidence in the company.
Their disagreement saw them separated in their perspective on what’s best for Fisker Automotive to the tune of “hundreds of millions” one source told Reuters.
Fisker Automotive has declined to comment on this story.
Last Friday, Henrik Fisker also gave a phone interview to the Detroit News, in which he kept it positive without divulging more than he had disagreements with current management.
The company has had a string of setbacks, and Henrik Fisker said he is proud of the company’s achievements, mentioning its Karma has been sold on four continents.
“It’s probably the most difficult decision I’ve ever made, but you know it was a decision that was necessary as I had major disagreements with the current executive management,” he said, “It would be wrong to stay.”
After he turned in his company Karma last Wednesday, he went to a dealership in Santa Monica and paid full price for an approximately $102,000 blue Karma.
“I don’t get a free car because I walked away,” Fisker said. “I wanted to support my local dealer.”
Henrik Fisker also commented on the politicized cloud surrounding his former company, how it had been likened to failed solar panel maker, Solyndra LLC.
“What happened after Solyndra obviously has shifted unfortunately the discussions — rather than talking about … that everybody wants America to be the leader in new technology, it shifted to being more political focused,” Fisker said. “That’s a situation everyone’s going to have to deal with.”
Whether Henrik Fisker goes to work for another automaker, or what he will do next, he said it is still “too early” to say.