Entertainment

Electrify America taps new CEO as current chief becomes EA chairman and VW Group exec

EV fast charging network Electrify America has kicked off the week with a personnel shakeup, announcing current president and CEO Giovani Palazzo will shift into a position as chairman of the board to make room for long-time Electrify America leader, Rob Barrosa. With his new role as chairman, Palazzo will also join Volkswagen Group as its senior vice president of charging and energy.

The changes continue for one of the US’ largest fast charging networks in 2023 with news of this leadership change. Last week we shared that Electrify America will be raising its charging prices for all customers beginning next month.

This news came less than a week after TravelCenters announced the deployment of over 1,000 EA fast chargers across 200 of its roadside locations. Electrify America’s current president and CEO Giovani Palazzo joined in 2018 and was a part of the network’s first rollout of EV charging stations, helping grow EA to over 800 stations home to 3,500 chargers in his five year tenure.

Before he was Electrify America’s CEO, Palazzo was the head of electric mobility at Volkswagen Group. Today, EA announced that Palazzo will move to a position as chairman so he can rejoin VW Group as an executive, vacating his presidential desk for Rob Barrosa.

Rob Barrosa in as Electrify America’s new president, CEO

Electrify America shared details of the personnel change this morning which will entail Palazzo transitioning to chair on February 15. His new role at Volkswagen Group is expected to begin on July 1.

Barrosa is expected to officially take over Palazzo’s duties as president and CEO on June 1, and Electrify America says the two executives will work together until then to ensure a smooth transition. Palazzo spoke to his near five years as chief at EA:

It’s been a privilege to work with such an incredibly talented team and to oversee the tremendous strides Electrify America has made in electric vehicle infrastructure and the promotion of EV adoption over the past several years. We look forward to Rob Barrosa’s continued leadership as Electrify America continues to evolve and expand on our mission toward a more sustainable future. His background as an electric vehicle charging engineer, combined with his strategic business approach, will help us continue bringing the latest in EV charging technology to our customers.

Like Palazzo, Rob Barrosa also joined Electrify America in 2018 and has held several leadership positions at the company since, including energy management, product planning and infrastructure development. He also helped launch Electrify Canada, expanding the charging network further across North America. Barrosa also spoke to the new opportunity at EA:

I want to thank Giovanni for his leadership in rapidly expanding the Electrify America network. I look forward to his continued support in his new role as chairman of the company.

When Electrify America’s new CEO takes over this summer, he will continue the work his predecessor started in implementing more than 1,800 charging stations and 10,000 chargers in North America by 2026. Congrats, Rob!

Electrek’s take:

If you heard “EA CEO change” and your mind immediately went to ongoing problems at EA including station reliability and some isolated bricking incidents, you aren’t alone.

Because it is the biggest and best non-Tesla charging network, EA gets a lot of grief. It has to make chargers that not only are compatible with a wide range of automobiles but also differing payment systems (Plug and Charge, App, on station credit card) and customer technology. That makes more complex stations with longer, more expensive cabling and results in more things to go wrong.

That said, outside of Tesla’s network, EA (and Electrify Canada) is the best EV network for both speed and locations –– and getting better.

With the new regime, we hope to see Rob continue to focus on Plug and Charge ubiquity, simplified charging with app-only approach and many more locations.

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