in Space

Virgin Galactic makes changes in preparation for commercial service

Posted 16 July 2020 · Add Comment

Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc., has announced the appointments of Michael Colglazier as Virgin Galactic’s new Chief Executive Officer and George Whitesides as Chief Space Officer, effective 20th July 2020.



Above: Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity attached to VMS Eve at Spaceport America.
Copyright Virgin Galactic


Michael assumes the CEO role as the Virgin Galactic  progresses through its test flight programme and prepares for commercial service. He will also join the Company’s Board of Directors effective July 20, 2020. Michael joins Virgin Galactic following a long and successful career at The Walt Disney Company, bringing over three decades of experience in developing and growing consumer-oriented multi-billion dollar businesses strategically, commercially and operationally. Most recently Michael was President and Managing Director, Disney Parks International, where he was responsible for operations, strategy and commercial and experiential development of Disney’s international parks and resorts.

George will assume the role of Chief Space Officer, focused on developing the Company’s future business opportunities, including point-to-point hypersonic travel and orbital space travel. George will also chair the Company’s Space Advisory Board, and in conjunction with his new role will step down from the Company’s Board of Directors. George joined Virgin Galactic in 2010 as its first CEO, after serving as Chief of Staff at NASA. During the past decade, he has built the Company from 30 people to a workforce of over 900 today and he has successfully guided Virgin Galactic through its human space flight research and development program as well as the progress to date in its flight test programme, culminating in two successful space flights. These historic flights saw the first humans launched into space from US soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, as well as the first woman to fly on a commercial space vehicle. During the last year, George led the transition of operations from Mojave, California to Spaceport America, New Mexico, and oversaw the Company’s successful public listing—creating the world’s first publicly traded human spaceflight venture.

Michael Colglazier said: “I am thrilled to join the talented team at Virgin Galactic at this inflection point in the Company’s journey. Like so many others, including hundreds of signed-up customers, I have been inspired by this purpose-driven, world-class brand and the incredible opportunity it offers to open space to change the world for good. George’s vision and outstanding leadership have enabled Virgin Galactic to reach this point and I am excited to work with him in his role as Chief Space Officer where he will spearhead our future development efforts. On a personal note, I’d like to thank my friends and colleagues at Disney, especially Bob Chapek for his mentorship and guidance over the years and Josh D’Amaro, who is bringing superb leadership to Disney’s Parks, Experiences, and Products. I am grateful to the Virgin Galactic Board, our chair Chamath Palihapitiya and our founder Richard Branson for their support and trust as we make history together in this amazing company.”

George Whitesides added: "Serving as the first CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company for the past 10 years has been the honor and adventure of a lifetime. The next decade for Virgin Galactic will be commercially-focused, and it is the perfect moment for us to bring a visionary commercial leader like Michael to take the Company forward. Michael brings enormous experience in building customer experiences for Disney all around the world and scaling businesses into multi-billion dollar organisations. I look forward to supporting Michael as the Company realises Richard Branson’s vision to share the experience of spaceflight with people around the world, now turning my focus to building the next generation of aerospace vehicles and experiences.”

Sir Richard Branson said: “I want to thank George for his outstanding leadership of Virgin Galactic over the last decade. He has shown dedication and determination as its first CEO to build the Company from early stage development through to space flight, the first from American soil since the retirement of the Space Shuttle. In the past year, George has taken the Company public and moved it to Spaceport America. He transitions into his new role as our Chief Space Officer having created substantial value as CEO and with Galactic poised for an exciting next chapter.”

“At the same time, we are delighted to welcome Michael as the new Chief Executive to lead Galactic into commercial operations. I believe Michael’s long and distinguished career at one of the world’s leading customer experience brands provides a natural fit with Virgin’s culture as well as Galactic’s requirements as it prepares for commercial service.”

Chamath Palihapitiya, Chairman of Virgin Galactic, said: “Michael’s skillset is highly complementary to that of the incredible team that we have at Virgin Galactic. He has considerable commercial and managerial experience and a proven track record of successfully commercialising new and innovative products and services all over the world. He will create an amazing customer experience for our Future Astronauts as we ramp up for spaceflight operations.”

 

 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

BAE Systems and Elbit partner to develop advanced combat vehicles

BAE Systems and Elbit Systems of America (Elbit America) have teamed up to develop and integrate advanced operational capabilities for combat vehicles.

Plaswire's plastic recycling prowess recognised

Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots met to discuss the importance of recycling to the local economy with Plaswire's Chief Executive Andrew Billingsley and senior management, as employees showed how the plastic waste

Budding space entrepreneurs wow industry experts

Young people have pitched their game-changing ideas to space industry experts to be in with a chance of turning their innovative ideas into reality.

ATI appoints Chris Gear as Project Director for FlyZero

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) today confirmed the appointment of Chris Gear as Project Director for FlyZero.

Inmarsat and GDC Technics develop advanced GX Aviation terminal

Inmarsat today unveiled details of a next-generation terminal for its award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband solution, developed in collaboration with engineering & technical services, modifications and electronic

British Army named as UK's top apprenticeship employer

The British Army has been named as the best apprenticeship employer in the UK.

Itel SK2710301120
See us at
3CDSE BT0210030221Security & Policing 2021 BT