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Former President of Virgin Galactic


Previously President of Virgin Galactic, Will Whitehorn pioneered the development and concept of commercial spaceflight. He draws the distinction between invention and innovation - and argues that with the right incentives the private sector can create a whole new industrial revolution in space.

Current Work:

He is a skilled and charismatic keynote speaker, and, apart from various other non-exec roles, he has also been a guest lecturer at University College London in business innovation.

Having handed over Virgin Galactic to a US-based President ready for its next phase, Will has returned to brands and communication, while continuing to keep a hand in disruption and innovation.

He holds Chair and board positions at transport group Stagecoach, three brand and communications companies, and mobility innovation company Transport Systems Catapult.

Will is also a director of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the government funding body for scientific research, and is the President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILTUK).

Previous Experience:

Virgin Galactic: As President of Virgin Galactic, Will was at the hub of one of the most exciting business and technology ventures of the twenty first century - commercial space travel. He took the project from being the nascent dream of Will's boss, Sir Richard Branson, to a project with real spacecraft, test flights and a spaceport.
Will steered Virgin Galactic from concept to reality, convincing investors, overseeing technical plans, and moving to a position where daily flights to one hundred miles above the Earth's surface was a genuine possibility. Few can claim to be involved in such a breakthrough project.

Virgin Group: Will also served as the Virgin Group's Brand Development & Corporate Affairs Director, a Special Advisor to the Virgin Group, and worked on large-scale Virgin projects including the Pendolino train. He was seen as Branson's right-hand man, having closely worked with him for over twenty years.

Joining Virgin in his mid-twenties, the young Scot was enthused by Branson's approach. Will explains that Virgin can go almost anywhere, from cola to credit cards to space flight. Even if a particular new venture doesn't work out, the brand should remain undamaged.

Talking Points

Leadership and communication

Innovation; engendering a culture of innovation

Product design

Creating an industrial revolution in space

Marketing and branding: The Virgin story

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