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speaker

Will
Whitehorn

Former President of Virgin Galactic

Profile

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 the online estate agency Purplebricks, 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.

Expertise
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

Topics

Business

  • Entrepreneurship & Entrepreneurs
  • Marketing
  • Disruption
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