The Richard Branson-backed Virgin Galactic space tourism business is facing more than a few fundamental changes.
First up, it is losing its former CEO George Whitesides who changed to Chief Space Officer in July last year, and is now stepping aside but remains of the company’s advisory board. He had been in post since 2010. Virgin Galactic has recently hired a new CFO and has made other senior hires as president of aerospace systems and a VP of engineering.
A new CEO, Michael Colglazier, was appointed in July last year and hired from a Disneyland theme park. He received an impressive $21.5 million pay packet made up of a $1 million base salary, plus $500,000 signing on bonus, plus assorted share options and other benefits which total $21.5 million. One of the perks is that he and three members of his family get a ‘free’ spaceflight.
Perhaps these senior management changes are simply part of the business moving forward.
However, when the company’s chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sells of all of his shares one has to worry. Palihapitiya sold a set of shares worth almost $100 million in December last year. Now he has reportedly sold $213 millions-worth of shares, his complete holding, according to Bloomberg.