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Virgin Galactic boss steps down

February 21, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Chamath Palihapitiya, chairman and a member of Virgin Galactic’s board, Is stepping down. He says he wants “to focus on other public company board commitments.” His departure is immediate, says a company statement.

As part of the announcement, the Board appointed director Evan Lovell as Interim Chairman until a new chair is in place.

Lovell has served on Virgin Galactic’s Board since 2017 and is the Chief Investment Officer of the Virgin Group. He is a seasoned private equity investor and operator, having invested and participated in global private equity and M&A over the past 20 years, working previously at TPG Capital and Culligan International.

Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said: “Chamath was instrumental in the launch of Virgin Galactic as a public company and, as our inaugural chair, his deep and astute insights have been incredibly valuable to both me and the Company as we have grown and strengthened our business foundation. We’ve always known the time would come when he would shift his focus to new projects and pursuits. I’m grateful for everything Chamath has done for our company and wish him all the best.”

The Board has retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart to conduct a thorough and expeditious search process.

Lovell said: “Chamath has worked tirelessly to lead the Board through a critical period as Virgin Galactic prepared for commercial service. As we approach this milestone, I am confident the Company has the right leadership team in place and is on the right path to grow and scale the business. With the support of my fellow directors, I am honoured to serve in this role as we work to find a new chairperson.

Palihapitiya joined Virgin Galactic’s board as its first Chairman when the Company went public in 2019.

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