As Richard Branson’s right-hand man, Will Whitehorn took the space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, from a mere dream to a project with real spacecraft and its own spaceport.
Previously a search-and-rescue helicopter crewman in the North Sea, Whitehorn once had to pluck Branson out of danger and went on to become Virgin Brand Development and Corporate Affairs Director.
After working on large scale Virgin projects, he took up the post of President of Virgin Galactic. He was at the helm of developing commercial space travel, steering Virgin Galactic from concept to reality. He convinced investors, oversaw technical plans and developed a strategy which saw the first commercial flights one hundred miles above the Earth’s surface.
After handing over to a US-based President for the next phase, Whitehorn has returned to venture capital, brands and communication. He was a founding shareholder of Purplebricks Group PLC and is Chairman of the Scottish event campus, the Scottish Gallery and Deputy Chairman of Stagecoach Group PLC. He is also Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.
Whitehorn 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.