Chamath Palihapitiya Steps Down From Virgin Galactic Board: What Investors Need To Know

Zinger Key Points
  • Palihapitiya has served as the chairman of Virgin Galactic since the company’s public debut in 2019.

A leading space tourism company announced a big change to its Board of Directors Friday.

What Happened: Chamath Palihapitiya is stepping down as chairman and a member of the Board of Directors for Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc SPCE, effective immediately, to “focus on other public company board commitments.”

“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 growth and strengthened our business foundation,” said Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier.

Evan Lovell has been named as the interim chairman of Virgin Galactic until a new chairman is found. Lovell has served on the Board of Directors for Virgin Galactic since 2018 and is the current chief investment officer.

Virgin Galactic retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart to help in the search process.

Related Link: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Chamath Palihapitiya 

Why It’s Important: Virgin Galactic went public via SPAC merger with Palihapitiya’s Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. The SPAC was one of several launched by Palihapitiya to take companies public.

Palihapitiya has served as the chairman of Virgin Galactic since the company’s public debut in 2019.

“As I close this chapter in order to focus on other existing and upcoming public board responsibilities, I am proud to leave the team in such capable hands and I look forward to watching their success for years to come, and one day flying to space with them,” Palihapitiya said.

Palihapitiya serves as the CEO of Social Capital, his investment firm. It was also announced Palihapitiya will serve as the Chairman of Akili Interactive, a company that is merging with his SPAC Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp I DNAA.

The deal for Akili is expected to close in mid-2022.

The board change comes on the heels of the company opening ticket sales to the general public. Tickets cost $450,000 and require a $150,000 deposit.

“At Virgin Galactic, we believe that space is transformational. We plan to have our first 1,000 customers on board at the start of commercial service later this year, providing and incredibly strong foundation as we begin regular operations and scale our fleet,” Colglazier said.

SPCE Price Action: Shares are flat at $9.04 Friday morning.

Disclosure: The author is long SPCE.

Photo: Christopher Michel via Flickr

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