Chamath Palihapitiya steps down from Virgin Galactic’s board of directors

Virgin Galactic executives in front of the New York Stock Exchange, from left to right: CEO George Whitesides, founder Richard Branson and chairman Chamath Palihapitiya.

Virgin Galaxy

On Friday, Virgin Galactic announced that chairman Chamath Palihapitiya is stepping down from the space tourism company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Palihapitiya’s SPAC, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company, took Virgin Galactic public in October 2019. Since then, the company’s shares have traded volatilely, rising above $60 a share in the months before Sir Richard Branson’s space test flight but recently falling below the public stock. the debut price with the start of commercial operation is delayed by more than two years from what the company predicted.

In early 2021, the former chairman sold his personal stake in Virgin Galactic, which was worth over $200 million at the time. But Palihapitiya indirectly owns approximately 15.8 million shares through Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings.

In a statement, Palihapitiya said he was leaving “to focus on other existing and upcoming community council responsibilities” but was “proud to put the team in such able hands” and hoped to “one day fly into space with them.”

Shares of Virgin Galactic were up about 2% in premarket trading from the previous close of $9.01 a share.

“We always knew that the time would come when he would turn his attention to new projects and pursuits. I am grateful to Chamat for everything he has done for our company and wish him all the best,” said Michael Colglaser, CEO of Virgin Galactic. statement.

The company said Virgin Galactic’s board chairman Evan Lovell will act as chairman, with a new chairman expected to be chosen at a later date.

Shares of Virgin Galactic rose 0.4% in premarket trading on Friday.

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