Third Virgin Galactic Executive Departs as New CFO Named

John S. Rego
John S. Rego

For a company that is only months away from flying into space with paying customers, Virgin Galactic is experiencing a lot of high-level turnover. Three top level executives have left over the past two months.

Today, the company announced that it had hired John S. Rego as its new chief financial officer (CFO). He replaces Ken Sunshine, who joined the company as CFO in July 2011. The press release on Rego is reproduced below.

Virgin Galactic also saw the recent departures of Vice President of Safety Jon Turnipseed and Vice President of Propulsion Thomas Markusic. Turnipseed had joined the company in August 2010, while Markusic had been there since May 2011. Both departed in December, although Turnipseed is still listed on the website as VP of Safety.

Reliable sources have told Parabolic Arc that Virgin Galactic was hit a cluster of high-level departures last year. The company asked some personnel to stay on for periods of time in order to space out the departures and to maintain appearances for the public, media, ticket holders and investors.

Officials at two other NewSpace companies also have told Parabolic Arc in recent months that they have been receiving a lot of resumes from Virgin Galactic employees looking to move on.

Some staff departures last year related to the end of Virgin Galactic’s participation in DARPA’s Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) project, which aims to produce an inexpensive launch vehicle. The company received funding during the project’s first phase, but it was not selected to continue, sources say.

The press release on Rego’s appointment is below.


MOJAVE, Calif. – Today, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, announced John S. Rego has joined the company as its new Chief Financial Officer. Rego brings nearly three decades of finance, accounting and operations experience to the commercial space company.

As CFO, Rego will provide overall strategic and operational direction to Virgin Galactic’s accounting, finance, financial planning and analysis, treasury, risk and tax activities. He will work with Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides and the senior management team to build strategic financial and capital plans to achieve corporate objectives.

“Virgin Galactic is rapidly moving toward our commercial spaceflight operations later this year,” Whitesides said. “John has deep experience in scaling high-growth businesses for sustainable success. We are proud to have him join our team.”

Rego’s nearly 30-year financial career is rooted in leadership and management positions. He joins Virgin Galactic after serving as CFO for AppSense, Inc., a U.K.-based enterprise software company, headquartered in New York. He spent nearly eight years as executive vice president, CFO and treasurer for Vonage Holdings Corp. in New Jersey, where he raised $1.3 billion in capital, guided the company through exponential growth from zero to approximately 2.5 million customers and more than $900 million in revenues within six years. Other experience includes senior leadership positions at Petra Solar, Inc., RCN Corporation and Winstar Communications, among others.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Rego earned his CPA license in 1985 in the state of New Jersey.