Isakowitz Leaves Virgin Galactic to Run Aerospace Corporation

Virgin Galactic President Steven J. Isakowitz (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
Steven J. Isakowitz (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corp PR) — Steve Isakowitz, president of Virgin Galactic, has been elected president of The Aerospace Corporation effective Aug. 1. He will assume the position of Aerospace president and CEO upon the retirement of Dr. Wanda Austin on Oct. 1.

“After a year-long search process, the board of trustees is pleased with the result. Building on Dr. Wanda Austin’s legacy of excellence and accomplishment, Steve Isakowitz has the right set of skills and experience—in government and industry—to lead Aerospace in a rapidly changing environment of constrained customer resources, challenging threats, and exciting new space technologies,” said Ambassador Barbara Barrett, chair of The Aerospace Corporation board of trustees.

The selection of Isakowitz was a unanimous decision by the board and its selection committee, which was chaired by the Honorable Michael Donley, former Secretary of the Air Force, as part of the board’s planned succession process. The board was assisted in its search process by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

Donley said Isakowitz was selected as the top choice from an exceptional slate of candidates because he possesses a broad range of diverse experience in space management, science and technology, budgeting, and financial administration in both government and corporate environments. “Steve Isakowitz has demonstrated tremendous integrity and leadership in complex jobs that required both strategic vision and technical competence—qualities that are absolutely essential to ensuring Aerospace’s continued success,” said Donley.

Austin started her career at The Aerospace Corporation in 1979 and has served as president and CEO since 2008.

“On behalf of the board and The Aerospace Corporation, I want to thank Dr. Austin for her more than three decades of service to Aerospace and the nation. A pioneer, innovator, and mentor, Dr. Austin led Aerospace with great vision and capability,” Barrett said.

“I am honored to have had the privilege of leading this great Aerospace team as we delivered 100 percent mission success to every customer,” Austin said. “Steve is a proven leader across the space enterprise. I am confident that we will transition seamlessly and the organization will be positioned for even greater success.”

“I am extremely excited to be leading this extraordinary organization as we develop solutions, innovate, and continue to deliver mission success for all of our customers,” Isakowitz said. “Technological progress, global competition, and security threats are all increasing at rates unparalleled in the history of the Space Age, and I look forward to collaborating with customers and the talented Aerospace team to tackle the important challenges of the 21st century—which will surely be known as the century of space.”

Isakowitz served as president of Virgin Galactic from 2013 to 2016 and as its chief technology officer from 2011 to 2013. At Virgin Galactic, Isakowitz had broad leadership responsibilities, which included the development of privately funded launch systems, human spaceflight vehicles, advanced technologies, and other new space applications. Previously, he held a wide variety of senior engineering, business, and management roles across the private and government sectors, including positions at NASA, the Office of Management and Budget, the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Energy.

A biography of Mr. Isakowitz is available here.

The Aerospace Corporation is a California nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has approximately 3,600 employees. It provides guidance and advice to military, civil and commercial customers to ensure the success of complex, technology-based programs. The Aerospace Corporation is headquartered in El Segundo, Calif., with multiple locations across the United States.