Defense Secretary Mattis to Axe Ex-XCOR CEO from Key Pentagon Post

John (Jay) Gibson

Well, that didn’t last very long.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis plans to remove John “Jay” Gibson II from the post of chief management officer (CMO) for a “lack of performance.”

The decision comes less than a year after the former XCOR CEO joined the Defense Department as deputy CMO in November 2017. The Senate subsequently confirmed him as defense CMO in February 2018.

In that position, Gibson’s job is to find ways of making the massive defense bureaucracy more efficient to free up funding to modernize the armed forces.

XCOR hired Gibson in March 2015 to replace founder Jeff Greason as CEO. The objective was for Gibson to focus on the business side while Greason focused on completing construction on the Lynx suborbital space plane.

That arrangement did not work out. By November, Greason and two other founders, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson, had left the company to found Agile Aerospace.

The Trump Administration announced its nomination of Gibson for the post of deputy CMO in June 2017. He left XCOR shortly thereafter at a time when the struggling space company laid off all its employees. A few people were hired back on a contract basis.

XCOR filed for bankruptcy in November 2017. The company’s assets were purchased by a non-profit organization.