For New Virgin Galactic CEO, the Ultimate Perk: An All-Expenses Paid Trip to Space

Michael Colglazier (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For 26 years, Michael Colglazier worked for a company whose theme parks feature a popular attraction named Space Mountain. They aren’t really mountains and they don’t go anywhere near space, but as rollercoasters they are pretty good.

When the former Walt Disney Company executive signed on to become Virgin Galactic’s CEO in July, his contract included a free ride to space for himself and three friends aboard his new employer’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle.

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George Whitesides to Fly on Early Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flight from Spaceport America

Richard Branson (l) and George Whitesides (r, back) walk with SpaceShipTwo pilots David Mackay and Mark Stucky after a successful glide flight. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A provision in George Whitesides’ contract has Virgin Galactic’s chief space officer — and possibly his wife, Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides — flying on one of SpaceShipTwo’s early suborbital flights from Spaceport America in New Mexico.

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Virgin Galactic Replaces George Whitesides as CEO with Disney Executive

George Whitesides

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) –Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE) (“Virgin Galactic”), a vertically integrated aerospace and space travel company, today announced the appointments of Michael Colglazier as Virgin Galactic’s new Chief Executive Officer and George Whitesides as Chief Space Officer, effective July 20, 2020.

Michael assumes the CEO role at an exciting time for Virgin Galactic as the Company progresses through its test flight program and prepares for commercial service. He will also join the Company’s Board of Directors effective July 20, 2020. Michael joins Virgin Galactic following a long and successful career at The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), bringing over three decades of experience in developing and growing consumer-oriented multi-billion dollar businesses strategically, commercially, and operationally.

Most recently Michael was President and Managing Director, Disney Parks International, where he was responsible for operations, strategy, and commercial and experiential development of Disney’s international parks and resorts.

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