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Will Whitehorn

William Elliot Whitehorn is a British business executive. Until December 2010 he was President of Virgin Galactic, a company which plans to offer space tourism flights to the paying public. He was formerly the President of the industry group, UKspace, and has been Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University since 2021.

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Will Whitehorn

Will Whitehorn

About Will Whitehorn

Will Whitehorn was born in Edinburgh and graduated with an Honours degree from the
University in Aberdeen before spending his early career as a Helicopter Search and Rescue
Crewman in The North Sea (British Airways Helicopters 1982-1984).

He then joined Thomas Cook as a graduate trainee before joining Virgin Group. He joined
the Virgin Group as Group Public Relations Manager in 1987. Over the next several years
he was responsible for presenting Virgin’s joint venture strategy, spent several months
working in Japan and began to move into a more general management role. Will worked on
the strategy to expand the brand into new areas such as financial services and telecoms.
From 1995 onwards, Will became part of a team developing the Virgin branded venture
capital model for global expansion.

In 1997 he became a Director of Virgin Rail Group and in 2000, he was appointed Brand Development and Corporate Affairs Director for Virgin. In 2004 he became President of Virgin Galactic. In 2007 he took on that role in an executive part time capacity and became special advisor to Sir Richard Branson. He was also a trustee of the Virgin Unite social entrepreneurship and environmental not for profit foundation. He
left Virgin at the start of 2011 but remains a consultant to Virgin Galactic.

In addition to his Virgin involvement, Will was appointed non-executive Chair of Next Fifteen
Communications Group PLC, the global technology PR consultancy in January 2004 (he
retired from that role in April 2011).
In 2009 he was appointed to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and in
2011 was appointed Chair of its Economic Impact Committee.

Will also chaired the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) from
2007 – 2011.In 2010 he joined the Board of the Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (SECC) in
Glasgow and in 2014 he was appointed Chair. In 2017, the Company changed its name to
Scottish Event Campus Limited and manages the SEC Armadillo, SEC Centre and OVO

Will was appointed non-executive Chair of the Loewy Group in 2010 and extended that to a
part-time role in 2011. He extended his role at Loewy following its acquisition by Writtle
Holdings by joining the new Writtle company advisory board and taking on the Chair of the
new group’s PR subsidiary, Speed Communications. Speed was sold to AIM listed Mission
Marketing PLC in 2014 and as a result Will subsequently resigned as Chair.
In 2011 Will joined the Board of Stagecoach Group PLC, the global transport group and was
Deputy Chair until 2020.

He has also held the role of the Chair of Transport Systems Catapult Ltd, a technology and
innovation centre set up by the Technology Strategy Board of the British Government but
resigned that after his three-year term was completed to avoid conflict with his enhanced
Stagecoach role.

From 2014 – 2020, Will was the non-executive Chair of The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh.

In 2014, he joined Purplebricks Group PLC, a 24/7 online estate agency business in which
he was a founder shareholder/director in 2012. In 2018 following the sale of a significant
minority stake to Axel Springer Group, Will volunteered to resign from the Board of
Purplebricks Group PLC but remains a shareholder.

In 2016, he became Chair of Clyde Space Ltd, the UK’s leading independent space satellite
manufacturer. After chairing Clyde Space for a number of years he has helped organise its
sale to ÅAC Microtec this year and was invited to join the Board of the Swedish holding
company and is currently a Director of the newly named ÅAC Clyde Space AB.

In April 2017, Will was appointed as senior non-executive Director at GVC Holdings PLC, A
FTSE 250 gaming and software company. Will had a significant impact on improving the
governance of GVC and was involved in diversifying the Board. In 2018 the Company
acquired Ladbrokes Coral, joined the FTSE 100 and took a strategic decision to expand
further into the United States. Prior to the announcement of a joint venture with MGM in the
USA, Will volunteered to resign to coincide with the appointment of a US Board Director.

He is a member of the first Minister of Scotland’s “GlobalScot” business-mentoring network.
In October 2017, Will joined the UK Government Scottish Business Task Force. A new body
set up to help advise the UK government on industrial and economic policy in Scotland.
In July 2018, Will joined the Board of Good Energy PLC as Deputy Chair and is now Chair.
From September 2018 – July 2021, Will was a Non-Executive Board Director with the Royal
Air Force as a rank equivalent of Air Vice-Marshall.

In September 2019, Will joined UKspace as President of the trade association which
represents the UK space industry. In June 2021, Will joined Seraphim Space Investment
Trust Fund PLC as Chair of the world’s first listed space technology investment fund. In
January 2022, Will was invited to join the British Government’s space advisory panel, the UK
Space Exploration Advisory Committee (SEAC) which reports to the government’s UK space

In January 2020, Will became Chair of Craneware PLC, an Edinburgh based company which
is engaged in the development, licensing and ongoing support of computer software for the
United States healthcare industry.

Will was appointed Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University in August 2021.
In addition to his business commitments, Will is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society,
The Marketing Society and Vice President of The Chartered Institute of Logistics and
Transport and fundraises for various charities.

He holds the Royal Aeronautical Society’s prestigious Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award for
services to the space industry.

He describes his hobbies as everything that moves and he is a keen scuba diver, skier, shot,

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