William Whitehorn – Keynote Speaker

Former President of Virgin Galactic

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Specialist Subjects

  • Breakthrough Innovation
  • From vision to strategy
  • Large scale project delivery
  • Technology and Investment
  • Leadership and Transformation
  • Invention and Innovation


  • English


Will Whitehorn joined the Virgin Group as Group Public Relations Manager in 1987. He had previously worked for British Airways, Thomas Cook, and TSB Group plc. Over the next few years he was responsible for presenting Virgin’s joint venture strategy and began to move into a more general management role.

Will worked on the strategy to expand Virgin into new areas such as financial services and telecoms. From 1997 onwards, he became part of a team developing the Virgin branded venture capital model for global expansion.

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 capacity and became Special Advisor to Sir Richard Branson. In 2011, he retired from Virgin.

Appointed by the Chief of the Air Staff, he now serves on the Air Force Board, Air Force Board Executive, the Air Audit Committee, Air Rank Appointments Board and Air Ranks Promotion Board. He provides independent counsel, support and challenge to those boards and to CAS and the senior RAF leadership team.

Will Whitehorn has had a long career in transport and aerospace since University in Aberdeen. He was a graduate trainee with Thomas Cook.

Since 2010, Will has fulfilled a variety of non exec and Chairman roles and been involved in advising start up companies. Current relevant roles include being a shareholder and director of AAC Clyde Space, the Cube Satellite manufacturer. He is also Deputy Chair of Stagecoach Group PLC, Good Energy PLC and Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and holder of their prestigious Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award for services to the industry.

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