Virgin Galactic soars 20% after it poaches Disney executive to become CEO
Virgin Galacticsoared as much as 20% on Thursday after the space exploration company hired former Disneyexecutive Michael Colglazier as CEO.
- Colglazier replaced former CEO George Whitesides, who will now serve as Virgin Galactic's chief space officer.
- Colglazier previously served as president and managing director of Disney Parks International.
- The transition at Virgin Galactic comes as the company prepares to launch paying customers into space.
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Investors are cheering Virgin Galactic's new CEO hire, Michael Colglazier from Disney.
The space exploration company soared as much as 20% on Thursday after announcing that Colglazier, who formerly served as president and managing director of Disney Parks International, would replace George Whitesides.
Whitesides will transition to the role of chief space officer, "focused on developing the company's future business opportunities," next week, according to the release. Whitesides joined Virgin Galactic as its first CEO in 2010.
Founder of Virgin Galactic Richard Branson said of the executive transition, "I believe Michael's long and distinguished career at one of the world's leading customer experience brands provides a natural fit with Virgin's culture as well as Galactic's requirements as it prepares for commercial service."
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The move comes as the company prepares to launch paying customers into space sometime in the future. The company has committed to launching company founder Richard Branson into space sometime in 2020.
Customers will have to shell out $250,000 to embark on the approximately two-hour long space flight. The company announced in May that it have exceeded 8,000 customer reservations, giving it an effective revenue backlog of $2 billion if all reservations convert to paid flights.
Virgin Galactic is one of many high-profile companies that went public via a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in the past year.
Shares of Virgin Galactic are up more than 90% year-to-date, and jumped as much as 19.6% to $22.18 in Thursday trades.
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