Virgin Galactic leaders in front of the New York Stock Exchange, from left: CEO George Whitesides, founder Richard Branson and Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya.
In a statement, Palihapitiya said he is leaving “to focus on other existing and upcoming public board responsibilities” but is “proud to leave the team in such capable hands” and looks forward to “one day flying to space with them.”
Virgin Galactic’s stock slipped more than 5% Friday from its previous close of $9.01 a share.
“We’ve always known the time would come when he would shift his focus to new projects and pursuits,” Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement. “I’m grateful for everything Chamath has done for our company and wish him all the best.”
Board director Evan Lovell will serve as interim chairman, with a new chair expected to be selected at a later date, the company said. In a filing, Virgin Galactic said Palihapitiya informed the board of his decision to resign on Thursday.
Virgin Galactic has steadily made changes to its structure and brand under Colglazier, who was appointed as chief executive in July 2020. Earlier this week, the company revealed a rebranding, replacing the iris of Branson in its logo with a purple outline of its spacecraft.