Chamath Palihapitiya, the outspoken venture capitalist and SPAC front man, will depart Virgin Galactic Chairman immediately.
Updated at 9:38 am EST
Chamath Palihapitiya, the outspoken venture capitalist who fronted several special purpose acquisition companies at the peak of last year’s investment frenzy, will step down as chairman of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic (SPCE) – Get Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc Report spaceship group.
Palihapitiya, 45, will leave the group immediately, the company said Friday, and will be replaced by Evan Lovell on an interim basis.
Palihapitiya, who is also a part owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, brought yet another SPAC deal — video game specialists Akili Interactive — to market only last month. He also courted controversy earlier this year when he told Jason Calacanis’s ‘All-In” podcast that the internationally-recognized mistreat of Muslim Uyghurs by the Chinese government was something that “nobody cares about”.
“Chamath was instrumental in the launch of Virgin Galactic as a public company and, as our inaugural chair, his deep and astute insights have been incredibly valuable to both me and the company as we have grown and strengthened our business foundation,” said CEO Michael Colglazier. “We’ve always known the time would come when he would shift his focus to new projects and pursuits. I’m grateful for everything Chamath has done for our company and wish him all the best.”
Virgin Galactic Holdings shares were marked 4.33% lower in early Friday trading immediately following news of Palihapitiya’s departure to indicate an opening bell price of $8.62 each.
Late last year, Virgin Galactic delayed plans for the launch of its commercial space travel service to the fourth quarter of this year after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration completed an investigation into the group’s maiden flight — which carried billionaire Branson and five other Virgin Galactic into space on July 11 — after it deviated from a defined airspace path on its descent.