Will Whitehorn

Leading expert on Branding and Leadership

Will Whitehorn explains the impact new technologies have on businesses and focuses on how to drive business innovation and growth through innovative people and technology. He also entertains his audiences with the enthralling Virgin Galactic Story.

As a former senior member of management of the Virgin Group, Will Whitehorn has been variously described as Richard Branson's ‘no 2’. He was educated in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and following graduation from the University of Aberdeen in 1981, Will served a sabbatical year as President of the Student Union.

Will Whitehorn began his career with British International Helicopters before moving to British Airways and then to Thomas Cook. He was recruited to Virgin by the then Managing Director of Virgin, Donald Cruickshank, and was engaged, initially, to boost the image of the Virgin Group in the City. He is a director of several Virgin Companies including Virgin Rail.

Will Whitehorn was a lynchpin in Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire for over 20 years. As Virgin Group’s Brand Development and Corporate Affairs Director it was his job to steer the entertainment, media and travel giant through times of turbulence and calm. Will was President of Virgin Galactic – Virgin’s rapidly developing commercial space travel division – and as such should be one of the first ‘civilians’ to take a ride into space in a craft currently under development.

Space, as Star Trek would have it, is the final frontier but pioneering work is underway to bring that once distant frontier much closer to home.

Virgin Galactic, possibly a natural development from train and air travel for the enterprising and entrepreneurial Sir Richard Branson, is poised to make commercial space flight an everyday event.

SpaceShip One – the prototype that inspired the Virgin Galactic dream – was flown into space in 2004 on two separate missions. That spaceship then went as a prize exhibit to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Only two people flew the prototype but more will soon follow if plans develop smoothly, and Whitehorn expects he will be on the SpaceshipTwo test vehicle at the back end of the test-flying programme. Once the testing is complete, Virgin Galactic is expecting to establish daily flights of about two-and-a-half hours – to about 100 miles up. The inaugural commercial flight is expected to be carrying Sir Richard Branson and members of his family and the man who designed the vehicle, Burt Rutan.

As a speaker, Will Whitehorn will tell the story so far of the most exciting technology story of the 21st century; he’ll take a look into the future influence space will have on our lives including digital communications, and will recount how the online industry and innovation across all business functions within Virgin has impacted on consumers and brands.

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