Will Whitehorn


As a search-and-rescue helicopter crewman in the North Sea, Will once had to pluck Sir Richard Branson out of danger. He went on to become Virgin Brand Development & Corporate Affairs Director, Branson’s right-hand man. After working on large scale Virgin projects including the Pendolino train, Will took up the post of President of Virgin Galactic. He was at the hub of one of the most exciting business ventures of the early twenty-first century: commercial space travel. He brought it from a nascent dream in the mind of Richard Branson to a project with real spacecraft, test flights and a spaceport.

Will steered Virgin Galactic from concept to reality. He convinced investors, oversaw technical plans and developed a strategy which will soon lead to daily flights one hundred miles above the Earth’s surface. Few can claim to be involved in such a breakthrough project.

After handing over to a US-based President for the next phase of the project, Will returned to brands and communication, whilst continuing his involvement in disruption and innovation. He now holds Chair and board positions at the online estate agency Purplebricks, transport group Stagecoach, three brand and communications companies, and mobility innovation company Transport Systems Catapult. He is also a director of the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the government funding body for scientific research, and is the President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILTUK).

In presentations Will draws the distinction between invention and innovation – and argues that with the right incentives the private sector can create a whole new industrial revolution in space. He looks at how to engender a culture of innovation and what that means. He also explains how Virgin can go almost anywhere, from cola to credit cards to space, and even if a particular venture doesn’t work out, the brand and the company values remains undamaged.

To book Will Whitehorn as the business speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.

When at corporate events, Will is known to cover the following topics:

  • Science & Technology
  • Invention & Innovation
  • Virgin Galatic
  • Technical Plans & Project Planning
  • Pendolino Train

Listen to Will’s speech at TEDxUniversityofBristol, where he discusses Virgin, Virgin Galatic and more:

“The content of Will’s presentation was excellent and he had the entire room captivated with his speech.”Sideshow Agency
“Passionate and engaging.”Doncaster Chamber of Commerce

“I would like to thank you very much for an excellent and informative presentation during our American Express Business Travel Client & Partner Summit event at Chelsea Football Club the other week and the feedback we have received to-date has been excellent. It was also a pleasure to work with you and we look forward to working with you again in the future.” – AMEX

“I just wanted to write thank you for coming all that way to speak to us last night. You had all of us spellbound by what you said and it added so much to the evening and to the message that we wish to portray about innovation and looking outside the box.” – Lord Stafford Awards