Two major appointments have been announced by Clyde Space, the company that designed and manufactured Scotland's first spacecraft.
Joining the firm are Will Whitehorn who had a long career with Virgin and Virgin Galactic and is currently the Deputy Chairman of Stagecoach Group PLC, and he is appointed as the Non-Executive Chairman. Also appointed is Jennifer Riddell-Dillet, a Senior Executive with multinational experience leading and developing business teams and she becomes the firm's Chief Operating Officer. Clyde Space CEO, Craig Clark, said Will and Jennifer added a vast array of worldwide business and technology experience to Clyde Space at a critical time in the company’s growth.
Clark stated these were key appointments to the rapidly-growing company’s long term business strategy to maintain their market lead and he expected them “to bring an energy and experience which, combined with the company’s vision, will strike a synergy that will help build on current commercial success, both domestically and internationally.
“Will’s experience will help develop Clyde Space as an innovative global brand. This, coupled with Jennifer’s extensive experience of modern manufacturing best practice, represents significant added value to Clyde Space as we transition the company to support the growing market demands for production of high volumes of advanced small spacecraft.”
As president of Virgin Galactic, Will established the project to build the world’s first human passenger-carrying commercial spacecraft. He was also brand development and corporate affairs director of Virgin Management from 1987 to 2007 during which time he helped grow the Virgin brand globally and acted as a spokesman for Sir Richard Branson. Will is a Fellow of The Royal Aeronautical Society and holder of the 2010 Geoffrey Pardoe Space Award for his significant contribution to the industry. As well as his current post with Stagecoach Group PLC, Will is also Chairman of the SECC & SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland, and has a portfolio of other well-known companies and organisations where he is either Chairman or Non-Executive Director, including recent UK Stock Market success story, Purplebricks Group PLC.
Jennifer joins Clyde Space from advanced optical product specialists Daysoft where she was Managing Director and also has wide experience with other companies where she was charged with implementing strategic direction and sales growth.
Whitehorn said, “Three things that I love among many are Space, Technology and Transportation. Clyde Space combines all three and is building some of the coolest, smallest and sexiest spacecraft in the world at the moment. I’m really looking forward to joining Craig, Jennifer and the team in building a world-class global business based in Glasgow, a world class city.”
Riddell-Dillet said, “Joining Clyde Space at this stage of the organization's growth is a fantastic opportunity. The future of the nano/small satellite market and the levels of growth offers me and the team some of the most exciting opportunities a manufacturer could hope for.”
According to Craig, Clyde Space is already a rapidly growing $10 million dollar company and the company's ambition is to secure a significant share of the $2.2 billion dollar smallsat market. Over the last few years, the firm has invested in product and process development, expanded the team, put in place world class assembly and test facilities and announced international expansion plans. There are currently more than 80 staff and growth is more than 50 percent per year. This increase is fueled by an increasing number and size of orders, which is typically a mix of subsystem orders and full missions. There are currently an average of six spacecraft per month being produced in the Clyde Space cleanroom and more than 80 percent of the orders come from outside Europe, half of which are from US based organizations. This, in turn, has influenced the firm's need to internationalize.