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Ex-Virgin Boss Whitehorn to Champion Transport Innovation

Will Whitehorn, former president of Virgin Galactic Ltd., was appointed to head a U.K. government transport-innovation center.

Whitehorn, a longtime adviser to Virgin founder Richard Branson, will become chairman of the Transport Systems Catapult, a project focusing on efficient and sustainable developments in road, rail, sea and air.

“An efficient transport system that can move people and goods in a cost-effective way is vital to the success of the UK economy,” Science Minister David Willetts said in an e-mailed statement today. “The Transport Systems Catapult will make sure that new and emerging ideas to improve transport systems can be pioneered here and exported across the globe.”

Whitehorn, who will start his new role on March 1, worked for Virgin from 1987 to 2011 and helped establish Virgin’s first rail franchise and develop Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., as well as heading Virgin Galactic, which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to space tourists, satellite deployment and space science services.

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