His name might not be as familiar to the public as Elon Musk’s, but he is not only the Virgin Hyperloop One’s chairman but also the founder of Virgin Galactic, the same company which teased almost two weeks ago that it is closer than ever to turning space tourism into a reality.
According to a report coming in from Reuters, the Virgin Hyperloop One chairman decided to step down from his role and announced his decision on Monday.
The announcement quotes Branson as saying that Virgin Hyperloop One needs a leader that is more involved with the company, a role which he cannot fulfill anymore due to his other duties, such as his involvement with other businesses the Virgin Group is attending to.
“At this stage in the company’s evolution, I feel it needs a more hands-on Chair, who can focus on the business and these opportunities. It will be difficult for me to fulfill that commitment as I already devote significant time to my philanthropic ventures and the many business within the Virgin Group.”
– Richard Branson for Reuters
The announcement comes following the end of a deal between Virgin Hyperloop and Saudi Arabia. Reportedly, Branson halted discussions with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund concerning a $1 billion investment in the group’s space operations due to the disappearance of respected Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the Istanbul consulate under mysterious circumstances.
In addition, Branson also suspended his role from two other Saudi tourism projects set around the Red Sea.