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Space pioneer Whitehorn joins Napier as chancellor

Space industry pioneer and business executive Will Whitehorn has been appointed as the next chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University. The Edinburgh-born president of industry group UKspace takes up his post at the University on 1 August, taking over from current chancellor Dr David Eustace.

A former executive at the Virgin Group, and chairman of Edinburgh software company Craneware, Mr Whitehorn (pictured) also holds boardroom roles at The Scottish Gallery Employee Ownership Trust, Scottish Event Campus, Good Energy and ÅAC Clyde Space AB.

His business interests include travel, technology and communication as well as leadership, marketing and product design.

He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and the University of Aberdeen.

After stints at Thomas Cook, TSB Group and Lombard Communications, he was recruited to Virgin to boost the group’s image in the city as the brand development and corporate affairs director.

Mr Whitehorn worked on a series of major Virgin projects, including the Pendolino train, and later took up the post of President at Virgin Galactic, which saw him play a central role in developing the concept of commercial space travel.

After moving on from Virgin Galactic as it entered a new stage of development, he returned to brand and communications work, also holding board positions at Purplebricks, Stagecoach and Transport Systems Catapult.

As chancellor at Edinburgh Napier, he will become the titular head of the institution and will confer degrees and other awards of the University.

He said: “I have a lot to thank Edinburgh for and I have a lot to thank my own good fortune for in achieving a place at the University of Aberdeen in 1977 and I never forget it. My career has been founded in my education.

“University should be an adventure and Edinburgh Napier does a better job of fulfilling that dream for students than many educational institutions around the country can even dream of and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to play my small part in taking the achievements of the University to new heights.”

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