Virgin Galactic's appointment of a new CFO is a clue that the company might be rocketing toward an IPO.
Richard Branson's commercial spaceline has appointed Kenneth Sunshine as its first chief financial officer, the company announced today.
In a statement, Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides said of Sunshine, "he has implemented and managed a variety of financial structures, including successful IPOs."
A source familiar with the matter said that Virgin Galactic might be considering that option but that there are no immediate plans. "Ken's past experience was attractive and was one of the reasons he was chosen," the source said.
Sunshine, 50, will be the first CFO for the company and will be responsible for managing the financial strategy and overseeing all finance and accounting functions.
Sunshine has both a finance and space engineering background. Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, Sunshine worked as chief financial officer at MDA Information Systems, a Maryland-based remote sensing and geographic information technology company. He has also worked as CFO of the National Institute of Aerospace, CFO of Aurora Flight Sciences, senior vice president of finance at Orbital Science Corporation and as an engineer at Draper Laboratories.
While he was senior vice president and treasurer at Orbital Sciences Corporation, the company raised $57 million in an IPO in July 2000.
Sunshine received his bachelor's engineering degree from Tufts and an MBA from Wharton.
A flight on Virgin Galactic costs $200,000, a spokesperson for the company said. The company has collected 440 deposits from future flyers totaling $58 million. Over 65 test flights have taken place and consumer flights are expected to start in two years.
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julies@fins.com