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LOS ANGELES: October 22, 2018. Virgin Group head Sir Richard Branson has stepped down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One saying the role requires more time than he has available because of other commitments.

Patrick McCall, current chairman of Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit and the Virgin Rail Group will replace him on the company’s Board.

Virgin Hyperloop group photoIn the past year, Virgin Hyperloop One has been working with the government of Maharashtra, India on a plan to develop a first Hyperloop route from Mumbai to Pune; launched its cargo division CargoSpeed in partnership with DP World; and secured an agreement with the European Union to develop a R&D test facility in Southern Spain.

“For the first time in more than 20 years, I took on a chairman’s role last year to help Virgin Hyperloop One through a transitional period,” explained Branson. “We have exciting projects in India, Spain and are working with a number of US states to further develop this ground breaking technology.

“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 businesses within the Virgin Group,” he continued.

Following the significant development in 2018 and further investment from DP World, Branson says he feels it is now the right time to revert to supporting the company on its brand development and international expansion.

Commenting on the announcement, DP World chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sualyem said: ”DP World is the largest shareholder in Virgin Hyperloop One because we see the need for a hyperloop-enabled cargo network under the CargoSpeed brand, launched earlier this year, to support rapid, on-demand deliveries globally. This technology serves our vision to enable smarter trade globally.”

(Pictured: Virgin Hyperloop One staff with Sir Richard Branson.)

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