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'You Deserved Better Than This': Virgin Orbit COO Pens Exit Letter to Employees Taking Jabs at Higher Leadership Virgin Orbit officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

By Emily Rella

entrepreneur daily
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The Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday after failing to secure proper funding following a rocket launch failure earlier this year.

Just weeks ago, the Richard Branson-founded company slashed a reported 90% of its staff and put itself on an "operational pause" until the satellite launch company could secure a strong enough investor to help pay back debt.

Related: Virgin Orbit Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

On Tuesday, the COO of the now-defunct company, Tony Gingiss, had some choice words about how the whole situation went down in an internal memo viewed by

Gingiss, who served as COO for 26 months, lamented to employees that they "deserved better than this" before delving into a slew of apologies including not being able to help Virgin Orbit "avoid this outcome" and the company's "abrupt finale."

"This chapter is now done, but our book is not finished," he penned. "I know what a talented team you are as most of you were part of my Engineering and Operations team and the rest of you worked so closely with us, as our partners, to do the amazing things we have done. I know what good people you are and how big of an impact you have made and will continue to make."

Gingiss also (somewhat subtly) called out higher leadership in his note, telling his former team that he was sorry about not being "able to convince our leader and board to take a different path to give us more time to figure things out."

Related: Virgin Orbit Shares Plummet As Historic Launch Fails Due to 'Anomaly'

He concluded by telling employees they could reach out to him for any sort of support — both emotionally and physically as they search for new employment opportunities — and tried to keep spirits high despite the company folding.

"Go boldly onto your next adventure and bring that special you that you brought to Virgin Orbit," he said. "While we did not succeed in the endeavor of making Virgin Orbit a force in the industry we must use this event to spread the ripple of our talents, dreams, creativity and energy into the industries and world to make them a better place. In this way, on some level, it will all be worth it."

The last month has not been easy for Virgin Orbit employees who were first furloughed without pay (though they were able to trade in PTO days for immediate compensation) before ultimately losing their jobs.

Related: Virgin Orbit Plummets Over 30% After Furloughing Majority of Staff, Enters 'Operational Pause'

The company was originally founded in 2017 before going public via a merger with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II.

In January 2023, Virgin Orbit's mission suffered from a rocket launch failure that was chalked up to an "anomaly" which saw the company lose nine major satellites and subsequently saw shares plummet as much as 20% in premarket trading.

It was one of the final blows for the company that could not seem to secure stable financial backing for operations moving forward.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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