Two leading eVTOL aircraft developers, Wisk Aero and Lilium, have announced changes to their senior leadership teams. The moves come at the start of a year that industry observers say could prove critical to the ability of the advanced air mobility sector’s front-runners to meet their ambitious timelines. Both companies are seeking to bring products to market at a time when accessing new sources of funding could be more challenging.
On January 17, U.S. company Wisk named Boeing executive Brian Yutko as its next CEO. He will take over from Gary Gysin, who is retiring on February 1.
Gysin has led Wisk since 2019 when the company was established with the backing of leading shareholders Kitty Hawk and Boeing. He has led the development of the sixth-generation eVTOL aircraft, which the company unveiled last year, and was instrumental in securing an additional $450 million investment from Boeing in January 2022.
Yutko is currently Boeing's vice president and chief engineer of sustainability and future mobility. He was previously chief technologist for the U.S. aerospace group's Boeing NeXt business unit and prior to that served as senior vice president of programs at its Aurora Flight Sciences subsidiary.
Lilium Steps Up Industrialization Plan
Germany’s Lilium this week announced internal appointments that will see Oliver Vogelgesang taking over as CFO from Geoffrey Richardson, while Sebastien Borel will become chief commercial officer. Vogelgesang joined the company in July 2021 as senior vice president for finance and controlling, while Borel has been senior vice president commercial since April 2022, and was previously vice president business.
Richardson has been with Lilium since November 2020. As CFO, he was instrumental in securing the start-up’s Nasdaq listing in September 2021 and then in raising $119 million in a funding round completed in November 2022.
According to the company, the next phase of its plans to bring the six-seat Lilium Jet into commercial service will require its senior leadership team to be co-located in Germany, reporting to newly appointed CEO Klaus Roewe. Richardson is based in California.
Lilium recently completed the third of four audits for its application to secure an EASA design organization approval, with the final audit expected to happen during the first half of this year. The approval is an important prerequisite for obtaining type certification. The company intends to build a production-conforming prototype this year that will be ready to start flight testing.