Firefly Aerospace has named long-time aerospace and defense executive, Bill Weber, as the company’s CEO, effective immediately. Firefly is a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners (“AEI”), a U.S.-based private equity firm that specializes in aerospace, defense and government services, space, power and utility services, and specialty industrial markets.
Mr. Weber previously served as President, CEO, and Director of KeyW Corporation (NASDAQ: KEYW), a provider of agile cyber operations and warfare, data analytics and geospatial satellite payloads and sensors for U.S. government intelligence and defense customers, as well as the commercial sector. During his tenure, he led the Company through a multi-year transformation, focusing on driving consistent growth, operational discipline, and divestitures and acquisitions, culminating in the sale of KeyW to Jacobs Engineering Group (NYSE: J).
Mr. Weber most recently founded First Light Acquisition Group as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, a company focused on investing in technology-enabled solutions with mission-critical applications. Prior to KeyW, Mr. Weber served as President and Chief Operating Officer of XLA, a privately-held, national security and diplomacy technology firm. He previously was President of Kaseman, a technology services firm providing foreign policy assistance to the U.S. government, and has spent the balance of his career in leadership positions in the technology sector serving the A&D community.
A veteran U.S. Army Officer and an Airborne Ranger, Mr. Weber was awarded the Bronze Star for actions during Operation Desert Storm. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington University and is a graduate of The Executive Program at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He currently serves on the boards of Modus eDiscovery, Buchanan Edwards, and America’s Warrior Partnership.
“Bill is a proven leader with an impressive record of helping companies successfully navigate change, making him the clear choice to lead Firefly during this transitional growth period,” said Peter Schumacher, Partner at AE Industrial Partners, who served as interim CEO of the Company. “His deep experience and strong relationships across many areas of the A&D landscape will be invaluable as Firefly transitions to full-rate production across its portfolio of products. On behalf of the Firefly and AEI teams, I welcome him to the Company.”
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to lead a company on the forefront of critical, leading-edge space transportation solutions, and I am honored to join the talented Firefly team,” said Mr. Weber. “I respect and admire Firefly’s innovative corporate culture, which has led to its success, and I know that Firefly is poised to achieve great things. I look forward to collaborating with the Firefly and AEI teams at this critical juncture in the Company’s development.”
“We’re confident that Firefly will transform the space industry with its game-changing technologies, and Bill’s successful track record delivering new technologies for space and defense companies will help to accelerate the Company’s vision and market leadership,” said Kirk Konert, Chairman of Firefly and Partner at AEI. “As a former public company CEO at KeyW, Bill is the perfect mix of space and defense technologist and is an accomplished executive respected by some of the world’s largest financial institutions. I am excited to work closely with him and the management team during the Company’s next stage of growth.”
Firefly has scheduled the second launch of its Alpha rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base for September 11th. It was also announced last month that Firefly has partnered with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) to develop an American-built, first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket and a new medium-lift launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets. This collaboration will provide American-built engines to replace the Russian-made RD-181 engines.
Headquartered in Cedar Park, TX, Firefly Aerospace is an emerging end-to-end space transportation company focused on developing a family of launch vehicles, in-space vehicles, and services to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience, and reliability to its government and commercial customers. Firefly’s launch vehicles, combined with their in-space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, provide the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon and beyond. For more information, please see www.firefly.com.
AE Industrial Partners is a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power & utility services, and specialty industrial markets. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from its deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout its target markets. AE Industrial Partners is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and the ILPA Diversity in Action initiative. Learn more at www.aeroequity.com.