Stuart Simpson takes over as Vertical Aerospace CEO


As departing CEO and company founder Stephen Fitzpatrick transitions to the board, Vertical’s chief financial officer Stuart Simpson is taking over the top spot at the UK-based eVTOL developer. 

In a career spanning 30 years, Simpson has had leadership roles across the technology, automotive and logistics sectors. He will be responsible for leading the execution of the Vertical’s strategy as it progresses towards certification and market entry of its aircraft, including further fundraising activity.

“It’s been phenomenal to experience the progress the business has made since I joined, and I could not be more excited to move into this role,” said Simpson. “I share Stephen’s confidence that our experienced team, technology, and compelling business model of working with leading industry partners position us very well to successfully develop one of the most advanced electric aircraft in the world.”

Simpson joined Vertical Aerospace in 2023 from Avast, a global FTSE100 firm specialising in digital security and privacy, where he was group chief financial officer.  Prior to that, he held a number of executive roles including interim CEO at Royal Mail. 

Founder and current CEO, Stephen Fitzpatrick will continue to play a “prominent” role in Vertical as a board member, with a focus on business strategy, according to the company.

“Stuart’s extensive leadership experience in high growth technology based companies make him incredibly well qualified to lead the company into this next phase and I know he shares my passion to bring the benefits of electric aviation to the world,” said Fitzpatrick. “I look forward to seeing what Vertical is going to achieve under his leadership.”

Vertical has also appointed Ben Story, a former director at Rolls-Royce, board member at Transport for London and MD at Citi. “I’ve been following the exciting progress Vertical has been making in this nascent sector,” said Story. “The talented team has achieved so much in a relatively short amount of time. I look forward to playing my part in taking the business into this next exciting phase and bringing the VX4 to market.”

The changes come as the final assembly of the new generation full-scale VX4 prototype nears completion, with the aircraft on track to begin a test flight programme ahead of intended public demonstrations at Farnborough International Airshow and Heathrow Airport later this year.