Former CEO of Airbus Defence and Space Dirk Hoke will be leading German startup Volocopter as the company’s new CEO and managing director this fall. Hoke will replace Florian Reuter, who is stepping down upon his own wishes in September, the company announced today.
“I have known Dirk for a number of years and am convinced that his experience and leadership style are a perfect match for the strategy and culture at Volocopter, which is why I put his name forward to the board,” Reuter said in a press release.
For the past seven years, Reuter has grown the Volocopter team from a five-person startup to around 500 employees in Germany and Singapore. Over the years, the company has completed more than 1,000 public and private flight tests with its eVTOL aircraft, raising a total of US$579 million in funds.
It recently closed on US$170 million in its Series E funding round, which the company said will be used to help certify its VoloCity eVTOL aircraft and begin commercial operations in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Speaking of Reuter’s announced departure in September, Stefan Klocke, chair of Volocopter’s advisory board said, “We fully respect and understand his personal decision and are happy to keep him in the family as a friend and shareholder.”
Hoke left Airbus in September after spending nearly six years at the aerospace company. Prior to Airbus, he spent almost 11 years at German technology company Siemens, serving in various executive roles. Hoke said he believes his extensive experience working at big tech companies will help the Volocopter team “monetize on the leading market position Volocopter has achieved under Florian’s leadership. Volocopter’s product line-up, its certification progress, team spirit, and ecosystem approach put us in a unique competitive position.”
Volocopter is developing a series of eVTOL aircraft, which includes a two-seat VoloCity, as well as a larger passenger-carrying VoloConnect, and an uncrewed VoloDrone for cargo transport. The company said it is the only eVTOL developer that has obtained design, as well as production organization approvals, from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).