Former head of Alphabet's Loon joins Starship Technologies as new CEO

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Autonomous robotics company Starship Technologies has a new CEO. The company on Tuesday said Alastair Westgarth, the former CEO of Alphabet’s Loon, would be leading the company as it looks to expand its robotics delivery service.

Westgarth previously headed Loon, Alphabet’s experiment to deliver broadband via high-altitude balloons, from 2017. The project shut down for good at the beginning of this year. The company said in a farewell blog post that “the road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped.” Prior to working at Loon, Westgarth headed the wireless antennae company Quintel Solutions, was a vice president at telecommunications company Nortel and director of engineering at Bell Mobility.

He will be joining Starship Technologies at a time of rapid expansion. At the beginning of 2020, Starship only had a couple hundred autonomous bots operating in a few neighborhoods and college campuses. Last month the company said the number of deliveries since the start of the pandemic quadrupled, hitting a milestone 1.5 million commercial deliveries globally.

“Autonomous delivery is changing logistics as we know it, impacting billions of people around the world,” Westgarth said in a statement Tuesday. “The team at Starship has been developing and perfecting the technology and its operations for years, since creating the robot delivery category in 2014 […] I’m excited about this opportunity and looking forward to helping the company scale both on campuses and in neighborhoods, giving millions more people access to this market-leading, convenient, safe and environmentally friendly delivery service.”

Starship's previous CEO Lex Bayer quietly departed in December 2020, after nearly three years at the helm. Its co-founder Ahti Heinla, who acted as interim CEO, will now become Starship's CTO.