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Benjamin Lyon, a star hire for Astra, resigns; management team reorganised

Another change is being made in the upper echelons of Astra, a space firm. On Friday, the business announced that Benjamin Lyon, chief engineer for the last two years, had resigned. Instead of looking for a replacement, Astra elevated four critical employees to management roles, where they would now report directly to CEO Chris Kemp and other C-Suite employees.

After more than two decades with Apple, Astra recruited Lyon in February 2021. Although CEO Chris Kemp was insistent at the time that the firm needed someone from outside the aerospace sector, the transition from consumer electronics to rockets was nonetheless made. He claimed, “[Lyon] hired a handful of star players.” “It was quite obvious to all of us that elevating his team to our management team and taking use of their expertise would greatly improve efficiency.”

In addition, Kemp stated that at least two of the promotions had been approved roughly a month ago: Giovanni Greco, who is now leading launch system delivery, and Jonathan Donaldson, who will lead Astra Spacecraft Engine delivery. Lyon had an opportunity to join a Fortune 500 company in a C-level position. Doug Kunzman will now oversee launch and test operations, while Bryson Gentile will oversee production.

These are hardly all of the recent personnel shifts at Astra. The September announcement of Axel Martinez’s hiring as chief financial officer came as SpaceX works to expand its spacecraft business and speed up development of its launch system and Rocket 4.0. Kati Dahm, the company’s vice president of communications, left two months later.

Astra also reduced their employment by 16 percent during this time of transition. Executives said they expect the layoffs to result in payroll savings in the first quarter of next year during an earnings call with investors.