Defense Secretary Mattis to Axe Ex-XCOR CEO from Key Pentagon Post

John (Jay) Gibson

Well, that didn’t last very long.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis plans to remove John “Jay” Gibson II from the post of chief management officer (CMO) for a “lack of performance.”

The decision comes less than a year after the former XCOR CEO joined the Defense Department as deputy CMO in November 2017. The Senate subsequently confirmed him as defense CMO in February 2018.

In that position, Gibson’s job is to find ways of making the massive defense bureaucracy more efficient to free up funding to modernize the armed forces.

XCOR hired Gibson in March 2015 to replace founder Jeff Greason as CEO. The objective was for Gibson to focus on the business side while Greason focused on completing construction on the Lynx suborbital space plane.

That arrangement did not work out. By November, Greason and two other founders, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson, had left the company to found Agile Aerospace.

The Trump Administration announced its nomination of Gibson for the post of deputy CMO in June 2017. He left XCOR shortly thereafter at a time when the struggling space company laid off all its employees. A few people were hired back on a contract basis.

XCOR filed for bankruptcy in November 2017. The company’s assets were purchased by a non-profit organization.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Ouch! He’ll do better next time no doubt.

  • 76 er

    Gibson came on board at XCOR and within 6-8 months the entire leadership team which founded that company had quit. Likewise this latest news shows that he himself only lasted 8-10 months at the CMO government post. He must have a ‘my way or the highway’ style of management, otherwise known as the ‘alpha male syndrome’. Reading between the lines it appears that he pissed-off too many people above his pay grade.

  • duheagle

    Gibson’s appointment to this job looked pretty iffy at the time. I always figured he called in some markers to arrange an exit from Midland just ahead of the Sheriff. Too bad for him Sec. Mattis seems to expect his subordinates to actually do their designated jobs, not just occupy space and draw a check.

  • publiusr

    Payback for Lynx.

  • 76 er

    I used to have XCOR’s site bookmarked. After they displayed pictures of the Lynx fuselage being delivered I expected the wings to be finished and installed in short order. That never happened. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering what was going on. I was really pulling for them and waiting to see the Lynx fly. Yep, XCOR deserved a better fate.

  • lawrence

    The worst single thing that happened at XCOR was the appointment of Jay Gibson. His poor performance and lack of leadership inspired the exodus of the best minds at that company, from leadership down to interns in 2014-2015. It cratered the company.

  • lawrence

    Steve Jobs talked about the bozo eruption after hiring b-players. That’s Jay. Worst CEO I have ever seen, and I have seen many.