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Whitehorn's early career was as a crewman on North Sea helicopters and also with the Thomas Cook travel agency. In 1987, Whitehorn joined the Virgin Group after being talent spotted by Sir Richard Branson. He had suggested a number of ideas to Virgin the previous year, in 1986, whereupon the company recruited him formally. He rose to become the head of Virgin's public affairs department.[when?] In that role, where he was effectively the official spokesperson for the company, he was sometimes characterized as Richard Branson's "right-hand man".
- Mather, Adrian (2004-10-08). First Edinburgh man in space. Retrieved on 2009-05-08 from http://news.scotsman.com/ViewArticle.aspx?articleid=2570336.[dead link]
- "Whitehorn appointed Transport Systems Catapult chair". Rail Technology Magazine. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015.