Spaceship company Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc said on Friday that venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya would step down from his roles as chairman and board member to focus on other corporate commitments.

The company's board appointed director Evan Lovell as interim chairman until a new chair is in place.

Palihapitiya joined Virgin Galactic's board as its first chairman when the company went public in 2019.

"Chamath was instrumental in the launch of Virgin Galactic as a public company and, as our inaugural chair, his deep and astute insights have been incredibly valuable to both me and the company as we have grown and strengthened our business foundation," said Michael Colglazier, chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic.

Palihapitiya is the founder and CEO of Social Capital, a firm that invests in companies of all stages and has backed companies such as Virgin Galactic, Opendoor, Slack as well as over 70 private investments.

Last year, Palihapitiya confirmed in a tweet that he has freed up some capital by selling shares in Virgin Galactic for investing at scale without impacting his pace and strategic view. 

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Amy Caren Daniel) ((;))