November 13, 2023 – Benchmark Executive Search, a boutique provider of cybersecurity talent, has recruited Brett Alexander as chief revenue officer of Firefly Aerospace, an end-to-end space transportation company with launch, lunar, and on-orbit services. “We retained Benchmark because this is absolutely a can’t miss role for us, and we knew we needed the right industry leader to join our team at this exciting time in our growth,” said Bill Weber, CEO at Firefly Aerospace. “I knew Benchmark would deliver exactly that person – and they did in Brett Alexander.”
“Brett Alexander brings a distinguished track record and reputation of leadership coupled with deep experience in space and mission expertise to Firefly Aerospace,” said Jeremy King, president of Benchmark. We look forward to following his progress and finding ways to add additional value.”
Mr. Alexander most recently led Blue Origin’s government sales across civil and national security space sectors for more than 10 years. Previously, he served in leadership roles at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, as well as senior advisor roles on the NASA advisory council and the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space transportation advisory committee. Mr. Alexander’s former experience also includes senior policy analyst roles at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, the Aerospace Corporation, and ANSER Corporation.
In his new position, Mr. Alexander will be responsible for building and executing Firefly’s global revenue strategy across all sectors of their business – launch, landing, and orbit – to both the government and commercial market segments. The position reports to Mr. Weber.
Headquartered in Cedar Park, TX, Firefly is a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners (AEI) focused on delivering responsive, reliable, and affordable space access for government and commercial customers. Firefly’s small- to medium-lift launch vehicles, lunar landers, and orbital vehicles provide the space industry with a single source for missions from low Earth orbit to the surface of the Moon and beyond.
Benchmark Executive Search, based in Reston, VA, focuses on helping start-ups, emerging growth and mid-cap companies recruit leaders with government or private public sector experience to work in the defense, intelligence and national security markets in areas like information technology, military communications, homeland security, cyber-warfare, cloud and analytics, among others.
Mr. King, the firm’s founder, has nearly 20 years of senior-level recruiting experience. He specializes at the intersection of VC/PE backed technology innovators, government contractors and federal mission needs matching them to senior cyber/national/corporate security executives and board members. He has developed deep relationships with government and industry insiders, particularly within the intelligence, DoD and national security communities. He has worked with over 350 start-ups, emerging growth companies as well as publicly traded leaders.
The chief revenue officer essentially owns everything that goes to market – sales, account management, customer success, and sometimes marketing as well, according to a recent report from ON Partners. Ten years ago, there was no such position as CRO. The role was known as head of global sales or VP of sales, depending on how companies defined the role. But as executives in that position continued to see other key functional experts reporting directly to the CEO, they wanted a seat at the executive table as well.
According to ON Partners, the CRO role demands different skill-sets depending on the client. “For a smaller growth company, someone who thrives in an early-stage environment and enjoys building things from scratch – hiring, putting key tools and processes in place – requires a unique person who is good at the heavy lifting required to acquire market share and evangelize,” the firm said.
That person can be different from one needed by a more established company doing $10 million to $20 million per year in revenue, who understands how to improve on and tweak the work of his or her predecessor, according to ON Partners. For a $100 million-plus organization, the CRO needs to understand how to lead large teams in a complex, matrixed environment selling across multiple market segments on a global basis. That said, certain qualities remain consistent. Every CRO must know how to hire the right team, lead good people, and have a strong sense of how to build and scale a company.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media