Alphabet’s Wing Elevates Adam Woodworth to CEO

An Alphabet Inc. Google X Project Wing delivery drone flies during a demonstration at Virginia Tech
An Alphabet Inc. Google X Project Wing delivery drone flies during a demonstration at Virginia Tech. (Charles Mostoller/Bloomberg News)

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Alphabet Inc.’s Wing unit elevated its leading technology official to head the company as it seeks to rapidly expand its drone delivery operations, including in the Dallas suburbs.

Adam Woodworth, who has spent his entire career designing new-age aircraft, was named Wing’s chief executive officer, the company said in an announcement Feb. 15. He replaces James Ryan Burgess, who is stepping aside from most of his duties following a health issue.

“Adam’s involvement in just about everything Wing has been doing to date, and James’ continued advisory support, will allow us to continue to grow,” the company said in a press release.

Wing has become what it calls the world’s largest residential drone delivery service. In the first six weeks of this year, the company says it has performed 25,000 deliveries by drone, a tenfold increase over the same period last year.

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It does the most business in Australia, where it has begun deliveries from a mall in Logan City, near Brisbane. It also has been testing deliveries using its hybrid aircraft in Christiansburg, Va., and in Finland. It plans to expand soon to a Walgreens in suburban Dallas from which it can carry small items to the nearby Texas communities of Frisco and Little Elm.

Woodworth, 36, has worked at Wing since 2014. He became chief technology officer in 2018, according to his LinkedIn page. He previously worked at Aurora Flight Sciences, a Virginia-based company.

Burgess, 39, will remain an adviser to the company, the release said. He is recovering from the undisclosed health issue, but opted not to return to his job.

Wing, Inc.’s Prime Air and United Parcel Service Inc. are racing to develop drone delivery services they are betting will revolutionize retailing and other commerce. But the trajectory remains unclear with U.S. regulators still devising sets of rules for the new technology.