- Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic, says he has stage-three colon cancer but is continuing to work.
- In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he also revealed that he had a tumor removed.
- Richard Branson’s airline recently said cabin crew will be allowed to display tattoos when working.
The CEO of Virgin Atlantic has revealed he has cancer and had a tumor removed but will continue to run Richard Branson’s airline while being treated.
In an interview with the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, Shai Weiss said he discovered he has stage-three colon cancer after seeking medical advice as he struggled to shake off an extended bout of tiredness after catching Covid.
“We’ve caught it in time. It’s not spread to other major organs. So this chemotherapy is to ensure there’s no recurrence of cancer.”
Weiss told the newspaper that he is undergoing a three-month course of chemotherapy to remove cancerous cells in the surrounding lymph nodes.
“I’m still working. But there are days I’m off. When I need to go to treatment,” Weiss added. “When I’m in a bad state, not all my days are perfect, not all my days are great, and it’s not all smiles.”
Weiss is not the first business leader to carry on working after being diagnosed with cancer. In 2014 JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon revealed that he had throat cancer, and although he made fewer public appearances, he continued to run the Wall Street bank.
The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, shared in 2015 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma.
Weiss, however, stressed that he did not feel sorry for himself: “It’s just something that I’ve got to get through. I understand all the risks, but my efforts are focused on getting well and getting back. For myself, my family, my friends, and the company.”
Weiss has been Virgin Atlantic’s CEO since January 2019 but joined in 2014 as its finance chief. Last week Virgin became the first UK airline to allow its cabin crew to display tattoos while working.
Insider contacted Virgin Atlantic for comment.
In the interview, Weiss said he continued to look forward rather than backward: “I’m a positive individual. Why would I be looking back? I’m looking forward – that’s who I am.”
Despite continuing to work, he did not underestimate the toll his treatment would take: “There’s nothing good about cancer to be categorical. Chemo is a terrible thing. It needs to attack the body – it’s poison.”