Dex Torricke-Barton spent the past half-decade writing speeches for two of the tech industry’s most prominent CEOs. Now he’s headed to SpaceX to run communications for a different one.
Torricke-Barton is taking the head communications job at SpaceX, the rocket and aerospace company run by CEO Elon Musk, the one that is trying to put humans on Mars. Torricke-Barton spent the last four years working at Facebook, primarily writing speeches for CEO Mark Zuckerberg, but also the company’s other top executives.
He did the same at Google for then-CEO Eric Schmidt before that, and also spent three years working with the United Nations and its secretary-general.
Now Torricke-Barton will run his own comms team, which entails much more than writing speeches — but we assume he’ll probably write a few speeches for Musk along the way, too.
Speech writing is typically viewed as a political skill, but it’s a stark reminder that as the tech industry has increased in reach and relevance, so too have its star executives. In that vein, it’s no surprise that Zuckerberg (and other top execs) would have someone skilled at speech writing to help him prepare remarks for events where other world leaders and policy makers are in the audience.
That will likely be important for Musk and SpaceX. Condensing the grand idea of interplanetary travel into something we regular folks can actually digest and understand will be Torricke-Barton’s new job.
“As someone who grew up devouring science fiction, before making a career telling stories, it was impossible to pass up the chance to tell this one,” he wrote in his blog.
Torricke-Barton left Facebook at the end of March and plans to take up his new post as senior director of communications at SpaceX in May.
Update: Musk may have hired a speechwriter but he doesn’t need one! Musk tweeted in response to this story that while Dex will indeed run comms, Musk’s off-the-cuff style isn’t going to change.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.