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MLA Places Blake Bilstad as Chief Legal Officer at Aviation Disruptor Skyryse

Hanover, MD (May 24, 2023) — Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA), the world’s leading legal search firm, today announced the placement of Blake Bilstad as Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at SkyryseTM. The search was conducted by Deborah Ben-Canaan, partner and senior practice leader, and  Thanh Nguyen, managing director, both with MLA’s In-House Counsel Recruiting group.

Los Angeles-based Skyryse is bringing trust, safety, and the accessibility of flight for all through FlightOS, its easy and intuitive integrated flight control system. FlightOS removes many complexities of managing an aircraft during standard flight operations, inclement weather, and emergencies. Skyryse has raised more than $260 million from leading investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company, Monashee Investment Management, ArrowMark Partners, Venrock, Eclipse Ventures, Cantos, Stanford University, and Bill Ford, Executive Chair, Ford Motor Company.

As Chief Legal Officer, Bilstad will lead all legal and compliance matters for Skyryse, including advising senior leadership on commercial agreements and corporate governance. He will also assist the company with supporting business negotiations, reviewing and drafting agreements and contracts, and ensuring legal compliance for safety matters, consumer protection, real estate, and employee relations. Bilstad also will play a strong role at Skyryse as the company continues to develop its highly automated flight control system, including the protection of the company’s intellectual property and innovative business model within the industry.

“Blake’s distinguished career helping high-growth, high-revenue disruptive technology companies evolve and expand their businesses will lead Skyryse into its next phase of growth and development,” said Deborah Ben-Canaan. “It was an incredible privilege working on this exciting search to find a talented chief legal officer who brings both the substantive skills to scale legal/compliance and the entrepreneurial passion to support Skyryse’s mission,” added Thanh Nguyen.

Blake brings more than two decades of corporate legal experience to Skyryse, supporting the growth and leadership of several category-disrupting companies. Before joining Skyryse, he served as the Chief Legal Officer at Beachbody as it evolved the connected fitness industry beyond traditional workouts and nutrition into digital and subscription-based models. He was also the Chief Legal Officer and a board of directors member for dosistTM, an award-winning cannabis startup. Previously, Blake led the legal charge for sports entertainment pioneer WWE during its transformation into a global digital platform and its most dramatic period of market-cap growth. He also served as the General Counsel of Provide Commerce, the parent company of the brands ProFlowers®, Shari’s Berries®, and RedEnvelope®.

Blake began his in-house legal career helping music industry disruptor MP3.com go public and its eventual acquisition by Vivendi Universal, where he served as the Senior Vice President, Legal Affairs of its U.S. Internet group. He started his legal career as a business associate at Cooley Godward after a clerkship with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He earned his Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in History magna cum laude from Duke University.

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