Sir Richard Branson

Richard Branson was born in 1950, and educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine called Student at the age of sixteen. At seventeen, he started a student advisor service center to help young people. In 1970 he founded Virgin as a mail order record company and shortly after opened a record shop on Oxford Street, London. In 1972, a recording studio was built in Oxfordshire where the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded "Tubular Bells" which was released in 1973.


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Entrepreneurism, Leadership, Management, Strategy


Full Bio


Richard Branson was born in 1950, and educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine called Student at the age of sixteen. At seventeen, he started a student advisor service center to help young people. In 1970 he founded Virgin as a mail order record company and shortly after opened a record shop on Oxford Street, London. In 1972, a recording studio was built in Oxfordshire where the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded "Tubular Bells" which was released in 1973.

 

The first album of the newly created Virgin Records went on to sell over 5 million copies and over the years many household names, including Steve Winwood, Paula Abdul, Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Simple Minds, The Human League, Bryan Ferry, Culture Club, Janet Jackson and the Rolling Stones helped make Virgin one of the top six record companies in the world. The equity of Virgin Music Group - - record labels, music publishing and recording studios - - was subsequently sold to Thorn EMI in 1992 in a $1 billion deal.

 

In addition to the airline, founded in 1984, the interests of the Virgin Group have now expanded to include international 'Megastore' music retailing, book and software publishing, film and video editing facilities, clubs and hotels through over 100 companies in 15 countries.

 

In 1991-92, the combined sales of the Virgin Group of  Companies were nearly $1.5 billion. In addition to his own business activities, Richard is a trustee of several charities including the Healthcare Foundation, a leading healthcare charity which was responsible for the launch of a health education campaign relating to Aids in 1987. The Foundation has become involved in a lobbying campaign to restrict tobacco advertising and sponsorship in sports called 'Parents Against Tobacco'. His help in the initial funding of Charity Projects helped that organization to raise over $50 million in 1989 alone.

 

Since 1985, Richard has also been involved in a number of world record-breaking attempts. In 1986, his boat 'Virgin Atlantic Challenger II,' rekindled the spirit of the Blue Riband by crossing the Atlantic but was the largest ever flown at 2.3 million cubic feet capacity, reaching speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour. In January 1991, he crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Arctic Canada, again breaking all existing records with speeds of up to 245 miles per hour, in a balloon of 2.6 million cubic feet.

 

Richard lives in London and Oxfordshire and is married to Joan with two children, Sam and Holly.

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