Richard Branson – Mr. Virgin

Born    : 18 July 1950 in Blackheath, London, United Kingdom

Residence        :  London, England, UK

Nationality      :  British

Occupation      :  Chairman of Virgin Group

Net worth        :  above$2.5 billion

Spouse(s)         : Joan Templeman (1989–present), Kristen Tomassi (1972–1979), divorced

Children          : Holly Branson ,Sam Branson

Richard’s parents continually set him challenges, because they were determined to make him independent. When Richard was four years old, his mother would stop the car a few miles from their house and made him find his own way home across the fields. When he was 12 years of age, one early morning, his mom packed some sandwiches and an apple and told Richard to cycle to Bournemouth that was fifty miles away from his home. There was no water in the pack and his mother told him to find it along the way. Richard’s mother thought such exercises would teach her son the importance of stamina and a sense of direction. Richard says he had no idea how he passed the test, but he walked into the kitchen the next day like a conquering hero, feeling tremendously proud of his marathon bike ride and expecting a huge welcome.

‘Well done, Ricky,’ his mom greeted him in the kitchen, where she was chopping onions. ‘Was that fun? Now, could you run along to the vicar’s? He’s got some log to be chopped, and I told him that you’d be back any minute!’

When Richard was five, during a family holiday vacation, his Auntie Joyce, had bet him ten shillings that he couldn’t learn to swim by the end of the fortnight. He spent hours in the sea trying to swim against the freezing-cold waves, but by the last day he still couldn’t do it. He just splashed along with one foot hopping on the bottom. He’d lunge forward and crash beneath the waves before spluttering up to the surface trying not to swallow the sea water.

‘Never mind, Ricky,’ Auntie Joyce said. ‘There’s always next year.’ But he determined not to wait that long. He doubted if she would remember it the next year. On their last day, as they drove along he saw a river. ‘Daddy, can you stop the car, please?’ he said. This river was his last chance: he was sure that he could swim and win Auntie Joyce’s ten shillings.

He pulled off his clothes and ran down to the riverbank in his underpants. He didn’t dare to stop in case anyone changed their mind. He braced himself and jumped forward against the current, and came back above the surface taking a deep breath. He swam across the surface of the river successfully. After all, he had to win the ten shillings!

No wonder, Richard crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Arctic Canada in January 1991 in a hot-air balloon, the furthest distance of 4,767 miles and he broke all existing records, with speeds of up to 245 miles per hour.

In 1970 he founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer, and not long after he opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. During 1972 a recording studio was built in Oxfordshire, and the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded “Tubular Bells” which was released in 1973.This album went on to sell over 5 million copies! Since then many household names, including Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Phil Collins, Janet Jackson and The Rolling Stones have helped to make Virgin Music one of the top six record companies in the world. The equity of Virgin Music Group – record labels, music publishing, and recording studios was sold to EMI in 1992 in a $1 billion deal.

The Virgin Group has now expanded into international music Mega stores, air travel, mobile, financial, retail, music, internet, drinks, rail, hotels and leisure, with around 200 companies in over 30 countries.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways, formed in 1984, is now the second largest British long haul international airline and operates a fleet of Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 aircraft to New York, Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Delhi, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Shanghai and the Caribbean. The airline, which carries one million passengers annually, is based on the concept of offering a competitive and high quality Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy service. The airline has won many major awards, including Airline of the Year Award several times.

In 1997 Virgin took over Britain’s two most run-down rail franchises, Cross-Country and the West Coast Main Line. In 2002, the combined sales of the different Virgin holding companies exceeded ELI-billion. In addition to his own business activity, Richard is a trustee of several charities including the Virgin Healthcare Foundation a leading healthcare charity which was responsible for the launch of a health education campaign relating to AIDS in 1987.

In December 1999, Richard Branson was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Millennium New Year’s Honors List for “Services To Entrepreneurship”

Richard Branson – Mr. Virgin
Rate this post