Sir Richard Branson is a British business mogul most famed for founding Virgin Group, which consists of more than 400 companies. As the 4th richest citizen of UK he also made it in the Forbes list of billionaires. Branson’s net worth is approximately 4.2 billion dollars.
Branson was born on 18th July 1950 in Surrey, London. He attended Scaitcliffe School and then Stowe School. Since his childhood he suffered from dyslexia and had a rather poor academic performance however later on he found his innate ability to connect with people. His first business venture was a magazine called ‘The Student’ which became an overnight success. He transacted under the name ‘Virgin’ because he was new at business. Branson opened his own record shop in London which also earned him a lot of money. In 1972, he launched his record label ‘Virgin Records’ and set up his recording studio in a country estate that he had purchased. He rent out the studio to several artists and among the first to do so was Mike Oldfield with his album ‘Tubular Bells’. This album was in fact the first release by Virgin Records which also became chart topper and best seller. Virgin Records became known for signing even controversial bands such as ‘Sex Pistols’ which were refused by other record companies. Virgin Records was also responsible for exposing the public to music like Faust and Can and introducing Culture Club to the music industry. In 1992 Branson had to sell his Virgin label which was bought by EMI for £500 million. Branson was very unhappy about the sale because it had been the first company of the Virgin Empire.
In 1984, Branson started the Virgin Atlantic Airways followed by Virgin Mobiles in 1999 and Virgin Blue (now called Virgin Australia) in 2000. Branson was ranked 9th in the Sunday Times Rich List of 2006 with a net worth of more than £3 billion. Before the launch of Virgin Mobiles, Branson decided to expand into the railway industry which is considered to be a risky venture by many. Virgin Trains also got the franchises for Cross-Country sections of the British Rail as well as the Intercity West Coast. Virgin Group also acquired the Euro Belgian Airlines which was called Virgin Express. It also started a national airline in Nigeria by the name of Virgin Nigeria. Virgin America, another airline began in August 2007. A less successful brand of Virgin Group was Virgin Vodka and Virgin Cola. Virgin Group now comprises of 400 companies in more than 30 countries. Richard Branson is also known for his world record breaking attempts out of which he succeeded in crossing the Atlantic in his Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1986 and the Atlantic and Pacific crossing in a hot-air balloon in 1987 and 1991 respectively. He was knighted in 1999 for his immense contribution to the world of business.
Richard Branson is truly an international entrepreneur, icon and adventurer whose Virgin conglomerate has provided worldwide services with world class quality.