Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson is a famous British entrepreneur and founder of the international brand Virgin. Known best for his successful companies under the “Virgin” brand name and their products. He is also famous for his extreme world record breaking attempts. Richard Branson was born on July 18, 1950, while attending school he started a magazine called “Student” at 16 years of age. Branson started a Student Advisory Center at when he was just 17, with the aim of helping young people.
At the tender age of 20 he also started a company called “Virgin” which operated as a mail order record store. Soon after he opened a Virgin record store in Oxford Street, London and then a recording studio in Oxfordshire in 1972. Mike Oldfield was the first artist to sign with Virgin records creating the album “Tubular Bells” which was released in 1973. The album sold more than five million copies. At 27 Branson signed another known band called “Sex Pistols” to Virgin Records after the band were turned down by every record label in England.
During his ownership of Virgin Records Branson turned it into a major success signing big 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. In 1992 Richard Branson sold the Virgin Music Group record labels, music publishing and recording studios to Thorn EMI in a $1 billion deal.
In 1984 Branson moved into the airline industry starting “Virgin Atlantic Airways” which has become the second largest English long haul international airline and operates a fleet of aircraft to New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, and Tokyo. Since 1985, he has been involved in a number of record-breaking land and air speed and distance attempts In 1986, with his boat, “Virgin Atlantic Challenger II,” he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the fastest recorded time ever.
One year later, the hot air balloon called the “Virgin Atlantic Flyer” was the first hot air balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and was the largest ever flown at 2. 3 million cubic feet capacity, reaching speeds in excess of 130 mph. Again In 1991, Branson crossed the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Arctic Canada, breaking all existing records with speeds of up to 245 mph in a balloon measuring 2. 6 million cubic feet.
He has guest starred, playing himself, on several TV shows, including “Friends”, “Baywatch” and “Only Fools and Horses”. He is also the star of a show called “The Rebel Billionaire”. In addition to his business activities Branson is also a trustee of a number of charities, including The Healthcare Foundation. He became Sir Richard Branson after being knighted by the Queen in 1999 for his business ability and enthusiasm for the spirit of Britain. He lives in London and Oxfordshire and is married with two children.