Richard Branson’s biography
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English entrepreneur and investor, co-founder of the multinational Virgin Group, which consists of more than 400 companies around the world. Forbes magazine estimated his financial condition at $ 5 billion.
The businessman is famous for his participation in the space tourism project, his love to shock the public, a passion for extreme travel and a penchant for adventurism.
Among his extravagant deeds – appearing at the opening of the salon for the newlyweds of his company in a women’s wedding dress, a record hot air balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean, a high-speed crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious car, shooting in a provocative photo shoot for Vanity Fair magazine.
The photo was taken in the Caribbean off Sir Richard’s Necker Island while kitesurfing with a fully nude South African supermodel Danny Parkinson sitting on the back of a business tycoon.
Childhood and adolescence of Richard Branson
The shocking billionaire was born on July 18, 1950 in southeast London in the Blackheath area with a lawyer-barrister and a former flight attendant on airplanes. In addition to him, the couple had two younger daughters. Branson’s father was noble. He was the son of a Supreme Court Justice of England and a Privy Councilor.
Mrs Branson had a great influence on the formation and formation of a strong character of her son. Although the methods of her upbringing were not entirely unambiguous. So in childhood, she arranged serious tests for him. For example, once a woman dropped her 4-year-old son out of a car a few kilometers from the house and told him to look for his dad, while she left.
Branson received his education in closed educational institutions, as befits a child from a hereditary aristocrat’s family. He initially attended Scaitcliffe boarding school for boys aged 6 to 13 in the small village of Eghem in Surrey. Then, until the age of 16, he attended the Stowe boarding school, located a hundred kilometers from London in Buckinghamshire.
Having problems with learning ability due to dyslexia, he studied poorly, but even then he showed a penchant for extraordinary initiatives, which were supported in every possible way by his mother. For example, he made proposals for reforming existing school traditions and organizations to the director of his privileged educational institution, Robert Drayson.
In particular, the young man defended the idea of organizing a bar for high school students, redesigning the canteen into a buffet, saving on the number of employees, canceling the rule for all students to attend football matches, arguing that it is unethical to make strong players look at the success of the weaker schoolchildren. … As a result, when the young man graduated from school in 1967, the director, saying goodbye, noticed that in the future he would either go to prison or become a millionaire. As it turned out, the teacher was not mistaken.
Richard Branson’s early career
The first successful project of the current oligarch was the release of the free magazine for the youth audience Student in 1968. Together with a friend, Richard managed to organize his ROI through advertisers, attract attention and interview famous personalities, including Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger, Scottish psychiatrist Ronald Laing, co-founder of the Beatles John Lennon. Although the publication had to close after about a year due to low profit margins, Branson gained invaluable business experience.
In addition, in parallel with the publishing business, the young entrepreneur opened a charity Student Consulting Center, which still exists, providing assistance in various fields (legal, psychological, medical).
Richard Branson and the Virgin Group
Branson’s next business venture was the mail-order sale of popular sound recordings. The company name Virgin (“Virgin”) was coined by his colleagues at Student.
1970 was a successful year for the company. But the next one was unprofitable because of the postal workers’ strike that swept across the country. As a result, Richard had the idea of opening his own music store, which he realized in 1971 with his school friend Nick Powell, having bought an estate north of Oxford for the studio.
The first release of the Virgin Records label was the debut album of 19-year-old multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, released in 1973, “Tubular Bells”. It became a bestseller, the leader of the UK charts and received a music Grammy, laying the financial foundation for the further successful development of the company.
Virgin has entered into contracts with controversial bands such as the controversial Sex Pistols, but at the same time has opened to the public the non-profit experimental rock that is present in the groups Faust and Can, the melodic pop group Culture Club of the new wave. The company also collaborated with Sting, Janet Jackson, Phil Collins, Rolling Stones, Belinda Carlisle and other performers. In 1982, the company acquired the gay nightclub Heaven.
Richard Branson’s business
With the aim of developing new directions of activity of the consortium, the tireless entrepreneur since 1983 has created many other companies of various profiles under his own brand. He opened businesses in real estate, insurance, trade, film production, loans, mobile services, tourism, retail sales of books, alcoholic beverages, investments in environmental, health projects and others.
In 1984, the businessman decided to found his own airline Virgin Atlantic Airlines, then organized the airlines Virgin Express, Nigeria, America. Due to financial difficulties and the development of Atlantic, in 1992 he had to sell the Virgin label to EMI for 500 million pounds (about 800 million dollars). Wanting to stay in the music business that started the entire corporation, he later formed the V2 record company.
In 2004, Branson announced Virgin Galactic’s involvement in a space travel project. The company received applications for participation in suborbital flights from 500 potential tourists at a tour cost per passenger of $ 250,000. For the needs of “space tourism” they opened the world’s first private “spaceport” in the desert of the Sierra State, New Mexico, developed a SpaceShipTwo rocket plane.
Richard Branson and the Virgin Group: a love of flying
Despite the fact that at the end of 2014, during tests, this device crashed, during which one of the pilots was killed, the richest man in the United Kingdom announced his intention to develop his research. In an interview, he noted that he dreams of admiring the Earth from space, having experienced acceleration from zero to three and a half thousand miles per hour in just 8 seconds and having experienced five-fold overloads.
In 2006, Branson announced his intention to invest about $ 3 billion in profits from the Atlantic airline and the rail company Trains in the creation of environmentally friendly fuels. In 2007, he opened a company that provides cord blood stem cell storage services, which can provide health insurance for the children of customers and for themselves throughout their lives.
Richard Branson’s Private Necker Island
In 2008, Sir Richard hosted a meeting of world leaders on his island of Necker in the Caribbean to discuss the concept of combating global warming. The event was attended by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, American businessman and founder of the Wikipedia portal Jimmy Wales, Google search engine developer Lawrence Page. Branson also instituted a $ 25 million prize for creators of technologies that effectively counteract the greenhouse effect.
Richard Branson records
The billionaire, known as both a hippie and an adrenaline junkie, is also famous for his attempts to break some world records, despite the riskiness of such ventures. So in 1985, he made an attempt to win the Atlantic Blue Ribbon prize, which is awarded to ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean in record time. As a result, his ship sank, and he himself was rescued by a British Air Force helicopter. A year later, he still broke the record, covering the distance 2 hours faster than the previous record holder.
Two years later, for the first time in history, he crossed the Atlantic in the largest balloon, with a volume of 65 thousand cubic meters, flying at a speed of more than 200 kilometers per hour.
In 1991, he flew from Japan to Canada over the Pacific Ocean on a balloon already in the volume of 74 thousand corresponding units. During the flight, Branson covered 11 thousand kilometers. At the same time, he set a new speed record (about 400 kilometers per hour).
Posner – Guest Richard Branson
In 2004, the oligarch also broke the speed record for crossing the English Channel. Moreover, he completed it in an amphibious vehicle (in one hour 40 minutes 6 seconds), increasing almost 4 times the previous achievement (6 hours).
Personal life of Richard Branson
Adventurous active lifestyle did not prevent Richard from arranging his personal life. His first marriage took place during the birth of Virgin. He married Kristen Tomassi, the marriage was short-lived. A friend could not stand the constant phone calls that accompanied the life of a novice businessman. They parted as friends.
The current second wife of the billionaire is named Joan. He met her at an antique shop, then, despite her marriage, courted her for a year. As a result, she left her husband and moved to an insistent admirer. In 1979, they had a daughter, Claire Sarah, who, unfortunately, only lived for 4 days. But the couple did not break up and did not give up trying to have offspring. A year later, they had a daughter, Holly, and after 4 more, she had a brother, Sam.
The daughter of a business tycoon is a pediatrician, and his son is involved in a film production company.
Despite the nickname “Lionheart”, Sir Richard is very kind to his children. Around Christmas 2015, Holi gave him twin grandchildren, and two months later, Sam had a son.
They have known Prince William and Harry since childhood, since Sir Richard was on friendly terms with Princess Diana. She and her children loved to relax on his island.
The billionaire’s autobiography, Losing Innocence, released in 1998, has become an international bestseller. He received a personal knighthood in 1999 for his contribution to entrepreneurship.
Richard Branson today
His credo in life, Richard considers the rule to do only what brings pleasure and interest, despite the lack of knowledge or experience in any area. He believes that life is too short to waste it on uninteresting things.
Currently, he sponsors environmental developments, projects to protect the jungle, which plays a decisive role in shaping the planet’s climate, as well as the organization “Elders”, designed to find ways to resolve world conflicts.
Virgin Galactic is also partnering with communications startup OneWeb to pursue the space internet. Branson has signed a contract to launch 39 commercial satellites that will be used to provide global access to the Web. The cost of the contract was not disclosed, but according to experts, it is in the range of $ 390 million. In addition, the companies reached an agreement on further cooperation and launching another hundred microsatellites. Virgin plans to use LauncherOne to launch them into orbit. The first launches are planned for 2017. The French company Arianspace is participating in the project, which has undertaken to carry out 21 launches using Soyuz carrier rockets.
Richard Branson’s TED interview
In 2015, the business tycoon, having sold his house in Oxfordshire to children, moved permanently to a luxurious mansion on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, where he owns the Necker Belle yacht, the Necker Nymph submarine and does not have to pay taxes.