Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin group
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born in London in the year 1950. His mother was a ballet dancer and air hostess and his father was a barrister. He was educated at a school in Berkshire, before briefly attending Cliff View House School in Sussex. Thereafter he attended a school in Buckinghamshire until the age of sixteen.
As a student, Richard was poor in studies and had dyslexia or reading disorder. At the last day of his school, his headmaster told him that he would either end in prison or become a millionaire. When he was 16 years old, he dropped out and started his first magazine The Student. He advertised popular records in his magazine. Very soon he started his own record business from the same church where he ran The Student. He started trading under the name Virgin and the price of records was kept significantly lower than other outlets.
Richard eventually started a record shop in London. Initially he faced some charges from the legal authorities for selling records that were meant for export. A hefty fine was imposed on him and his mother had to re-mortgage the family home to pay the settlement. But this trouble was temporary and he made a lot of money from his store. This helped Richard launch the record label Virgin Records.Mike Oldfield was the first artist on the Virgin Records label to record a single Tubular Bells. The song was an instant hit and stayed on the UK charts for 247 weeks.
Richard soon started venturing in other areas and in 1980 started a travel company Voyager group. Soon after in 1984 he started the airline Virgin Atlantic. But the success of his entrepreneurial journey was not without speed breakers and in 1992, the company was struggling to remain financially viable. He had to take a tough call and he finally decided to sell the company to THORN EMI for $1 Billion. According to reports, he cried when the contract papers were signed.
Though he was devastated by the turn of events, he remained resolute in his decision to stay in the music business. Two years later, in 1993, he founded Virgin Radio and in 1996 he started a second record company V2. Virgin group holds more than 200 companies in more than 30 countries. His business includes a train company, a mobile company and a space tourism company among others.
He was knighted in 1999 for his contribution to entrepreneurship. He is also known for his sporing feats. In a record breaking event, he crossed Atlantic in Virgin Atlantic Challenger II in 1986. He also crossed the Atlantic in hot air balloon in 1987 and the Pacific in 1991. He is also involved in humanitarian works .In 1999, he became a founding sponsor of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children(ICMEC), the goal of which is to help find missing children, and to stop the exploitation of children. He is also a signatory of Global Zero campaign, the goal of which is elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.
Richard Branson‘s current net worth is US$ 4.9 Billion.