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By: Heather Dela Cruz
Born July 18, 1950 in Surrey, England
Educated at Stowe School
Dropped out of high school
At 16, he started a youth-culture magazine
Inspired by student activism in the late ‘60s
Focused on the students – not the school
Sold $8000 worth in advertisement in first
50,000 copies in its first run
Opened a mail order record retailer in 1970
1973 – Virgin Records launched
Mike Oldfield was first artist signed – his hit
“Tubular Bells” stayed on the UK charts for 247
Other Virgin artists – the Sex Pistols, the Rolling
Stones, the Culture Club, Janet Jackson, etc.
The Sound of Success
One of the top 6 record companies in the
1992 – Branson sold Virgin Music label to
Thorn-EMI for $1 billion
1993 –Launched Virgin Radio
1996 – Created V2 Records
Taking the Air
Branson’s true passion lies in the airline industry
1984 – Created Virgin Atlantic Airways (Branson’s
most recognized brand)
Flies worldwide including Australia, the
Caribbean, USA, Asia and Africa
Won major awards including “Airline of the
Year” on numerous occasions
Launched in 2007 – based in San Francisco
High-end service and entertainment
Seatback TV in each seat
Won best in-class awards including “Best Domestic
Thrived when other U.S. carriers filed for bankruptcy
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Dominates in travel industry
Virgin Galactic – takes ordinary people to space for
Virgin Trains – runs throughout England
Virgin Holidays – offers adventures in USA, Caribbean,
Africa, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Far East
Virgin Oceanic – “flying” submarine; dives 40 meters below
surface to enhance experience
Branson Takes Over the World
More than 200 Virgin Brand companies in 29 countries
Virgin global revenues exceeded $17 billion in 2008
Ranked No. 261 on Forbes’ World Billionaires list in 2009
Worth about $2.5 billion
Knighted in 1999 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to
Also known for his humanitarian efforts including going on a
hunger strike in 2009 to raise awareness in Darfur
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