Sir Richard Branson is a businessman and philanthropist. He is best known for founding the Virgin group, one of the world’s most recognised brands, covering everything from travel to telecommunications, health to banking, and music to leisure.
Branson started Virgin as a mail order record retailer in 1970, founding Virgin Records. After the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, released ‘Tubular Bells’, Virgin Records went on to sign household names from the Sex Pistols to The Rolling Stones. There are now more than 100 Virgin companies worldwide, employing approximately 60,000 people in over 50 countries
Branson has challenged himself with many record-breaking adventures, including the fastest ever Atlantic Ocean crossing, a series of hot air balloon journeys and kitesurfing across the Channel. He has described Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, as being “the greatest adventure of all”. Testing for commercial service is underway, with Branson planning to join his family on the first space flight.
He is also a record breaker online, voted the UK’s number one Twitter user, the world’s most social CEO and the world’s most followed person on LinkedIn. He maintains a daily blog on http://virgin.com with more than 11.5 million followers across five social networks.
Since starting youth culture magazine, Student, at the age of 16, Branson has found entrepreneurial ways to provoke positive change in the world. In 2004 he established non-profit foundation Virgin Unite to tackle tough social and environmental problems and strives to make business a force for good. Most of his time is now spent working with Virgin Unite and organisations it has incubated, such as The Elders, Carbon War Room, B Team and Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.
Branson was awarded a knighthood for services to entrepreneurship. He lives on Necker Island with his wife Joan, and has two children, Holly and Sam.
Sir Richard appeared at One Young World 2013 Johannesburg.