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Richard Branson

Global Entrepreneur; Founder, Virgin Group Ltd.

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Richard Branson is the eccentric and outspoken chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways and the founder of Virgin Records, which he went on to sell for an unprecedented $1 billion. Famous for his daring entrepreneurial style, he oversees the Virgin Group, Ltd., an extensive conglomerate encompassing over 360 companies, including recording studios, a travel business, publishing entities, and retail industries worldwide.

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  •  Richard  Branson

Richard Branson is the eccentric and outspoken chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways and the founder of Virgin Records, which he went on to sell for an unprecedented $1 billion. Famous for his daring entrepreneurial style, he oversees the Virgin Group, Ltd., an extensive conglomerate encompassing over 360 companies, including recording studios, a travel business, publishing entities, and retail industries worldwide. An experienced daredevil, Branson has raced powerboats across the ocean and has set distance records in hot air balloons. His unconventional style of living is only a part of his undeniable knack for beating impossible odds in business and in life.

Virgin started when Branson was the tender age of 20. In 1972, soon after he opened a Virgin record store on Oxford Street in London, the young entrepreneur opened a recording studio in Oxfordshire and Virgin Records was born. Mike Oldfield was the first artist to sign and his album, Tubular Bells, sold more than five million copies. During his ownership of Virgin Records, Branson turned it into a major success, signing such big names as 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, he sold the Virgin Music Group record labels, music publishing, and recording studios to Thorn EMI in a $1 billion deal. Branson eventually moved into other industries. He started 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. He also created Virgin Mobile, USA, the fastest growing company in history to reach $1 billion in revenue.

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, Virgin Atlantic Flyer—a hot air balloon—was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean and was the largest ever flown at 2.3 million cubic feet capacity, reaching speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour. 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. Branson has guest starred on several television shows, including Friends, Baywatch, Only Fools and Horses, and The Rebel Billionaire. He also has had cameo appearances in several films such as Around the World in 80 Days, Superman Returns, and Casino Royale. He has also authored several books; most recently, Screw Business as Usual (December 2011).

In addition to his business activities, Branson backs a number of charities, including The Healthcare Foundation. With the help of Nelson Mandela, Branson and his friend Peter Gabriel brought together a group of eminent global leaders who “offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.” The Elders, founded in 2007, includes such leaders as Martti Ahtisaari, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Additionally, in 2009 he brought together a group of the world’s top entrepreneurs to initiate the Carbon War Room, which increases the effectiveness of climate change efforts already underway and focuses on filling any gaps. Branson supports a number of initiatives that lead to economic empowerment and healthy communities.

He became Sir Richard Branson after Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 1999 for his business ability and enthusiasm for the spirit of Britain. In 2000, Branson received the Tony Jannus Award for his accomplishments in commercial air transportation. In December 2007, Branson was presented with the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes. In November 2010 Branson was awarded with the German Media Prize, previously awarded to President Bill Clinton and the Dalai Lama.

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    8 Team-Building Mistakes Richard Branson Would Never Make

    (Entrepreneur) – Because of his success and enthusiasm, entrepreneurs can definitely learn a lot from Sir Richard. And one of his greatest lessons is how he treats other members of the Virgin family.

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    7 Shrewd Business Tips from Branson for Entrepreneurs

    (Alley Watch) – Sir Richard Branson is the Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group, and an entrepreneur. Most recently, his company has launched an initiative for commercial space travel called Virgin Galactic. He visited the London Business School where a Q and A session was held for students and graduates of the school. Here are the main takeaways from the Q and A session.

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    Richard Branson STILL the country’s most admired entrepreneur

    (Growth Business UK) – The 64-year-old remains popular among the country's youngest entrepreneurs 

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    Blazers owner Paul Allen falls behind Richard Branson in billionaire space race

    Virgin Group billionaire Richard Bransonjust got an early start over Paul Allen in the space launch business.

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    What you have in common with Richard Branson

    (Smart Company) – Let’s face it. Some of us are a little more comfortable with being the face of our brand than others.

    Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Dick Smith, John Symons, Janine Allis and former SmartCompany blogger (now Shark Tank judge) Naomi Simson are great examples of entrepreneurs who are more than happy to put their face to work for their respective brands.

    And why not? There are now literally thousands of media outlets ready, willing and able to publish the words of wisdom of any successful business operator in an attempt to attract more eyeballs and more (predominantly) advertiser dollars.

    In return, these entrepreneurs get to promote their own brands for nothing. Somewhat perversely to some, sometimes they even get paid for that pleasure!

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    Richard Branson’s Block Chain Summit asked to address bitcoin’s massive potential power drain

    (UpStart Business Journal) – As Richard Branson and other leaders in the bitcoin industry meet on a private island to discuss the future of the blockchain, an Australian think tank releases numbers that show the frightening potential impact bitcoin could have on the environment.

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    Richard Branson to Host Bitcoin Summit on Private Island

    Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is set to bring "the greatest minds in cryptocurrency" together to discuss bitcoin and the blockchain on his personal private island this May.

    Taking place on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands from the 25th to 28th, Branson's even twill feature discussions moderated by Hernando De Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, Wall Street Journal senior columnist Michael J Casey and Matthew Bishop, US business editor for The Economist.

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    Richard Branson: How I founded Virgin Airlines and why you should always be open to new business opportunities

    By Eloise Keating

    (Smart Company) – Entrepreneurs must be ready to act on new business opportunities “no matter where you are or what you’re doing”, says Virgin founder Richard Branson.

    In a blog post entitled “What not to do when starting a business” posted on Monday, the charismatic entrepreneur said without keeping his eyes open and jumping on the opportunity to move from publishing a magazine to selling records, Virgin wouldn’t exist today.

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    Why Richard Branson Thinks Failure Should Be An Option For All Entrepreneurs

    Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s business achievements have been defined to a degree by his fearless attitude to risk.

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    Richard Branson Attributes Some of His Most Successful Companies to the Art of Note Taking

    The note-taking connoisseur attributes some of his most successful companies to the simple act of jotting down a random, yet meaningful, moment that would have otherwise been lost. Perhaps that is why he was surprised to discover how so many people dismiss the art of note-taking.

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    Richard Branson Is The Best Boss You Never Had

    Hiring and investing in employees is his top priority. He has even given a second chance to an employee caught stealing who then became one of his most loyal workers. Richard Branson is one of history’s most influential moguls and he has made his way to the top by empowering the people who work below him.  Read this interview where he talks about what makes an important employee.

    Branson is always involved with hiring senior executives in any of his organizations.  He even flies out candidates to his private island retreat, Necker Island, with seldom a complaint! Google CEO Larry Page has also learned from Branson and realizes how important it is to be hands on in the hiring process.

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  • "One of the most iconic entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders of all time."