IT’S NICE TO BE A VIRGIN
Virgin is one of the world’s most irresistible brands and has expanded into many diverse sectors from travel to telecommunications, health to banking and music to leisure. There are now more than 60 Virgin companies worldwide, employing approximately 71,000 people in 35 countries.
Having started Virgin as a mail order record retailer in 1970, Richard founded Virgin Records and opened a record shop on Oxford Street, London. After building a recording studio, The Manor, the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded and released ‘Tubular Bells’. Virgin Records went on to sign household names from the Sex Pistols to The Rolling Stones, becoming the biggest independent label in the world.
Since Richard Branson founded Virgin Atlantic in 1984, it has established itself as a leading global airline after overcoming BA’s Dirty Tricks campaign. Virgin Australia, Virgin America, Virgin Holidays, Virgin Limited Edition, Virgin Trains, Virgin Hotels and Virgin Galactic have followed in travel, while expansion elsewhere has seen Richard become the only person to build eight billion dollar companies in eight different sectors.
Branson has challenged himself with many record breaking adventures, including the fastest ever Atlantic Ocean crossing, a series of hot air balloon adventures and kitesurfing across the English Channel. He has described Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, as being “the greatest adventure of all”. Space travel has been a dream for Branson since he watched the moon landings on TV, and he registered the Virgin Galactic name in 1999. 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. Branson maintains a daily blog on http://virgin.com discussing everything from entrepreneurship, conservation and sustainability to travel, music and humour. He has more than 11.5 million followers across five social networks. He has also written six books, including autobiography Losing My Virginity.