Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born on July 18, 1950 in Blackheath London England. åÊBranson’s father was a barrister and his grandfater a judge of High Court of Justice. åÊBranson has described his parents as encouraging. åÊThe superstar entrepreneur has dyslexia and did not shine academically. åÊOne of his headmaster’s famously predicted he would either end up in prison or a millionaire. åÊBranson has spent a night in jail, not prison, on suspicion of tax evasion very early in his career when he was smuggling in merchandise declared for export. åÊHowever the millionaire part was wrong unless Branson’s former headmaster meant a one thousand millionaire five times over!
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2. Income & Salary
Known as being a kind of maverick rockstar entrepreneur, Branson has set several world records including fastest Atlantic crossing in a sailboat, fastest English channel crossing in an amphibious car, oldest person to cross the english channel kiteboarding, first balloon flight across the atlantic, and first manned dive to the Puerto Rico trench 5 miles deep.
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Branson’s charitable and humanitarian efforts are as innovative as his creative marketing and PR stunts. åÊHe is a founding member ofåÊThe Elders, a power humanitarian group that includes Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annon, and Jimmy Carter. åÊHe is a signatory of the Global Zero campaign that has a concrete plan for all nations to achieve zero nuclear weapons in their armaments. åÊBranson has also participated in hunger strikes to protest the Darfur situation, and has sponsored contests that give financial rewards for humanitarian innovations. åÊSpecifically the Virgin Earth Challenge is a standing reward of $25 million for a commercially viable way to achieve a net removal of green house gases without any countervailing harmful effects. åÊTo win the contestant has to show the process can be reproduced for 10 years successfully. åÊIf someone is able to successfully claim the prize, Branson will have incentivized a technology that will have an enormous impact on human life.As for his business ventures, the cavalier started the magazine StudentåÊwhen he was 16 and in it advertised popular records. åÊIt was an overnight success and the young entrepreneur started a direct response business selling records via mail order. åÊHe also started a chain of retail shops now Virgin Megastores. åÊHowever, he was able to do so by buying merchandise that was declared export stock and staying one step ahead of authorities until it caught up to him. åÊHis mother had to re-mortgage her home to pay for the settlement. åÊDown but not out, Branson bought a country estate, installed a recording studio in it, and started the record label Virgin Records. åÊThe hitåÊTubular BellsåÊwas released in 1973 and became a cornerstone of the new record label’s success. åÊThe label went on to record artists likeåÊThe Sex Pistols, Faust,åÊandåÊCulture Club. åÊBranson later sold the record label to fund Virgin Atlantic foråÊå£500 million pounds, but he later created V2 Records presumably standing for Virgin Records 2 or Virgin Records version 2! åÊBranson went on to create Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, Virgin Mobile in 1999, Virgin Blue in 2000, Virgin Trains, Virgin Express airlines (now Brussels Airlines), Virgin Nigeria airlines, Virgin America airlines, Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, and Virgin fuels. åÊThe latter was influenced by a meeting over breakfast with vice president Al Gore. åÊBranson said profits from Virgin Trains and Virgin Atlantic would be invested into Virgin Fuels.In 2004, while looking at the stars at his home on Necker Island thinking, “I should be able to go there” Branson formed Virgin Galactic. åÊSpaceship One, a craft to take passengers into sub-orbit, was funded by billionaire Paul Allen. åÊTickets are said to go for $200,000. åÊBranson’s business philosophy is driven on informality, information, and a bottom heavy organizational structure rather than a top heavy organization with too many managers. åÊIn 2006, Branson sold Virgin Mobile for 1 billion pounds. åÊAlways the innovator, Branson launched Virgin Media in 2007 in a deal which granted him 15% ownership. åÊAround that time Branson also launched Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation. åÊGiven the success of Disney and Marvel those might not be bad businesses to start! åÊBranson also launched Virgin Health Bank so parents can store stem cells for their children’s later use. åÊBranson took a bet with Air Asia group CEO, Tony Fernandes, when the both owned Formula 1 racing teams (Branson’s being Virgin Racing of course) and Fernandes team came out on top. åÊBranson made good on the. åÊThe wager? åÊBecome a stewardess on the other owner’s airline. åÊBranson was a stewardess on a flight on an Air Asia flight from Perth, Australia to Kuala Lumpur.Branson is considered the 6th richest person in the United Kingdon and is #298 on the Forbes list. åÊIn the late 70’s Branson went island shopping in the Caribbean, an exercise he said was largely just a show to impress then girlfriend now wife Joan. åÊFor Necker island, listed at $6 million, he put in a ridiculously low offer of $100,000 and was supposedly evicted from the premises. åÊMonths later however Lord Cobham the owner came calling because no one else had expressed interest. åÊA price of $180k was eventually agreed on for the 74 acre island. åÊBranson spent $10 million developing the island into a resort, which is a requirement under Caribbean law. åÊThe island that Branson considers his true home despite having many others features 4 buildings and can accommodate up to 40 people. åÊThe island has had many guests including heads of state. åÊPrincess Di and her sons visited frequently for holiday. åÊNecker island operates at carbon neutral to near carbon neutral conditions utilizing renewable energy sources. åÊThe resort is part of Virgin Limited Edition which features Branson’s portfolio of unique estates that all can be rented out as retreats including Ulusaba Safari Lodge, Necker Bell Yacht (not an estate but a catamaran yacht with 4 ensuite staterooms), Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge in Switzerland, The Roof Gardens and Babylon Restaurant in London, a tented safari camp in Kenya and Mont Rachelle a Vineyard in South Africa. åÊNecker Island is mostly only available to rent if you rent the whole island but you can split that between all 30 of your guests meaning it would only come out to about 1,300 pounds per person per night. åÊActually not bad considering the once in a lifetime opportunity to live on the island Branson calls home. Pictured below isåÊKasbah Tamadot in Morocco.