Sir Richard Branson

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Related to Sir Richard Branson: Rupert Murdoch

Branson, Sir Richard

(Richard Charles Nicholas Branson), 1950–, British business mogul and adventurer. He left school at 16 to start his first business, the magazine Student. In 1970 he began a mail-order record business, named Virgin because of his inexperience in the field. He opened a discount record store in 1971 and Virgin Records, a trendsetting label in punk and new wave rock music that later signed rock superstars, two years later. In 1984 Branson became part owner of an airline, renamed Virgin Atlantic, which achieved success, but in 1992 he was forced to sell Virgin Records to finance the airline. His Virgin-brand business empire has expanded since the 1980s to become one of the largest privately owned conglomerates in Europe, with some 200 enterprises in the finance, retail, Internet, hotel, telecommunications, gambling, and transport industries; in 2017 he agree to sell much of his controlling stake in Virgin Atlantic.

Branson, who was knighted in 1999, also has set several water and air speed records. In 1986 he was part of a two-man powerboat crew that crossed the Atlantic in record time. The next year he and another adventurer were the first to cross the Atlantic in a hot-air balloon, and in 1991 they became the first to fly the Pacific. In the 1990s he made several unsuccessful attempts to fly a balloon around the world. Branson has survived a number of life-threatening crashes.


See his autobiography (1998) and Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life (2006); biography by M. Brown (rev. ed. 1998).

References in periodicals archive ?
APOLOGY Writing in his autobiography Life to the Limit, out yesterday, he said: "His Royal Highness Sir Richard Branson was arriving and he was very, very drunk.
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COVENTRY student Kelly Ashby rose to the challenge of a lifetime to help host a star-studded one-off festival for Sir Richard Branson at London's Royal Opera House.
WITH typical flair, Sir Richard Branson yesterday announced that he and his children will be the first passengers when the Virgin Galactic space tourism programme begins.
Sir Richard Branson has laid out his vision for the future as Virgin Trains celebrated its 30 millionth customer - and said the railways would still grow.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of Companies, is set to visit Qatar this week to unveil a new business venture.
PLANS to send thousands of space tourists into orbit have taken a giant leap forward, with Sir Richard Branson unveiling the world's first commercial passenger shuttle.