Sir Richard Branson
Founder, Virgin Group
Sir Richard Branson founded Virgin as a mail-order record retailer in 1970. Since then, he’s expanded the brand into air and rail travel, leisure and hospitality, telecommunications, media, health and wellness, space tourism and clean energy. Today, the Virgin Group includes more than 400 companies, in 29 countries, with global branded revenues of $21B. In 1999, Branson was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Millennium New Year’s honors list for “services to entrepreneurship.”
In 2004, Branson launched Virgin Unite, pulling together the people and international resources of The Virgin Group to tackle tough challenges facing the world. In 2007, he joined Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and Desmond Tutu to form The Elders, a group of independent leaders that seeks sustainable solutions to global humanitarian issues. In 2010, he launched the Carbon War Room to advance climate change efforts. Most recently, he joined Ted Turner and others to form OceanElders to promote the conservation of the ocean and its wildlife.
Along with his prolific entrepreneurial and philanthropic work, Branson has been involved in several world record-breaking attempts since 1985. He has also authored four books about his life and business, including his most recent title, Screw Business as Usual.