Sir Richard Branson is founder of the Virgin Group. The brand began in 1970 as a mail order record retailer and record label which went on to sign household names from the Sex Pistols to The Rolling Stones. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Today, Virgin is one of the world's most irresistible brands and has expanded into diverse sectors such as air and rail travel, leisure and hospitality, telecommunications, health and wellness, and space travel in 50 countries, with revenues of $24B.
Sir Richard has challenged himself with many record breaking adventures, including the fastest ever Atlantic Ocean crossing, a series of hot air balloon journeys and kite-surfing across the English Channel. He has described Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, as "the greatest adventure of all."
Since starting the youth culture magazine, "Student," at age 16, Sir Richard has found entrepreneurial ways to provoke positive change in the world. In 2004, he established the non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite, to tackle tough social and environmental problems and to make business a force for good. Initiatives include The Elders, a group of independent leaders that tackles global humanitarian issues, Carbon War Room, which mobilizes capital, innovation, expertise and entrepreneurs to advance climate change efforts, and Branson Centers of Entrepreneurship in South Africa and Jamaica.
Branson's twitter handle, @richardbranson, was named Britain's most influential person on Twitter. He is also LinkedIn's most followed influencer. In addition, he maintains a daily blog with more than 11.5M followers across five social networks.
Sir Richard was awarded a knighthood for services to entrepreneurship. He lives on Necker Island with his wife Joan and has two children, Holly and Sam. In January 2016, Forbes listed Branson's estimated net worth at $5.2 billion.