Keynote Speaker Richard Branson
'Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.' - Sir Richard Branson
Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies, started his first business as a teenager. Now, he is a worldwide known entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and philanthropist.
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Sir Richard Branson’s career
Sir Richard Branson was born in 1950 and studied at the Stowe School. At the age of sixteen, he founded the national magazine “Student” and a year later, a student advisory center.
In 1970, Richard founded Virgin as a postal records salesman and soon after that, he opened a store on the famous Oxford Street in London.
Mike Oldfield, the first artist of the Virgin, recorded “The Trumpet Bell,” in the recording studio in Oxfordshire, which was released a year later in 1973.
The first album, recently created by Virgin Records, sold over 5 million copies.
In 1992 Virgin Music Group’s equity in record companies, music publishers and studios were traded to THORN EMI for $1 billion.
Now Virgin is one of the most recognizable and honored brands in the world. Virgin Group has increased global retail, air transport, mobility, finance, retail, music, rail, resort and entertainment services, as well as space travel and clean fuels businesses worldwide. It employs around 50,000 people in more than 29 countries. In 2006, global sales revenues exceeded £5 billion.
Virgin Atlantic Airways
In 1984 was founded Virgin Atlantic Airways. The company is today the second largest international airline in the UK, operating a fleet of Boeing 747 and Airbus A340 aircraft. The airline is based on the idea of providing competitive and high-quality services of the highest class, premium class, and economy service. The Virgin Atlantic is the first commercial airline to operate 747 biofuel flights.
In 1997, Virgin took over the management of two of Britain’s smallest railway franchises which are the CrossCountry and West Coast Main Line. In 2004, Virgin was participating in a £2 billion fleet replacement schedule to build one of the world’s most functional rail networks.
Since 1985 Richard was a part of several attempts to break the world record.
In 1986, his boat named ‘Virgin Atlantic Challenger II’ revived the spirit of Blue Riband, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in record time in human history. A year later, it was an epic balloon that crossed the ocean ‘Virgin Atlantic Flyer,’ which was the first balloon to cross the Atlantic and also the biggest balloon which has ever flown at 2.3 million cubic feet capacity. It reached more than 130 miles per hour (209 km/h).
The desire for a world flight destroyed
In January 1991, it crossed the Pacific Ocean on the way from Japan to the Arctic Ocean of Canada, traveling the longest distance of 6,700 miles, breaking all current records at speeds of up to 245 miles per hour. At the end of 1998, Richard Branson, Per Lindstrand, and Steve Fossett made a record flight from Morocco to Hawaii, but their desire for a world flight destroyed terrible weather.
What happens next? In 2004, with the launch of Virgin Galactic, Richard realized his dream of opening the world’s first commercial space tourism business. Richard dreamed, like millions of people around the world, that the reality of Cosmos should be accessible to all. A dream that will finally come true as the Virgin Galactica grows.
Renewable energy projects
In September 2006 at the Clinton Global Initiative, Richard stated that all future revenues of the Virgin Group’s transmission companies would finance renewable energy projects.
Richard assumes that all transportation companies, or businesses in the energy, and fossil fuels, should be developing green business strategies to replace conventional energy with renewable sources.
These commitments reach $3 billion for the next years. In February 2007, Mr. Richard declared a grant of $25 million to support the development of the renewable energy sector.
Group of elders
In July, on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, Richard followed Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu to proclaim the creation of a group of elders, a group of leaders who will share their wisdom, objective leadership and integrity to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Sir Richard Branson’s beliefs
Richard also focuses on Virgin Unite, an independent division of the Virgin Group specializing in business approaches to social and environmental issues. He supports a range of efforts from establishing sustainable clinics in Africa to encouraging new entrepreneurs through the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.
Sir Richard Branson’s awards
In December 1999, Richard Branson received an award for services and entrepreneurship- a knighthood in the Queen’s Millennium New Years Honours List.