Sir Richard Branson is the founder and president of Virgin Group. Virgin is one of the world's most recognized and respected brands that has expanded into aviation, hospitality and leisure, telecommunications, financial services, health and wellness, and clean energy through more than 200 companies worldwide, employing approximately 50,000 people in 29 countries. Companies like Virgin Atlantic, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and the newest airlines, Virgin America and VAustralia, are shaking up the travel industry while Virgin HealthMiles, Virgin Money, Virgin Mobile and other Virgin-branded companies continue to offer exceptional customer service and value for money.
In December 1999, Richard was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Millennium New Year’s honours list for “services to entrepreneurship.”
In the summer of 2004, Richard launched Virgin Unite as a vehicle to pull together all the resources of the Virgin Group internationally and, most importantly, Virgin’s best asset – its people – to tackle some of the tougher challenges facing the world today. He and on-the-ground partners participate in a number of efforts, including the creation of sustainable health clinics in Africa and the fostering of new entrepreneurs through the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa. In 2006, Richard pledged 100% of profits of Virgin transportation companies to clean tech investments and is actively involved in global environmental initiatives. In 2007, Richard joined Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu to form The Elders, a group of independent leaders that will seek sustainable solutions to global humanitarian issues.
Richard is the author of Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way, (Crown Business, 1998) Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life (Virgin Books, 2006), and Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (Virgin Books, 2008).