|Sir Richard Branson|
Richard Branson at Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer planned takeoff
|Born||18 July 1950 |
Shamley Green, Surrey, England, UK
|Occupation||Chairman of Virgin Group|
|Net worth||▲£4. Events 390 BC - Roman - Gaulish Wars Battle of the Allia - a Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, Year 1950 ( MCML) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Shamley Green is a small Village in the county of Surrey, England. Surrey is a county in the South East of England and is one of the Home Counties. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Virgin Group Ltd is a branded Venture capital conglomerate of separately run companies that each use the Virgin brand of British business tycoon The Pound Sterling ( symbol £; ISO code: GBP) subdivided into 100 pence (singular penny) is the Currency 4 billion|
|Spouse||Joan Templeman (1989–present)|
Kristen Tomassi (1972–1979), divorced
|Children||Holly Branson (26), Sam Branson (22)|
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Events 390 BC - Roman - Gaulish Wars Battle of the Allia - a Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, Year 1950 ( MCML) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a mogul, tycoon, baron, or industrialist, is a person who has reached a prominent place in Virgin Group Ltd is a branded Venture capital conglomerate of separately run companies that each use the Virgin brand of British business tycoon Branson's first successful business venture was at age 15, when he published a magazine called Student. He then set up a record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores and rebranded as zavvi in late 2007. Virgin Megastores is an international chain of Record shops founded by Sir Richard Branson on London 's Oxford Street in January or February Zavvi (also known as zavvicouk) is an Entertainment retail chain in the UK and Republic of Ireland, originally Virgin Megastores With his flamboyant and competitive style, Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s - as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (operating as Virgin Atlantic) is a British airline which is owned by Richard Branson 's Virgin Group (51% and Virgin Records is a British Record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell Richard Branson is the 236th richest person according to Forbes' 2008 list of billionaires as he has an estimated net worth of approximately $7. Forbes is an American Publishing and media company Its flagship publication Forbes magazine is published bi-weekly This list of the 100 wealthiest people is a list of the world's 100 wealthiest people as of February 11 2008, based on each person's total net worth 9 billion USD. The United States dollar ( sign: $; code: USD) is the unit of Currency of the United States; it has also been
Branson was born at Stonefield Nursing Home in Blackheath, South London, the son of Edward James Branson and Eve Branson (née Huntley Flindt). Blackheath is an area in southeast London centred around a section of open public grassland ('the Heath' and straddling the boundary of the London Borough of Lewisham and the South London is the southern part of London, England. The area it covers is defined differently for a range of purposes  His grandfather, the Right Honourable Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson, was a Judge of the High Court of Justice and a Privy Councillor. The Right Honourable (abbreviated as The Rt Hon) is an Honorific prefix that is traditionally applied to certain For the Cameroonian court by this name see High Court of Justice (Cameroon, for the Israeli court of this name see Supreme Court of Israel. A privy council is a body that advises the Head of state of a nation on how to exercise their executive authority, typically but not always in the context of a  Branson was educated at Scaitcliffe School (now Bishopsgate School) until the age of thirteen. Englefield Green is a village in northern Surrey, England. It is near Royal Holloway University of London, the south eastern corner of Windsor He then attended Stowe School until he was fifteen. Stowe School is a British independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire, referred to as a Public school. Branson has dyslexia, resulting in poor academic performance as a student, yet by the age of fifteen he had started two ventures that eventually failed: one growing Christmas trees and another raising budgerigars. Dyslexia is considered to be a Learning disability. It manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language particularly with Reading and Spelling The budgerigar ( Melopsittacus undulatus) commonly called parakeet, shell parakeet, budgie, or common pet parakeet in US English
At sixteen, Branson left school and moved to London, where he began his first successful business, Student magazine. London ( ˈlʌndən is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. When he was seventeen, he opened his first charity, the "Student Advisory Centre. "
Branson started his first record business after he travelled across the English Channel and purchased crates of "cut-out" records from a record discounter. In the Recording industry, a cut-out refers to a deeply-discounted or remaindered copy of an LP, Cassette tape, Compact Disc, He sold the records out of the boot of his car to retail outlets in London. He continued selling cut-outs through a record mail order business in 1969. Trading under the name "Virgin" he sold records for considerably less than the so-called "High Street" outlets, especially the chain W. H. Smith. This article is about the retail chain for people of that name see William Henry Smith. The name 'Virgin' was a selling point because records were sold in a new condition (unlike in other shops where records were being handled when listened to in record booths). At the time many products were sold under restrictive marketing agreements which limited discounting, despite efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to limit so-called resale price maintenance. Resale price maintenance is the practice whereby a manufacturer and its distributors agree that the latter will sell the former's product at certain prices (resale price maintenance at  In effect Branson began the series of changes that led to large-scale discounting of recorded music. Branson and some colleagues were discussing a new name for his business when one suggested that it should be called 'Virgin' since they were all virgins to business.
Branson eventually started a record shop in Oxford Street in London and, shortly after, launched the record label Virgin Records with Nick Drake. Roger Dean (born August 31, 1944, in Ashford Kent) is an English Artist. Virgin Records is a British Record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974 was an English Singer-songwriter and Musician best known for his acoustic autumnal songs Branson had earned enough money from his record store to buy a country estate, in which he installed a recording studio. The Manor Studio (aka The Manor) was a Recording studio in the manor house at the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England He leased out studio time to fledgling artists, including multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield. Michael Gordon Oldfield (born 15 May 1953 in Reading, Berkshire) is an English Multi-instrumentalist Musician
In 1971, Branson was arrested and charged for selling records in Virgin stores that had been declared export stock. He settled out-of-court with UK Customs and Excise with an agreement to repay the unpaid tax and fines. Branson's mother Eve re-mortgaged the family home to help pay the settlement.
Virgin Records' first release was Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, which was a best-seller and British LP chart topper. Tubular Bells is a record album, written and mostly performed by Mike Oldfield, released in 1973. The company signed controversial bands such as the Sex Pistols, which other companies were reluctant to sign. The Sex Pistols are an English Punk rock band that formed in London in 1975 It also won praise for exposing the public to obscure avant-garde music such as the krautrock bands Faust and Can. Krautrock is a generic name for the Experimental music scene that appeared in Germany in the late 1960s and gained popularity throughout the 1970s especially in Britain Faust is a German Krautrock band originally composed of Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Arnulf Meifert, Can was a musical group formed in West Germany in 1968 One of the most important Krautrock groups Can had a style grounded in the Experimental rock of Virgin Records also introduced Culture Club to the music world. Culture Club were a Grammy Award -winning British pop group that formed in the early 1980s In the early 1980s, Virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven. Heaven is a Nightclub in London, England which appeals predominantly (but not exclusively to the Gay market In 1991 in a consortium with David Frost, Richard Branson had made the unsuccessful bid for three ITV franchisees under the CPV-TV name. Sir David Paradine Frost, OBE (born 7 April 1939) is an English Satirist and Television presenter, famed as both a Independent Television (generally known as ITV) is a public service network of British commercial television broadcasters set up under the Independent CPV-TV was a company which had bid for three ITV franchises at the 1991 ITV franchise auction.
In 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold the Virgin label to EMI, a more conservative company which previously had rescinded a contract with the Sex Pistols, for $1 billion . The EMI Group is a British music company comprising the major record company EMI Music – which operates several labels and is based in Kensington in The Sex Pistols are an English Punk rock band that formed in London in 1975 Branson is said to have wept when the sale was completed since the record business had been the genesis of the Virgin Empire. He later formed V2 Records to re-enter the music business. V2 redirects here For the rocket see V-2 rocket. For other meanings see V2 (disambiguation.
The eldest and only boy of three children, his sisters are Lindi and Vanessa. His father Ted, followed in his father's footsteps assuming the career of a barrister. A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation Branson's mother, Eve, worked in the theatre, as a glider pilot instructor and as a flight attendant.
Branson had poor academic records, contrasted with excellent performance in sports. 
Branson is married to his second wife, Joan Templeman, with whom he has two children, Holly, a doctor, and Sam Branson. A physician, medical practitioner or medical doctor who practices Medicine, and is concerned with maintaining or restoring human Health The couple wed, at Holly's suggestion when she was eight years old, at Necker Island in 1989. He owns Necker Island, a 74 acre island in the British Virgin Islands. Necker Island is a small island in the British Virgin Islands just north of Virgin Gorda, located at. The British Virgin Islands ( BVI) is a British overseas territory, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. He also owns real estate on the Caribbean Island of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua and Barbuda ( Spanish for "Ancient" and "Bearded" is an Island nation located on the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea In 1998 Branson released his autobiography entitled Losing My Virginity. Losing My Virginity The Autobiography (ISBN 1-8522-7684-3 is a 1998 autobiography by Richard Branson.
Branson was deeply saddened by the disappearance in September 2007 of fellow adventurer Steve Fossett. James Stephen Fossett (born April 22 1944 missing September 3 2007 declared legally dead February 15 2008 On September 3 2007 Fossett was reported missing after 
Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, launched Virgin Mobile in 1999, Virgin Blue in Australia in 2000, and later failed in a 2000 bid to handle the National Lottery. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (operating as Virgin Atlantic) is a British airline which is owned by Richard Branson 's Virgin Group (51% and Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many Mobile phone service providers based in the United Kingdom, and operating Virgin Blue is an Australian Low-cost airline, Australia's second-biggest Airline as well as the largest airline (by fleet size with the Virgin branding For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Australia topics. The National Lottery is the largest Lottery in the United Kingdom.
In 1997, Branson took what many saw as being one of his riskier business exploits by entering into the railway business. "Railroad" and "Railway" both redirect here For other uses see Railroad (disambiguation. Virgin Trains won the franchises for the former Intercity West Coast and Cross-Country sectors of British Rail. Virgin Trains is a Train operating company in the United Kingdom, which currently provides services from London Euston to the North West InterCity (commonly abbreviated IC on timetables and tickets is the classification applied to certain long-distance Passenger train services in The West Coast Main Line (WCML is a busy mixed-traffic railway route in the United Kingdom. See also Rail transport in Great Britain, National Rail, Network Rail This article is about the defunct entity "British Railways" Launched with the usual Branson fanfare with promises of new high-tech tilting trains and enhanced levels of service, Virgin Trains soon ran into problems with the aging rolling stock and crumbling infrastructure it had inherited from British Rail. The British Class 390 "Pendolino" Electric multiple unit is a Tilting train built by Fiat Ferroviaria utilising Fiat The company's reputation was almost irreversibly damaged in the late 1990s as it struggled to make trains reliably run on time while it awaited the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line, and the arrival of new rolling stock.
Virgin acquired European short-haul airline Euro Belgian Airlines in 1996 and renamed it Virgin Express. In Aviation, the flight length is defined as the time airborne during a flight An airline provides air transport services for Passengers or Freight, generally with a recognized operating certificate or license In 2006 the airline was merged with SN Brussels Airlines forming Brussels Airlines. SN Brussels Airlines (SNBA was a former national airline of Belgium which mainly operated from Brussels Airport. Brussels Airlines is the largest Belgian airline It operates to over 50 destinations in 20 European countries as well as long-haul flights to East Central and West Africa It also started a national airline based in Nigeria, called Virgin Nigeria. Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited is an Airline based in Ikeja in Lagos State, Nigeria and operates scheduled international regional and domestic Another airline, Virgin America, began flying out of the San Francisco International Airport in August 2007. Virgin America is a US based Low-cost airline that began service on August 8, 2007. San Francisco International Airport is a major international Airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States adjacent to the Branson has also developed a Virgin Cola brand and even a Virgin Vodka brand, which has not been a very successful enterprise. Virgin Cola is a carbonated Cola Soft drink produced by Princes limited. Virgin Vodka is an Alcoholic beverage produced by Virgin Drinks, a subsidiary of the Virgin Group owned by Richard Branson. As a consequence of these lacklustre performers, the satirical British fortnightly magazine Private Eye has been critical of Branson and his companies (see Private Eye image caption). Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical Magazine, edited by Ian Hislop. 
After the so-called campaign of "dirty tricks" (see expanded reference in Virgin Atlantic Airways), Branson sued rival airline British Airways for libel in 1992. Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (operating as Virgin Atlantic) is a British airline which is owned by Richard Branson 's Virgin Group (51% and British Airways plc ( is the national Airline and Flag carrier of the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe John King, then-chairman of British Airways, counter-sued, and the case went to trial in 1993. John Leonard King Baron King of Wartnaby ( August 29, 1917 - July 12, 2005) was a businessman famous for leading British Airways from British Airways, faced with likely defeat, settled the case, giving £500,000 to Branson and a further £110,000 to his airline and had to pay legal fees of up to £3 million. Branson divided his compensation (the so-called "BA bonus") among his staff.
On 25 September 2004, Branson announced the signing of a deal under which a new space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, will license the technology behind Spaceship One—funded by Microsoft co-Founder Paul Allen and designed by legendary American aeronautical engineer and visionary Burt Rutan—to take paying passengers into suborbital space. Events 303 - On a voyage preaching the Gospel, Saint Fermin of Pamplona is beheaded in Amiens, France "MMIV" redirects here For the Modest Mouse album see " Baron von Bullshit Rides Again " Space tourism is the recent Phenomenon of tourists paying for flights into space pioneered by Russia Virgin Galactic is a company within Sir Richard Branson 's Virgin Group which plans to provide Sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public SpaceShipOne is a Spaceplane that completed the first privately funded Human spaceflight on June 21, 2004. Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational Computer technology Corporation, which rose to dominate the Home computer Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21 1953 is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan (born June 17, 1943 in Estacada Oregon) is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality A sub-orbital spaceflight (or sub-orbital flight is a Spaceflight in which the Spacecraft reaches space, but its Trajectory intersects Space is the extent within which Matter is physically extended and objects and Events have positions relative to one another Virgin Galactic (wholly owned by Virgin Group) plans to make flights available to the public by late 2009 with tickets priced at US$200,000.
Branson's next venture with the Virgin group is Virgin Fuels, which is set to respond to global warming and exploit the recent spike in fuel costs by offering a revolutionary, cheaper fuel for automobiles and, in the near future, aircraft. Virgin Green Fund has been established to invest in companies in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors in the US and Europe Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Branson has stated that he was formerly a global warming skeptic and was influenced in his decision by a breakfast meeting with Al Gore. The global warming controversy is a dispute regarding the nature and consequences of Global warming. Albert Arnold Gore Jr (born March 31 1948 is an American environmental Activist, author Businessperson, former Politician, and former 
Branson has been tagged as a "transformational leader" in the management lexicon, with his maverick strategies and his stress on the Virgin Group as an organization driven on informality and information, one that is bottom-heavy rather than strangled by top-level management.
He was 9th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, worth just over £3 billion. The Sunday Times Rich List is a list of the 1000 wealthiest people or families in the United Kingdom, updated annually in April and published as a magazine supplement
On 21 September 2006, Branson pledged to invest the profits of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains in research for environmentally friendly fuels. Events 1217 - The Estonian tribal leader Lembitu of Lehola was killed in a battle against Teutonic Knights. Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. The investment is estimated to be worth $3 billion. 
On 4 July 2006, Branson sold his Virgin Mobile company to UK cable TV, broadband, and telephone company NTL/NTL:Telewest for almost £1 billion. Events 836 - Pactum Sicardi, peace between the Principality of Benevento and the Duchy of Naples Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many Mobile phone service providers based in the United Kingdom, and operating Virgin Media Inc (formerly known as ntlTelewest, after a merger of NTL Incorporated with Telewest Global Inc As part of the sale, the company pays a minimum of £8. 5 million per year to use the Virgin name and Branson became the company's largest shareholder. The new company was launched with much fanfare and publicity on 8 February 2007, under the name Virgin Media. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Virgin Media Inc (formerly known as ntlTelewest, after a merger of NTL Incorporated with Telewest Global Inc The decision to merge his Virgin Media Company with NTL was in order to integrate both of the companies' compatible parts of commerce. Branson used to own three quarters of Virgin Mobile, whereas now he owns 15 percent of the new Virgin Media company. 
In 2006, Branson formed Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation an entertainment company focussed on creating new stories and characters for a global audience. Virgin Comics LLC is a Comic book company founded in 2006 which produces stories (many of which are Indian culture related for an international audience The Company was founded with author Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra. Shekhar Kapur (Hindi शेखर कपूर born December 6, 1945 in Lahore, Punjab Sharad Devarajan is the co-founder Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of the recently formed Virgin Comics LLC and Virgin Animation Pvt Gotham Chopra (born Gautama Chopra; February 23, 1975) is an author and entertainment/media entrepreneur
Branson also launched the Virgin Health Bank on 1 February 2007, offering parents-to-be the opportunity of storing their baby's umbilical cord blood stem cells in private and public stem cell banks after their baby's birth. Virgin Health Bank, launched in 2007 is one of the newest Virgin Group ventures Events 1327 - Teenaged Edward III is crowned King of England, but the country is ruled by his mother Queen Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century.
In June 2006, a tip-off from Virgin Atlantic led US and UK competition authorities to investigate price-fixing attempts between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. In August 2007, British Airways was fined £271 million over the allegations. Virgin Atlantic was given immunity for tipping off the authorities and received no fine - a controversial decision the Office of Fair Trading defended as being in the public interest. 
On 9 February 2007, Branson announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize—The Virgin Earth Challenge—in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. Events 474 - Zeno crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. The Virgin Earth Challenge is a competition offering a $25 million prize for the first person or organization to come up with a way of scrubbing Greenhouse gases out of the The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth’s climate.
Branson also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges—all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard.
Richard Branson got involved with football when he sponsored Nuneaton Borough A.F.C. for their FA Cup 3rd round game against Middlesbrough F.C.. Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a Team sport played between two teams of eleven players and is widely considered Middlesbrough Football Club, also known as The Boro are an English football club based in Middlesbrough, who play in the Premier League. The game ended 1-1 and the Virgin brand was also on Nuneaton Borough's shirts for the replay which they eventually lost 2-5.
In August 2007, Branson announced he takes up 20 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia X. AirAsia X, is a new long haul budget airline operated by AirAsia X Sdn
On October 13, 2007, Branson's Virgin Group sought to add Northern Rock to its empire after submitting an offer which would result in Branson personally owning 30% of the company, changing the company's name from Northern Rock to Virgin Money. Events 54 - Nero ascends to the Roman throne 409 - Vandals and Alans crossed the Pyrenees Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Virgin Group Ltd is a branded Venture capital conglomerate of separately run companies that each use the Virgin brand of British business tycoon See also Nationalisation of Northern Rock Northern Rock plc is a British Bank, currently under public ownership Virgin Money is a UK -based Financial services company owned by the Virgin Group and founded by Sir Richard Branson in March 1995  The Daily Mail ran a campaign against his bid and Vince Cable suggested in the House of Commons that Branson's criminal conviction for tax evasion might be felt by some as a good enough reason not to trust him with public money. 
On January 10, 2008, Branson's Virgin Healthcare announced that it would open a chain of health care clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homeopathic and complementary therapies. Events 49 BC - Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, signaling the start of civil war. 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common  The Financial Times reported that Ben Bradshaw, UK's health minister, welcomed the launch. The Financial Times ( FT) is a British international business Newspaper. “I am pleased that Virgin Healthcare is proposing to work with GPs to help develop more integrated services for patients. ”
In the late 1990s, Branson and musician and activist Peter Gabriel discussed with Nelson Mandela their idea of a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest to solve difficult global conflicts. Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950 in Chobham, Surrey, England) is an English Musician and Songwriter. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (xolíɬaɬa mandéːla born 18 July 1918 is a former President of South Africa, the first to be elected in fully representative
On July 18, 2007, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela announced the formation of a new group, The Elders, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday. Events 390 BC - Roman - Gaulish Wars Battle of the Allia - a Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Johannesburg ( Pronounced /jō-hān'ĭs-bûrg'/ is the largest city in South Africa. The Republic of South Africa (also known by other official names) is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa The Global Elders or The Elders is a group of Public figures noted as elder statesmen, Peace activists and Human rights advocates The founding members of this group are Desmond Tutu, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson, and Muhammad Yunus. Desmond Mpilo Tutu (born 7 October 1931) is a South African Cleric and activist who rose to Worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent Graça Machel, DBE (born Graça Simbine on 17 October 1945 in Incadine Gaza Province, Mozambique) is the third wife of former South Kofi Atta Annan, GCMG (born 8 April 1938 is a Ghanaian Diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Ela Ramesh Bhatt (born on 7 September 1933 in the city of Ahmedabad in India) is the founder of India's Self-Employed Women's Association (or (ɡru hɑɭɛm brʉntlɑn (born Gro Harlem 20 April 1939 Oslo) is a Norwegian politician diplomat and Physician, and an international leader James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr (born October 1 1924 was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981 and the recipient of the 2002 Li Zhaoxing ( born October 20, 1940) was the Foreign minister of the People's Republic of China from 2003 to 2007 Mary Therese Winifred Robinson (Máire Mhic Róibín born 21 May 1944 was the first female President of Ireland, serving from 1990 to 1997 and the United Nations Muhammad Yunus (মুহাম্মদ ইউনুস pronounced bn-Latn ''Muhammôd Iunus'' (born 28 June 1940 is a Bangladeshi Banker and Economist 
The Elders will be independently funded by a group of "Founders", including Branson and Gabriel. The Global Elders or The Elders is a group of Public figures noted as elder statesmen, Peace activists and Human rights advocates
Desmond Tutu serves as the chair of The Elders—who will use their collective skills to catalyze peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulate new approaches to global issues that are causing or may cause immense human suffering, and share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. The Global Elders or The Elders is a group of Public figures noted as elder statesmen, Peace activists and Human rights advocates They will work together over the next several months to carefully consider which specific issues they will approach.
In March 2008, Richard Branson hosted an environmental gathering at his private island, Necker Island, in the Caribbean with several prominent entrepreneurs, celebrities, and world leaders. They discussed global warming-related problems facing the world, hoping that this meeting will be a precursor to many more future discussions regarding similar problems. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, and Larry Page of Google were in attendance. 
Richard Branson made several world record-breaking attempts after 1985, when in the spirit of the Blue Riband he attempted the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing. For use of the related term "Blue Ribbon" see Blue ribbon (disambiguation. His first attempt in the "Virgin Atlantic Challenger" led to the boat capsizing in British waters and a rescue by RAF helicopter, which received wide media coverage. Some newspapers called for Branson to reimburse the government for the rescue cost. In 1986, in his "Virgin Atlantic Challenger II", with sailing expert Daniel McCarthy, he beat the record by two hours. A year later his hot air balloon "Virgin Atlantic Flyer" crossed the Atlantic. This was the largest balloon at 2. 3 million cubic feet (65,000 m³), and the first hot-air balloon crossing the Atlantic. It reached 130 miles per hour (209 km/h).
In January 1991, Branson crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6,700 miles (10,800 km), in a balloon of 2. 6 million cubic feet (74,000 m³). This broke the record, with a speed of 245 miles per hour.
Between 1995 and 1998 Branson, Per Lindstrand and Steve Fossett, made attempts to circumnavigate the globe by balloon. Per Lindstrand (born September 8, 1948) is a Swedish Aeronautical engineer, pilot James Stephen Fossett (born April 22 1944 missing September 3 2007 declared legally dead February 15 2008 On September 3 2007 Fossett was reported missing after In late 1998 they made a record-breaking flight from Morocco to Hawaii but were unable to complete a global flight before Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones in Breitling Orbiter, March 1999. Dr Bertrand Piccard (born March 1, 1958) is a Swiss Psychiatrist and balloonist. Brian Jones (born 27 March 1947 in Bristol, England) is an English balloonist. Breitling Orbiter was the name of three different Rozière Balloons made by Cameron Balloons to circumnavigate the globe
In March 2004, Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada, in 1 hour, 40 minutes, and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle. Dover is a town and major ferry port in the county of Kent, England. Calais (kaˈlɛ in English often kæˈleɪ traditional English pronunciation /ˈkælɨs/ Kales is a town in northern France. The Gibbs Aquada is a high speed Amphibious vehicle developed by Alan Gibbs and his company Gibbs Technologies An amphibious vehicle (or simply amphibian) is a Vehicle or craft, that is a means of transport viable on land as well as on water - just like an The previous record of six hours was set by two Frenchmen. 
Branson has guest starred, usually playing himself, on several television shows, including Friends, Baywatch, Birds of a Feather, Only Fools and Horses, The Day Today, a special episode of the comedy Goodness Gracious Me and Tripping Over. Friends was an Baywatch was an American Television series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the crowded Beaches of Birds of a Feather is a British sitcom that aired on BBC One from 1989 to 1998 Only Fools and Horses is a British Television sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan, and made and broadcast by the BBC The Day Today is a surreal British Parody of television News programmes It is an adaptation of the radio programme On The Hour Tripping Over is a British / Australian six-part drama series Branson made several appearances during the nineties on the BBC Saturday morning show Live & Kicking, where he was referred to as 'the pickle man' by comedy act Trev and Simon (in reference to Branston Pickle). Live & Kicking was a BBC Saturday morning children's variety programme running from 1993 to 2001 Branston is a well known United Kingdom brand of savoury foods  Branson also appears in a cameo early in XTC's "Generals and Majors" video. XTC was a New Wave band from Swindon, England, active between 1976 and 2005
He was also the star of a reality television show on Fox called The Rebel Billionaire (2004), in which sixteen contestants were tested for their entrepreneurship and sense of adventure. Reality television is a genre of Television programming which presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations documents actual events and usually features ordinary The Rebel Billionaire Branson's Quest for the Best was a reality show for Fox Broadcasting Company 's autumn 2004 season It did not succeed as a rival show to Donald Trump's The Apprentice and only lasted one season. Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American Business magnate, Socialite, Television personality, and The Apprentice is an American reality television show hosted by Donald Trump, created by Mark Burnett and broadcast on
His high public profile often leaves him open as a figure of satire—the 2000 AD series Zenith features a parody of Branson as a super villain, as the comic's publisher and favoured distributor and the Virgin group were in competition at the time. Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and Performing arts In satire human Zenith ( Robert MacDowell) is a British Superhero, who appeared in the Science fiction Comic 2000 AD. A supervillain or supervillainess is a variant of the Villain character type commonly found in Comic books, Action movies and He is also caricatured in The Simpsons episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love" as the tycoon Arthur Fortune, and as the ballooning megalomaniac Richard Chutney (a pun on Branson, as in Branston Pickle) in Believe Nothing. " Monty Can't Buy Me Love " is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons ' tenth season. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD is a Personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification Branston is a well known United Kingdom brand of savoury foods Believe Nothing ( 2002) is a British sitcom starring Rik Mayall as Quadruple Professor Adonis Cnut the cleverest man in England and Oxford's leading moral The character Grandson Richard 39 in Terry Pratchett's Wings is modeled on Branson. Terence David John Pratchett, OBE (born 28 April 1948 is an English fantasy, Science fiction, and children's author.
He has a cameo appearance in several films: Around the World in 80 Days (2004), where he played a hot-air balloon operator; Superman Returns, where he was credited as a 'Shuttle Engineer' and appeared alongside his son, Sam, with a Virgin Galactic-style commercial suborbital shuttle at the centre of his storyline. Around the World in 80 Days is a 2004 Comedy / Adventure film based on Jules Verne 's novel of the same name. Superman Returns is a 2006 Academy Award -nominated Superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Virgin Galactic is a company within Sir Richard Branson 's Virgin Group which plans to provide Sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public He also has a cameo in the James Bond film Casino Royale. James Bond 007 is a Fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve Novels and two Short story Casino Royale ( 2006) is the twenty-first film in the James Bond series; it is directed by Martin Campbell and the first to star Here, he is seen as a passenger going through Miami Airport security check-in and being frisked – several Virgin Atlantic planes appear soon after.
He makes a number of brief and disjointed appearances in the cult classic documentary Derek and Clive Get the Horn which follows the exploits of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore recording their last comedy album. Derek and Clive Get The Horn is a 1979 documentary that chronicles the recording of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's 1978 comedy Peter Edward Cook (17 November 1937 &ndash 9 January 1995 was an English Satirist, Writer and Comedian. Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE (19 April 1935 &ndash 27 March 2002 was an English Actor, Comedian and Musician. Branson and his mother were also featured in the documentary film, Lemonade Stories. In early 2006 on Rove Live, Rove McManus and Sir Richard pushed each other into a swimming pool fully clothed live on TV during a "Live at your house" episode. Rove (formerly Rove Live) is a Logie Award winning Australian weekly Television Talk show hosted by and named Rove McManus (born John McManus II
Branson is a Star Trek fan and named his new spaceship VSS Enterprise in honour of the famous Star Trek ships, and in 2006, offered actor William Shatner a free ride on the inaugural space launch of Virgin Galactic. The VSS Enterprise is the first commercial spaceship being constructed by Virgin Galactic. William Alan Shatner (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian double Emmy - Golden Globe - and Saturn Award -winning
In August 2007, Branson announced on The Colbert Report that he had named a new aircraft Air Colbert. The Colbert Report (/kolˈbɛr rəˈpɔr/&mdashthe t is silent in "Colbert" is a Peabody Award and Emmy Award winning American He later doused political satirist and talk show host Stephen Colbert with water from his mug. Stephen Tyrone Colbert ( born May 13 1964 is an American Comedian, satirist, Actor and Writer, known for his ironic style Branson subsequently took a retaliatory splash from Colbert. The interview quickly ended, with both laughing as shown on the episode aired on Comedy Central on August 22, 2007. Comedy Central is an American Cable television and Satellite television channel that carries predominantly Comedy programming Events 392 - Arbogast has Eugenius elected Western Roman Emperor. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. The interview was promoted on The Report as the Colbert-Branson Interview Trainwreck. Branson then made a cameo appearance on The Soup playing an intern working under Joel McHale who had been warned against getting into water fights with Stephen Colbert, and being subsequently fired. The Soup is an E! Entertainment Television weekly series It is a revamped version of Talk Soup that focuses on recaps of various Pop Joel Edward McHale (born November 20, 1971) is an American Television host best known as the host of The Soup on
In March 2008 he made a small appearance in a budget Bollywood action film alongside Neha Dhupia. Bollywood (बॉलीवूड بالی وڈ is the informal term popularly used for the Mumbai -based Hindi-language Film industry in India Neha Dhupia ( Hindi:नेहा धूपिया born on August 27, 1980 in Cochin, is an Indian model, actress Branson caused a stir in the Indian media as he turned Dhupia upside down on a stage. 
Branson was knighted by the Labour Party (UK) government in 1999 for 'services to entrepreneurship' and presented as a millennium icon. The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the In the 1980s, he was briefly given the post of "litter tsar" by Margaret Thatcher—charged with "keeping Britain tidy". Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925  He was again seen as close to the government when the Labour Party came to power in 1997. The Labour Party is a Political party in the United Kingdom. Founded at the start of the 20th century it has been since the 1920s the principal party of the In 2005 he declared that there were only negligible differences between the two main parties on economic matters.  He has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for Mayor of London, and polls have suggested he would be a viable candidate, though he has yet to express interest. The Mayor of London is an elected politician who along with the London Assembly of 25 members is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London (see 
Branson's business empire is owned by a complicated series of offshore trusts and companies. The Sunday Times stated that his wealth is calculated at £3. 065 billion; if he were to retire to his Caribbean island and liquidate all of this he would pay relatively little in tax. 
When Virgin Mobile launched its service in Canada on 1 March 2005, the use of "naughty nurses" in its advertising triggered "The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario" to demand an apology from Branson and an immediate stop to the campaign, and called on members to boycott Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many Mobile phone service providers based in the United Kingdom, and operating Events 86 BC - Lucius Cornelius Sulla, at the head of a Roman Republic army enters in Athens, removing the Tyrant Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Virgin Mobile spokeswoman Paula Lash said the company never intended to offend anyone, but was not about to pull the advertising. 
When Virgin Mobile included "super hot holiday" wrapping paper with the December 2005 issue of youth magazine Vice, as part of the Hot Box promotion, the wrapping paper contained illustrated holiday angels, where the male angel is touching the female's breast, while the female angel has her hand on the male's genitals.  Famous Players stopped its partnership deals with Virgin Mobile after a complaint.
In 1988, Branson wanted to buy Virgin Music back for the same amount of money, per share, that he had sold it for, valuing the company at £248m. Virgin Records is a British Record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell The shareholders agreed, although they were unaware that Branson had already agreed to sell the same shares to Pony Canyon, a Japanese media company, for £377m. The incident was revealed in 2000 when Branson was on the verge of winning the franchise for the National Lottery from Camelot Group. The National Lottery is the largest Lottery in the United Kingdom. Camelot Group plc Note A are the operators of the UK National Lottery.
In 1993, Branson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from Loughborough University. An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa ( Latin: 'for the sake of the honour' is an Academic degree for which a university (or other degree-awarding The Doctor of Technology (DTech degree is conferred upon candidates after having completed a course of study in technology and a project of lengthy duration in a technologically-related Loughborough University is a Campus university located in the Market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the East Midlands
Branson is the patron of several charities, including the International Rescue Corps and Prisoners Abroad, a registered charity which supports Britons who are detained outside of the UK. The International Rescue Corps is a volunteer organization involved in disaster rescue based in the United Kingdom. Prisoners Abroad is a UK-registered charity which supports British citizens who are imprisoned overseas
Sir Richard appears at No. 85 on the 2002 list of "100 Greatest Britons" (sponsored by the BBC and voted for by the public). Sir Richard also ranks No. 86 on Channel 4's 2003 list of "100 Worst Britons". Channel 4 is a public-service Television and Radio broadcaster in the United Kingdom centred around a television channel of the same name which began Sir Richard was also ranked in 2007's Time Magazine "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World". Time (trademarked in capitals as TIME) is a weekly American Newsmagazine, similar to Newsweek and
On 7 December 2007, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon presented Branson with the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes. Events 43 BC - Marcus Tullius Cicero assassinated 1696 - Connecticut Route 108, one of the oldest highways Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. The United Nations ( UN) is an International organization whose stated aims are to facilitate cooperation in International law, International security The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon (born 13 June 1944 Korean: 반기문 Hanja: 潘基文 is the current Secretary-General of the United Nations. The United Nations Correspondents Association was founded in New York City in 1947 The Sergio Vieira de Mello Citizen of the World award is given out by the United Nations Correspondents Association to those who have made a significant contribution