With the foundation of Virgin Records in 1970, The Virgin Group is one of world’s largest business entities, which in 2009 comprised 300 companies under its structure, in businesses as diverse as space travel, mobile telephony, transportation, travel, financial services, media, music and fitness. The image and culture of the Virgin Group is tied to the image and personality of its founder Sir Richard Branson. The company’s fundamental values foster many of the dimensions of culture, which are highly internalized within the organization. Mr. Branson realizes the potential and importance of those who work for him and therefore creates a structure, which is decentralized, through empowering his employees and providing them with autonomy. This paper aims at providing a critical view over the Virgin Group’s corporate strategy, in terms of strategic thinking and diversification, as well as a closer look at the business strategy of one of the Group’s businesses, the Virgin America. The Virgin Group is a company that encourages employees to use their awareness to make decisions rather than the standard quo. Because of the company’s corporate culture and structure, Virgin has successfully forecasted possible issues and has dealt with them in a timely manner. Many other organizations have a formalized structure and the Virgin Group is anything but formal and other companies may look at this as an area of concern but not for Sir Richard Branson, the ways he communicates and the way he leads is testament to why he and his companies are very successful and Virgin America will follow suit.
One of the most recognized name in the world, Virgin, created in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson a leading venture capital organization, is one of the world's most recognized and respected organizations in the business enterprise. The Virgin Group is a diversified grouping of more than 300 privately held companies, employing approximately 50,000 people, in 30 countries. Revenues around the world in 2009 exceeded 18 billion (http://www.virgin.com/about-us/). The Virgin Group has become one of the most successful businesses in industries ranging from mobile telephony, transportation, travel, financial services, media, music and fitness. Of Virgin’s 300-plus companies, the majority are operating companies that own assets, employ people, and offer goods and services. These operating companies are owned and controlled by some 20 holding companies; most of these own several operating companies within the same line of business. For example, Virgin Travel Limited owns Virgin Group’s investments in Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, Virgin America, and SN Air holdings. Overall ownership of most of the Virgin Group lies in the hands of Virgin Group Investments Limited a private company registered in the British Virgin Islands. The corporate strategy of the Virgin Group is to operate like a venture capital firm based on the Virgin brand. This strategy involves diversification at the individual business unit level and meanwhile, collaborations are created from hierarchical relationships and the interaction of the corporate head office with individual business units. By leveraging the Virgin Brand which has established a reputation in the customer minds of the unique Virgin culture and also allows Virgin to break into new markets and execute its ventures very effectively. Virgin Atlantic Airways is the largest of the Virgin companies and the number two airline in the United Kingdom, with this said Mr. Branson wanted to branch out of the UK to build his airline image to the United States. In 2007, San Francisco became the headquarters for Virgin America. Virgin America which has flown mostly trans-continental routes in the U.S. since its launch in 2007, has expanded to Canada with flights to Toronto and plans to begin service to Mexico. Sir Richard Branson vision was to have a “topnotch service”...
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