On the 18th of July 1950, in Surrey, England, Richard Charles Nicholas Branson was born. He attended an all boys’ school until the age of 13, when he then transferred to a boarding school in Buckinghamshire, England.
Richard dropped out at the age of 16 to start a culture magazine for the youth called Student. The first run of 50,000 copies was spread widely for free, after Branson covered the costs with advertising. It was in 1969 when Branson was living in a London commune, he had the idea to begin a mail-order record company called Virgin to help fund his magazine. He was then able to expand his business venture, adding a record shop in Oxford Street and then able to build a recording studio in 1972.
Richard is one of the richest people in the world with a net worth of $4.6B, also making him one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world as well. He named his business “Virgin”, simple because he was new to the business world and classed himself inexperienced. The Virgin Group has grown successful in sectors such as mobile, telephone, travel, leisure, music etc. He now has over 56 products/services including Virgin Airlines, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Radio too name a few. Across the entire business, they have approximately 50,000 employees, in over 30 countries. Virgin Group companies don’t see themselves as a hierarchy but more as a part of one big family. They are encourages to run their own affairs, yet the companies help one another, finding the solutions to problems, sharing ideas, values, interests and goals.
The structure of Virgin Group was unclear. Due to its status as a private company, The Group has been described as a 'Keiretsu' organization, which is a structure of loosely linked self-ruling units run by self-managed teams that use a family brand name. Branson's idea was that if a business got to a certain size, he would spin off a new business from the existing one. Richard has