On the occasion of Richard Branson's visit in Paris, in order to present his autobiography, a look at the unusual career of the multibillionaire founder of Virgin.
Born the 18th July 1950 in Shamley Green in Great Britain, Richard Branson, a mediocre student (he is dyslexic) but born entrepreneur, began from the age of 18 to invest in all kinds of activities to finally specialise at the beginning of the 70s in the sale of records by mail order by creating the Virgin brand. He soon opened his own shop in London, then following his logic of expansion created a recording studio ("The Manor") and finally a record label, Virgin Records.
The first record on the label, Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield came out in 1973 and was a global success (he sold over 10 million copies in 10 years). But Branson refused to be locked into a genre and very soon diversified his catalogue by signing the Sex Pistols in 1977 and at the beginning of the 1980s artists like Phil Collins and Culture Club.
Throughout the 80s the Virgin brand flourished and Branson decided to systematically diversify the activities that it conducted: apart from cultural department stores (Virgin Megastores) he got involved with air travel (Virgin Airways), financial products (Virgin Direct), mobile telephony (Virgin Mobile), television (Virgin 17) and even space tourism (Virgin Galactic). His fortune is today estimated at £3 billion.