Life of Richard Branson & Virgin

Timeline created by asturm
  • Richard Branson Born

    Richard Branson Born
    Richard Branson was born in Surrey, England. Son to a barrister (father) and flight attendant (mother). Grandson to a high-court judge.
  • Branson Drops Out of School to Begin Magazine

    Branson Drops Out of School to Begin Magazine
    Branson struggled with dyslexia which eventually led to his dropping out of school to start his own "youth-culture" magazine called "Student"
  • First Issue of "Student" appears

    First Issue of "Student" appears
  • Virgin is Born

    Virgin is Born
    Branson begins to sell records by mail-order under the name Virgin as a way to cover costs for his magazine.
  • Period: to

    Beginnings of Virgin

  • First Record Shop Opens

    First Record Shop Opens
    As the mail-order business grew, Branson decided to expand the business by opening up a store-front.
  • Virgin Record Label Begins

    Virgin Record Label Begins
    The first artists on the Virgin record label was Mike Oldfield with his single, "Tubular Bells". Oldfield stayed on the UK music charts for a record 247 weeks. Other notable artists include: The Sex Pistols, Rolling Stones, Culture Club and Genesis. Virgin was one of the top 6 record companies in the world.
  • Virgin Records signs the Sex Pistols

    Virgin Records signs the Sex Pistols
    Virgin Records sign the Sex Pitols and help them release their album, "Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols".
  • Necker Island

    Necker Island
    Richard Branson, in an attempt to impress his future wife, Joan Templeton, buys Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands for £180, 000. Today, Necker Island is part of the Virgin Limited Edition Portfolio.
  • Virgin Megastores

    Virgin Megastores
    The first Virgin Megastore opened at 14-16 Oxford Street in London, England. It would remain the brand's flagship store until it closes in 2007.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    The Virgin Books branch was established as a way to publish music titles that would compliment the Virgin Records label. The first title from Virgin Books was the "Sid Vicious Family Album".
  • Virgin Films

    Virgin Films
    Virgin Films is launched to invest and distribute films that would also compliment the record label. The first film distributed through Virgin Films was the Sex Pistol's mockumentary, "The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle".
  • Period: to

    Virgin Records in it's prime. Branson branches out.

    Virgin Records was extremely successful during this time. Branson also begins to venture into different industries that could support his music label with Virgin Books, Virgin Classics, Virgin Films, Virgin Megastores, etc.
  • Virgin Records Goes International

    Virgin Records Goes International
    Pictured- The original Virgin Records Logo
  • Virgin Games

    Virgin Games
    Virgin Games was launched to create and distribute video games for the gaming systems: Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad, CPC and C64.
  • Virgin Vision launches "Music Box"

    Virgin Vision launches "Music Box"
    Virgin Vision launches "Music Box" which was designed as a 24-hour satellite radio station.
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways & Virgin Cargo

    Virgin Atlantic Airways & Virgin Cargo
    Virgin Atlantic's inaurgural flight was a Boeing 747-200 called the "Maiden Voyager".
  • Virgin Holidays

    Virgin Holidays
    Virgin Holidays was founded as a type of travel agnecy that plans trips from start to finish.
  • Virgin Records in the U.S.

    Virgin Records in the U.S.
    Virgin Records comes to the United States, closely followed by openings in Japan as well.
  • Virgin Airship and Virgin Balloon Company

    Virgin Airship and Virgin Balloon Company
    The launch of Virgin Airship and Virgin Balloon Company served as inspiration for Branson's world record breaking trips across the ocean.
  • Mates Condoms

    Mates Condoms
    Virgin helped launch the brand Mates condoms with the intention of spreading AIDS and HIV awareness. The line was marketed mostly towards young adults.
  • Virgin Classics

    Virgin Classics
    Virgin Classics was a label and distribution company that specialized in high-quality classical music.
  • Virgin Hotels

    Virgin Hotels
    The first version of Vigin Hotels opens (now known as Virgin Limited Edition) as an exclusive hotel chain with properties in Edinburgh, North Yorkshire and Hampshire.
  • Virgin Publishing

    Virgin Publishing
    Virgin Publishing is established and eventually becomes Virgin Books and publishes all six of Richard Branson's books.
  • Virgin Records and Janet Jackson

    Virgin Records and Janet Jackson
    Janet Jackson is signed to Virgin Records for $25 million, making her the highest paid recording artist of that time. She was only with the label for one album, her fifth one named 'Janet".
  • Virgin Records Sold

    Virgin Records Sold
    In a desperate attempt to save his Virgin Airlines business, Branson is forced to sell Virgin Records to Thorn EMI. He has gone on to admit it was one of the hardest, and most upsetting, decisions he ever had to make.
  • Period: to

    Branson takes a hit but fights back.

    During this time period, Branson struggled in a few ventures and therefore had to sell his beloved Virgin Records. He did not let it stop him though and in a few years he began a new label and many new successful businesses. He begins to set charitites in place as a way to give back to his community and less fortunate areas of the world.
  • Virgin Radio

    Virgin Radio
    On April 30, 1993 Virgin Radio hit the airwaves with Virgin 1215AM as the UK's first national and commerical rock music station. Branson's voice was the first one heard as the station went live at 12:15pm. The first record played was "Born to be Wild" by INXS.
  • Virgin Vodka & Virgin Cola

    Virgin Vodka & Virgin Cola
    Both Virgin Vodka and Virgin Cola were launched around the same time, and apparently are great to drink together!
  • Virgin Retail

    Virgin Retail
    Virgin Retail quickly became the UK's largest music retailer by buying the chain, Our Price.
  • Virgin Vacations

    Virgin Vacations
    Virgin Vacations was launched with the intention to provide American Virgin Atlantic customers with inclusive vacation packages to London and elsewhere in the UK.
  • Virgin Direct Personal Financing Services

    Virgin Direct Personal Financing Services
    Virgin Direct Personal Financing Services opens and their first product sold is a new style of 'Index Tracking' personal equity plans. This company would later become today's Virgin Money.
  • V2 Music

    V2 Music
    Branson begins V2 as a new version of the previously sold Virgin Records. Some artists signed include: Powder Finger and Tom Jones.
  • Virgin.net

    Virgin.net
    Virgin.net was launched as an internet service provider.
  • Virgin Rail Group

    Virgin Rail Group
    Quickly became Virgin Trains and operated Intercity and express services across mainland Britain.
  • V Festival

    V Festival
    An all-day music festival, the first V Festival is sponsored by Virgin, and held in two differnet locations in the UK on the same weekend.
  • Virgin Trains

    Virgin Trains
    The ever-growing Virgin Trains promises to start running 40 new high-speed tilting trains to reduce travel times significantly.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes the first edition of Richard Branson's autobiography, "Losing My Virginity".
  • Virgin Mobile

    Virgin Mobile
    Virgin Mobile was Virgin's first telecommunications venture and eventually spread to the US in 2002.
  • Radio Free Virgin

    Radio Free Virgin
    Radio Free Virgin begins as an online digital radio station.
  • Virgin Hotels

    Virgin Hotels
    Virgin Hotels acquires Ulusaba which is a private game reserve new the Kruger National Park in South Africa. This property later become part of the Virgin Limited Edition.
  • Richard Branson Knighted

    Richard Branson Knighted
    Richard Branson is knighted by Prince Charles of Wales for his contribution to entrepreneurship. His formal title is now: Sir Richard Branson.
  • Virgin Energy

    Virgin Energy
    Virgin Energy sells gas and electricity to residential households across the UK.
  • Period: to

    Branson explores new frontiers.

    With many successful comapanies in place, Branson begins to focus on new frontiers (Virgin Galactic & Oceanic) and successfully completes many world records/firsts in the process. At the same time, his (and Virgin's) charitable efforts continue to expand.
  • Virgin Cars

    Virgin Cars
    Virgin Car group begins selling online.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    Virginmoney.com begins as a financial services supermarket.
  • Virgin Blue

    Virgin Blue
    Virgin Blue begins as an independent Australian airline. It eventually became the fastest-growing company in Virgin's history.
  • Virgin Wines

    Virgin Wines
    Virgin Wines is founded and begins to grow.
  • Virgin Trains

    Virgin Trains
    Virgin Trains unveils it's game-changing 140mph tilting Pendolino train in the UK.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    Virgin Direct and Virginmoney.com combine to create today's Virgin Money.
  • Virgin Experience

    Virgin Experience
    Virgin Experience starts as a day-adventure company offering anything from Porsche driving to scuba driving. Later, it was renamed as Virgin Experience Days.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    Virgin Money begins to offer the Virgin Credit Card.
  • Virgin Mobile

    Virgin Mobile
    Virgin Mobile comes to the United States.
  • Virgin Bikes

    Virgin Bikes
    Virgin Bikes is created under the Virgin Cars group.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes Branson's second book, "Screw It Let's Do It".
  • Virgin Pulse

    Virgin Pulse
    Virgin Pulse comes to the United States. Later it would be renamed to Virgin Electronics.
  • Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic
    Virgin Galactic is announced as the world's first commercial space company.
  • Virgin Unite

    Virgin Unite
    Virgin Unite begins as Virgin's non-profit foundation to help smaller charities gain recognition and funding.
  • Virgin Games

    Virgin Games
    Virgin Games launches two smaller online groups: Virgin Casino and Virgin Poker.
  • Virgin Fuel

    Virgin Fuel
    Virgin Fuel launches to invest growth capital in the renewable energy and resource efficiency sectors. Later it would be renamed to the Virgin Green Fund.
  • V Festival

    V Festival
    V Festival comes to the United States under the name Virgin Mobile's Virgin Festival.
  • Virgin Comics

    Virgin Comics
    Virgin Comics is founded alongside Virgin Animation. Virgin Animation creates films for the comic books sold by Virgin Comics.
  • Virgin Media

    Virgin Media
    Virgin Media becomes a "quadplay" company by offering TV, broadband, phone and mobile services all from the same company.
  • Virgin America

    Virgin America
    Virgin America launches it's first flight from New York to San Francisco.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    Virgin Money becomes the preferred bidder for acquisition of the struggling bank, Nothern Rock.
  • Virgin Digital

    Virgin Digital
    Virgin Digital in the UK closes. Instead, Virgin Media begins to offer downloadable music through their website.
  • Virgin Earth Challenge

    Virgin Earth Challenge
    Al Gore and Richard Branson launch the Virgin Earth Challenge which, "Seeks to find a commercially viable design which results in the new removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases in an attempt to contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate system."
  • Virgin Charter

    Virgin Charter
    Virgin Charter launches an online matchmaking service between people and jets in the United States.
  • Virgin Atlantic

    Virgin Atlantic
    Virgin Atlantic becomes the first airline company to fly a Boeing 747 using only biofuel.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes Branson's third book, "Business Stripped Bare".
  • Virgin America

    Virgin America
    Virgin America becomes the first airline company to offer free Wi-Fi access on every flight.
  • Virgin Holidays

    Virgin Holidays
    Virgin Holidays helped to open the V-Room in Gatwick Airport which is a lounge dedicated to travelers going on vacation, no matter what class they are flying.
  • Virgin Health Bank

    Virgin Health Bank
    Virgin Health Bank commissions, desgins and builds the first cord blood stem cell processing and storage facility in Qatar.
  • Virgin Festival

    Virgin Festival
    United State's Virgin Festival is renamed as the Virgin Mobile FreeFest and is free of charge to anyone who donates to the ReGeneration charity that supports homeless youth.
  • Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic
    Virgin Galactic unveils it's first commerically manned spaceship called the Virgin SpaceShip Enterprise.
  • Virgin Racing

    Virgin Racing
    Virgin Racing launched as a Formula One team previously known as Manor Grand Prix.
  • Virgin Gaming

    Virgin Gaming
    Virgin Gaming was launched as a service for people of all skill levels to play competitively in the US.
  • Virgin Produced

    Virgin Produced
    Virgin Produced is a film and TV development company that packages and produces film. The company made it's debut with the movie "Limitless".
  • Virgin Hotels & Limited Edition

    Virgin Hotels & Limited Edition
    Virgin Hotels is relaunched in 2010.All previously held properties by Virgin Hotels become part of of the Virgin Limited Edition Portfolio.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes Branson's fouth book, "Reach for the Skies".
  • Virgin Oceanic

    Virgin Oceanic
    Virgin Oceanic was launched as a deep sea exploration company using submarines.
  • Virgin Mobile

    Virgin Mobile
    Virgin Mobile US begins Virgin Mobile Live as a 24/7 music streaming service.
  • Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship

    Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship
    The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship is opened as an educational facility in Jamica.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes Branson's fifth book, "Screw Business as Usual".
  • Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic
    Virgin Galactic dedicates the Galactic Gateway to Space at Spaceport America as the world's first purpose-built commerical spaceport. They sign a deal with NASA to udnertake research missions on SpaceShipTwo.
  • Virgin Atlantic

    Virgin Atlantic
    Virgin Atlantic begins to develop the world's first low-carbon aviation fuel which should have half the carbon footprint as the standard fossil fuel.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    Virgin Money UK agree to buy Northern Rock bank from Her Majesty's Treasury.
  • Virgin Hotels

    Virgin Hotels
    In October 2011, Virgin Hotels bought the 27-story Old Dearborn Bank building in Chicago to be redeveloped and opened in 2013 as the first Virgin Hotel.
  • Virgin Money

    Virgin Money
    The first Virgin Money banking branch is opened in Guilford, replacing the old Northern Rock bank branch.
  • Virgin America

    Virgin America
    Virgin America is voted the world's best airline in the prestigious 'Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards' and wins "Best US Airline" in the Conde Nast Travelers 2012 Choice Awards for the fifth year in a row.
  • Virgin Galactic

    Virgin Galactic
    Virgin Galactic announces development of orbital space launch system called the LauncherOne.
  • Virgin Money Giving

    Virgin Money Giving
    Virgin Money Giving surpasses the $100 million donation barrier in only 2 1/2 years.
  • Virgin Books

    Virgin Books
    Virgin Books publishes Branson's sixth book, "Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You in Business School".