Branson abandoned the traditional suit and nabha maturity date tie in favor of a sweater and slacks.
1992: Virgin Records is sold to Thorn EMI plc for 510 million (US957 million).
The Virgin brand had meantime become, according to the company, one of the top 50 brands in the world by the late 1990s; a poll of British consumers at that time showed that 96 percent had heard of Virgin.
'The Long Haul from Survivor to Contender Financial Times, August 13, 1998,.1986: Virgin Group PLC is taken public through a 56 million stock offering.They all look knackered, they've worked hard.Among other innovative ventures during the early 1990s, Branson fired up an airline charter service connecting Key West and Orlando, using refurbished DC-3 planes and requiring the flight attendants to wear 1940s attire.Renamed Virgin Express, the low-cost, short-haul airline offered flights from Brussels to Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Vienna, and Nice.Steve Winwood, Boy George, Phil Collins, Genesis, and the Rolling Stones all signed onto the Virgin roster.That venture was an immediate success, establishing the foundation for what would become a multibillion-dollar conglomerate during the 1990s.In late 1999, however, Virgin announced that it would sell its cinema interests in Britain and Ireland to Vivendi of France.He also further expanded his retail operations.1996: Euro Belgian Airlines, a low-cost, short-haul airline, is acquired and renamed Virgin Express.Smith, Alison, 'A Genius for Publicity Financial Times, August 4, 1997,.
By 1988, the airline consisted of only two planes, but was boasting the highest occupancy rate and greatest profit margins in the industry.A new law had just been passed that allowed people to sell records at discounted prices, and Branson was among the first to take advantage.Some even drove them back in their own cars.Snubbed by the British financial establishment, Branson was able to get friends and relatives to contribute start-up capital for the project.While Branson enjoyed success with Virgin Records during the mid-1970s, by the end of the decade the company was trying to shake its image as an outmoded 'hippie' label.
Importantly, he encouraged his employees to innovate and take risks without the fear of failure.
Allowing them to operate their divisions with minimal interference, Branson also offered them high-value incentives based on performance.