Entries in Richard Branson (2)


Richard Branson Loses Bet, Serves as an AirAsia Stewardess

Mark Wieland/Getty Images(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- Richard Branson, president of Virgin Atlantic, made good on a bet he lost when he dressed up as a stewardess for a competitor airline on Sunday.

Branson made a bet two years ago with AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes over the results of a Formula 1 Grand Prix race. The wager? Whoever had the slower team needed to spend a day as a stewardess on the other’s airline.

“We both had Grand Prix teams and I was absolutely certain that I was going to win, and I thought it would look very fetching for Tony to be in a Virgin Atlantic steward outfit,” Branson said.

Unfortunately for Branson, His team lost.

“Of course, the drivers who ran that race,” Branson joked, "they're no longer with us.”

In a news conference before boarding an AirAsia flight Branson joked he went to extremes to avoid making good on his promise.

“I managed to arrange for my leg to be broken and then I managed to arrange for the royal couple to fall in love and get married. I then burnt down my house on Necker Island,” he said.

Branson finally boarded an Air Asia flight from Perth, Australia to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, complete with a dress, lipstick, shaved legs and high heels.

“We've had a fun day,” Branson said when the flight touched down in Kuala Lumpur. “Glad to have really got this bet over and done with, and looking forward to getting back into my own clothes.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Richard Branson, 11 Other Foreign Billionaires, to Give Wealth to Charity

Mark Wieland/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, foreign billionaires including Sir Richard Branson are locking arms with U.S. counterparts to sign "The Giving Pledge" -- a commitment to give half their wealth to a mega-charity created in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

"Early on, the Giving Pledge was predominantly an American phenomenon," says Peter Newcomb, a Bloomberg News editor who compiles Bloomberg's list of global billionaires.

Giving away one's money, says Newcomb, is an idea that traditionally has been more appealing to Americans than Europeans.

"It was not really a European sensibility.  Now you're beginning to see that change," he says.

Of the 12 new signatories to the Pledge, one-each comes from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and the Ukraine.  Five more come from the U.K., according to a Giving Pledge statement.  These names bring to 105 the number of billionaires who have signed so far.

The newcomers include the famous -- The U.K.'s Branson and his wife Joan -- and the not-so famous: Patrice and Precious Motsepe of South Africa, whose $2.67 billion fortune, according to Forbes, comes from mining.  Patrice, says Forbes, is the first and only black billionaire from Africa.

Like other new signers of the Pledge, Branson made his commitment by letter.

"Early on in my life," Branson writes, "I realized that personal 'stuff' really didn't matter.  Joan and I lived on a houseboat, and one day it sank.  We realized that we missed nothing except our treasured photo albums."

"Later our house in London caught fire, destroying everything inside.  Last year our home in the British Virgin Islands was completely gutted as a result of a lightning strike.  Were so relieved that everyone got out safely that even the loss of photo albums and notebooks were of little consequence," he continues.

Branson wants, he says, to make "a positive difference" in the world.  As he and his wife are able to take their monies out of Virgin Group, they intend to target such causes as the reducing carbon emissions, protecting nature and resolving conflict.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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