Richard Branson, 49, is founder and chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies. He was educated at Stowe School, England, where aged 16 he established a national magazine called Student. He founded Virgin in 1970 as a mail-order record retailer. Today he heads a GBP3.5 billion empire, comprising 100 companies in 23 countries with interests ranging from soft drinks and the Internet to railways and financial services. He is trustee of several charities and is married with two children.