- The Early Years of Virgin (1984-89) were challenging but chaotic yet having a disposition of Richard Branson the time was challenging and fun in its own way. During 1989 the airline celebrated its “one millionth customer” and the customers on board were surprised with special offerings like a beautician or tailor on board. Branson befriended all rock stars and the company got into setting unique records such as the speedboat set the fastest time to have ever crosses theAtlanticwith Branson on board. Virgin Atlantic also had a hot air balloon that flew acrossAtlanticand soon one of the balloons broke all records.
- During 1989-94 Richard Branson realized that the management of the company needed to be professionalized. The company was formerly a flat structure with 27 people reporting directly to Branson since now it was important to convert the company into a more customer driven organization. Branson met with a Marks and Spencer retailer Syd Pennington soon after that Pennington was made joint managing director of the company. Roy Gardner enjoyed the same position as well and Nigel Primrose was Finance Director so now only three people were reporting directly to Branson.
- Richard then focused on expanding the fleet to 18 planes with Boeings (747’s) and airbuses. The logo of Virgin Atlantic became the scantily dressed red-headed lady dressed in red and carrying a scarf.
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Essay: The Early years of Virgin Atlantic