The only European airline CEO in your list.
What exactly has Branson done to warrant inclusion on the list? VS
was close to bankruptcy twice - once saved by Branson's selling his music interests and the other time saved when SQ
brought their 49% stake. Yet VS
is still a small airline with less than 40 aircraft and very vulnerable if BII is scrapped. Branson is not known for his generosity, VS
staff are poorly paid when compared with their counterparts, so that Branson can swell his family's coffers.
As regards Virgin Blue, this feasted on the corpse of Ansett and its success is attributable to Branson's non-interferrence. The present board has gone on record and said that he never turns up at any board meeting, yet he happily criticises the way the airline is run from his London home.
There are countless other UK airline CEOs who have done far more in a year for civil aviation than Branson over 21 years - e.g. Sir Freddie Laker the real pioneer of low-cost, low-frills airlines and inventor of ad-hoc charters that brought flying to the masses; Lord King of Warnaby who turned BA
from a loss-making state-subsidised goliath to one of the most profitable and respected airlines in the world; Sir Adam Thomson who constantly battled for the right of UK independent airlines to be allowed to compete against state-owned enterprises; Stelios who founded U2
; Rod Eddington who nursed BA
through post 9/11, SARS, competition against LCCs on their home turf and petro-dollar funded middle eastern airlines and subsidised US carriers internationally; Michael O'Leary who transformed FR
from a small Irish loss-making airline into Europe's largest LCC; even the CEOs of Monarch, Thomas Cook, First Choice etc deserve more respect and recognition than Branson does.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."