Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly seem unsure of themselves.

by John Harrington

This article has been amended to reflect the fact that Richard Branson announced a response, including a commitment of money from Virgin, to protect jobs at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Branson helped redefine business and PR in the 1980s and 1990s as he cast himself as the plucky, glamorous go-getter taking on the big boys. He later became a vocal advocate of progressive causes including LGBT+ rights and humane drugs laws – a perfect fit in the era of corporate 'purpose'.

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