Sir Richard Branson feared he’d ‘lose everything’ in the pandemic
Sir Richard Branson has opened up about the difficult time he faced during the Covid pandemic in a candid interview. Branson confirmed that he lost around £1.5 billion during the pandemic and the difficulties in trying to save his businesses left him feeling “a little depressed” for a couple of months, which was an unfamiliar experience for him.
The Virgin Group, which he founded, faced media criticism after it requested a loan from the UK government to rescue the struggling company.
Sir Richard’s request was met with disapproval because of his wealth and his ownership of a Caribbean island.
The British businessman told the BBC: “There was a time when I thought we were going to lose everything,
“We sold shares in companies that were public and that was one way we managed to find money.”
Sir Richard told the BBC that the reason for requesting support was due to the fact that they had numerous grounded planes and closed health clubs and hotels during the pandemic, which could have led to thousands of people losing their jobs.
He said: “We had 50, 60 planes all on the ground, and the health clubs all closed, the hotels all closed. And the worst [case] would have been 60,000 people out on the streets.”
The Virgin founder stressed that they were not asking for government handouts, but rather loans that would not make the cost to the airline too high.
When asked whether those stunts made him cringe now, he responded by saying:”It would make me wince if I felt the women were uncomfortable at all.
“I don’t think that I ever made anybody feel uncomfortable. In those days, it made them smile… But today obviously, I think people would feel uncomfortable with something like that.
“So it’s changed and I fully accept that. And I’ve changed alongside everybody else.”
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