buys island for staff - Is this guy the best boss
in the world?
17th May 2003
Sunshine Coast Daily)
Is there anyone out there who doesn't
want Sir Richard Branson as a boss?
teeth-flashing tycoon has further endeared himself
to his Aussie aviation staff by buying a $3 million
island in the Noosa River that will be turned
into a Virgin employee retreat.
of the ultimate staff incentive broke yesterday,
four months after the Sunshine Coast Daily first
reported Sir Richard was rumoured to be the island's
nine-hectare isle upstream from Tewantin has a
pontoon and a house, a renovated three-bedroom
Queenslander, plus a boathouse converted into
an artist's studio.
most bosses are locking the liquid paper away
in cupboards, Sir Richard plans to spend another
$2 million developing the island into an eco-tourism
retreat for his hard-working Australian and international
will even have treehouse accommodation and should
be ready for its first flying guests in a year.
"What makes Virgin so special is our people,''
the billionaire said yesterday.
will be a wonderful retreat for them and it will
also be a great way for our team to spend time
together and to get to know each other outside
of a work environment.
will be a lot of fun and I am looking forward
to spending more time in Australia and sharing
this delightful island with our wonderful team.''
Fun has been a trademark of Sir Richard's Australian
aviation outpost, Virgin Blue, since it launched
itself on to the Australian market on August 31,
flight attendants crack jokes, the check-in staff
actually smile and even the airline's name for
its red-andwhite planes is a tongue-in-cheek reference
to the Aussie habit of calling redheads "Blue''.
Richard confirmed the island purchase in Perth
yesterday while visiting the West Australian capital
to celebrate an increase in Virgin flights.
Blue, which employs about 2500 people across Australia,
also recently increased its flights to the Sunshine
added a direct route from Melbourne to Marcoola
Virgin Group also owns Necker Island in the British
Virgin Islands, which is run as a business for
Island will be Virgin's first staff island.
of Virgin's latest acquisition came one day after
Sir Richard announced Virgin Blue had more than
tripled its profits for 2003, reporting a $110.3
million net profit for the year to March, up from
also revealed his intention to float 20% of the
airline later this year, despite resistance from
joint venture partner Patrick Corp.
what potential shareholders would make of the
purchase of an island, Sir Richard said it had
been privately acquired.
analysts can be very strange creatures ... three
of us have bought it personally in order for the
staff to get it rather than doing it through the
company, so we can avoid those sorts of questions.''
Man Makes Property Splash