Just a year
ago, Holly Branson seemed poised to follow a very different career
path from her father, British billionaire Richard Branson, who built
his Virgin empire from scratch. Indeed, the flamboyant entrepreneur’s
only daughter had spent five years studying at London’s University
College preparing to become a pediatrician.
Yet last summer
the allure of her family’s business proved too great to pass up.
Soon after completing her studies, Holly decided to forgo her medical
career and join Virgin instead. The British scion, who is said to
be pals with Prince William, is now spending a year working in Virgin’s
various groups and has already spent time in its health, fitness
and airline businesses.
Holly is hardly
the first heiress to abandon her own plans to join the family business.
daughter of Canadian retail billionaire Galen Weston who spent years
writing about contemporary art for the Daily Telegraph and
working as a public relations executive for Burberry, eventually
started her own corporate branding business in 2003. But that same
year her father convinced her to become creative director of Selfridges,
a luxury department store chain in the U.K. he had just bought.
"I was reluctant to fold up [my business], having just started
it," said Alannah, 37. "But my family convinced me that
this was the perfect job for me."
are the latest in a long line of billionaire offspring who have
decided to work for mom or dad. The allure seems obvious: lots of
responsibility at a young age, little chance of being fired by the
boss and the opportunity to contribute to the family’s legacy.
But how seriously
do these women take these jobs, and how likely is it that they’ll
actually inherit the corner offices, eventually run billion-dollar
enterprises and oversee thousands of employees?