Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, will be honored at Clive Davis and Recording Academy's Pre-Grammy gala this year. Branson will be presented with the President's Merit Award "in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry and the impact his efforst have had on music and the business of music," a press release states.
Branson's industry career began when he opened a record shop in London called Virgin Records and Tapes. From there, the shop grew into a label that released records by Culture Club, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Sex Pistols, and plenty more. Virgin has since taken on myriad endeavours from airlines to telecommunications to music festivals; the group's Virgin Unite is a nonprofit dedicated to getting global leaders to address conflict, climate change, and disease.
Previous recipients of the President's Merit Award include Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegum, Berry Gordy, and more.
The gala will take place at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 11, the night before the Grammys.