Billionaire Sir Richard Branson, 66, jetted into Auckland on Friday and Spy understands he is staying in the $10,000-a-night Penthouse at the Pullman hotel, a stone’s throw from his event, An Evening with Sir Richard Branson, at Vector tonight.
Among the VIPs attending are fellow knights of the realm Sir Michael Fay, Sir Graham Henry, and Sir Peter Leitch; renowned chefs Michael Meredith and Ben Bayly; Olympians Eliza McCartney, Blair Tuke and Peter Burling and Paralympian Liam Malone. Guests paid up to $999 for the pleasure of hearing the colourful businessman speak.
Newshub’s Samantha Hayes will MC the event and former PM John Key will carry out his first public appearance as a speaker, albeit in the role of facilitator of the Q&A section. The night’s moot is “Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st century”.
Key will have a lot to network about with Branson, who has recently hosted former President Barack Obama on Necker Island. Also on the island was Nanogirl, Kiwi scientist and Weekend Herald columnist Michelle Dickinson, who kite-surfed with Obama.
Branson’s friend, Kiwi entrepreneur Derek Handley is also speaking.
Handley worked with Branson on the B-Team, a global leadership force finding better ways of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet.
Spy hears Handley is organising a private dinner for Branson, where he has put his feelers out for the ultimate guests to join the table. Who will be on it?
Spy reckons PR dynamo Gemma Ross, former supermodels Rachel Hunter, and Kylie Bax, would be great to entertain Branson.