Nik Powell biography
Nik Powell (November 4, 1950) businessman and co-founder of the Virgin Group. He was born in Great Kingshill, Buckinghamshire, England. Powell studied at the Longacre School and then left school because his family moved to Little Malvern. Then, he entered a small Catholic high school called St. Richard’s. He always showed a great ability for mathematical questions and for writing. Then he attended high school at Ampleforth College a high school located in North Yorkshire. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Sussex. But a year later he retired and began operating a mail order company, a small record store, and a recording studio.
The intentions to grow were increased, so the partners established Virgin Records in 1972. Little by little, the record began to bear fruit until years later it was recognized as one of the main record labels in the United Kingdom. In the year 1992, it was sold to EMI. During this time, Powell and Stephen Woolley came together to start the project that had as its object the foundation of a production company called Palace Productions. She was responsible for the production of The Company of Wolves (1984), Mona Lisa (1986) and The Crying Game (1992). But, although they achieved great things, the company collapsed in 1992 due to a series of inconclusive contracts and debts.
Without leaving his dreams behind, Powell began working in the film industry this time with Scala Productions, responsible for the production of Fever Pitch, Twenty Four Seven, Last Orders, B. Monkey and Ladies in Lavender. Since then he has been the president of this company. Simultaneously accepted the position of director of the National School of Film and Television in 2003. This decision was very controversial and caused great controversy because there were many people from academia who claimed that Powell was not prepared for the position. For a few years, he received the support of his wife Merrill Tomassi, from whom he divorced.
Later he married the singer Sandie Shaw, Powell was very important in the relaunching of her artistic career. They had two children, Amie and Jack, and they divorced in the 1990s. The distinguished career in the media industry, first in music as a co-founder of Virgin Records and later as a producer of several award-winning films allowed Nik to handle with excellence the School and be welcomed and respected by his students, the above has also gained more popularity to the institution.
Nik has not left his close ties with the leaders of the music and film industry, and also served as a trustee of BAFTA, where he chaired the Film Committee. While chairing the NFTS, Nik has been responsible for a remarkable transformation of the School that has grown in infrastructure and in importance and quality. It has been recognized as one of the best film schools in the world and now he can welcome more students because its academic offer is wider: masters, diploma, certificates and short courses in the film, television and games industries.
In recent years, the school received its accreditation from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Being then an accredited institution of higher education. A few years ago the NFTS was equipped with two buildings and a new digital television studio 4K. The president of the School has extended and made public his thanks to the work of Powell, and to the great achievements that the students of this school have made. They have been winners of several awards, such as four Oscar nominations, seven BAFTA and 10 Cilect Global Student Film awards.
Many NFTS graduate students are working in the best film, television, and gaming industries in the United Kingdom. But, after 14 years under the direction of the school, Powell decided to retire from this position in June 2017. Although he resigned from his position, he affirmed that he will continue supporting everything he can to his beloved institution. Powell appeared on the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honors list. Powell received an OBE. His partner Richard Branson has also recognized his work and admires his work. He also works with novelist and screenwriter Deborah Moggach.
After his retirement he realized, against all odds, that if he could get ahead in the role of academic director of such a prestigious institution, he could also found Virgin, enter the world of cinema, among other things. During his time as director, he took great pains to expand scholarships for students who do not have the economic capacity, and also encouraged the entry of women into the institution. And finally, he was very efficient with financing from large film industries. Powell is an inspiring man and was an important figure for the NFTS.