For the first time ever, centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos heads up the ranking of the world’s wealthiest people, officially becoming the only person to appear in the Forbes ranks with a 12-figure fortune. And that’s not all: for the first time in the history of the Forbes list of worldwide billionaires, Hungary and Zimbabwe join the list. With many Saudi Arabians out of the race due to political headwinds, America and China lead the way with the most billionaires listed in this year’s Forbes list.
Jeff Bezos (CEO and Founder of Amazon). Estimated net worth: US$140bn
As the owner of a 16 per cent stake in e-commerce giant Amazon, Jeff Bezos has become the first person to exceed US$100 billion in assets and tops the ranking of the Forbes list of billionaires worldwide. Bezos attended Princeton and worked at a hedge fund before quitting and deciding to tap into the Internet’s power of online selling. Despite his humble beginnings, he have went far and wide, not only with his e-commerce company, but also with his aerospace company Blue Origin, which is currently developing a re-usable rocket that Jeff is convinced will be able to carry passengers to space. Interesting fact: Jeff Bezos developed an interest in the Washington Post newspaper and decided to buy it in 2013 for US$250 million.
Bill Gates (Co-Founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Estimated net worth: US$92bn
A well-known regular, Bill has topped the list of billionaires for a number of years due to his founding of Microsoft. These days, he’s more well known as a philanthropist who works together with his wife on their foundation to save lives and improve worldwide health. Not only focusing on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they have also been actively working with Rotary International to eliminate polio worldwide. He still remains a board member with Microsoft, but he has sold or given away most of his stake, with just over 1 per cent of shares left on top of his investment in various stocks and assets. A visionary individual, he launched a US$1 billion breakthrough energy investment fund in 2016 with 20 other people to help solve energy crises in the world.
Warren Buffet (CEO of Berkshire Hathaway). Estimated net worth: US$81bn
As one of the most successful investors of all time, Warren Buffet is a living legend. He is the head of Berkshire Hathaway, a company that owns more than 60 companies including insurer Geico, battery maker Duracell, and restaurant chain Dairy Queen. He started investing at the age of 11 and he has committed to giving more than 99 per cent of his wealth to charity. Together with Bill Gates, he launched the giving pledge in 2010, asking billionaires to give half their wealth to charitable causes.
Bernard Arnault (Chairman and CEO, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton). Estimated net worth: US$76bn
Well known in the luxury brand world, Bernard Arnault takes care of more than 70 brands, including Louis Vuitton and Sephora. Skyrocketing results at LVMH and a megadeal to take over nearly all of Christian Dior helped increase Arnault’s wealth by US$30.5bn in one year. As an arts patron, he is the visionary behind the US$135 million Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris Bois de Boulogne, which opened to the public in 2014.
Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook). Estimated net worth: US$74bn
As someone with a Hollywood movie based on his creation of Facebook, Zuckerberg has seen his net worth rise as the social network’s stock price skyrocketed over the years, especially with the acquisition of Instagram. Facebook was started by Zuckerberg when he was 19 years old with the intention to help students match names with faces in their class. Owning an estimated 17 per cent of the stock, Zuckerberg is a billionaire, but both he and his wife have pledged to give away 99 per cent of their Facebook stake throughout their lifetime. His journey has not been without challenges, and April 2018 may have been his most challenging time as he testified before the Congress after it was found that Facebook had been sharing user data with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
Amancio Ortega (Co-Founder of Inditex). Estimated net worth: US$73bn
As one of the richest men in Europe as well as the wealthiest retailer in Europe, Amancio Ortega is one happy man. Considered as the pioneer in fast fashion, he co-founded Madrid-listed Inditex, a firm well known for its Zara fashion chain, with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera in 1975. He currently owns more than 60 per cent of the stake in Inditex, which owns brands such as Massimo Dutti and PULL&BEAR with a total of 7,500 stores around the world. Ortega normally earns more than US$400 million in dividends each year and uses those dividends to invest in properties in Madrid, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Miami, and New York.
Carlos Slim Helu & Family (Honorary Chairman America Movil SAB de CV). Estimated net worth: US$62bn
Carlos Slim Helu is Mexico’s richest man and has control over America Movil, Latin America’s biggest telcom firm. Carlos, along with other foreign telcom partners, also bought Mexico’s only phone company, Telmex, in 1990, which is now part of America Movil. Other than that, he also owns stakes in Mexican construction, consumer goods, mining, and real estate companies, as well as 17 per cent of the New York Times. His son-in-law Fernando Romero designed the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City to house Carlos’s extensive and eclectic art collection.
Larry Ellison (CTO and Co-founder of Oracle). Estimated net worth: US$54bn
Larry Ellison co-founded Oracle in 1977 to answer people’s needs for customer relationship management databases. Despite giving up the role of CEO in 2014, he remains as CTO and Chairman of the Oracle board. As Oracle grows, it is pushing towards cloud computing, which is why it acquired the cloud company Netsuite for US$9.3 billion in 2016. Oracle also made its move into hardware with a 2010 acquisition of Sun Microsystems for US$7.4 billion. As with all dedicated billionaires, in 2016 Ellison made a pledge to give US$200 million to the University of Southern California for the building of a cancer treatment centre.
Charles Koch (CEO of Koch Industries). Estimated net worth: US$50bn
Charles Koch has been the Chairman of Koch Industries, America’s second-largest private company, since 1967. He earns US$100 billion in revenue from a number of businesses, including pipelines, chemicals, Dixie cups, Brawny paper towels, and Stainmaster carpets. Koch Industries was started by his father, Fred Koch, in 1940 who improved the method of refining heavy oil into gasoline. Hailing from Kansas City, Charles now owns 42 per cent of the firm as does his brother David, who bought their two other brothers’ shares in 1983. Charles has funded a number of thinktanks, including the libertarian Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute.
David Koch (Executive Vice-President of Koch Industries). Estimated net worth: US$50bn
As we mentioned above, David Koch shares the majority control of Koch Industries with his brother Charles. The Kansas City native is now based in New York City, managing Koch’s chemical technology group. As a family-owned business, Koch Industries has more than US$100 billion in revenues by operating pipelines, producing fertilisers, Dixie cups, and making Quilted Northern toilet paper among many other businesses. David is also known as a philanthropist, as he is a donor to New York’s Lincoln Center and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Fun fact: David Koch ran as the Libertarian’s Party’s vice presidential candidate in 1980 on a ticket with Ed Clark.
For the real time updates on their net worth along with other wealthy individuals, visit Forbes