On March 3, Forbes magazine released their 28th Annual World’s Billionaire Issue. After being replaced by Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico the past four years, Bill Gates resumed his top position, which he held for 15 consecutive years up to and including 2009. Helu topped the list in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, but in the past year saw his fortune decrease somewhat as he no longer has ownership of America Movil, a Latin American telecom company. He is reported to have lost this, along with other unspecified business interests. In addition to Bill Gates, other renowned billionaires to make the top of Forbes’ annual list include Warren Buffet, Amancio Ortega and others.
At No. 10 is Jim Walton, son of the Walmart Empire. He is chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank Group Inc. and is worth $34 billion. His sister Christy Walton is No. 9 on the list with a net worth of $37 billion. She is also a producer. Next, worth $38 billion, is Sheldon Adelson, described both as a gambling tycoon and a philanthropist. Adelson added $11.5 billion to his net worth in 2013, and is back in the top 10 for the first time in seven years. At No. 7 is David Koch of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S. Koch Industries was founded in 1927 and began making its fortune with a (then) new method of converting heavy oil into gasoline. Koch’s brother, Charles is No. 6 on the list, although the two brothers are worth the same amount: $40 billion.
Larry Ellison, CEO and founder of Oracle Corp., is fifth, with a worth of $48 billion. Ellison moved from being at third place last year. He founded Oracle in 1977 and reportedly enjoys flying planes, racing sailboats, playing tennis and guitar. At no. 4 on the Forbes’ list this year is Warren Buffett, who makes greater men look small: Buffett has pledged to leave most of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This wealth is based on ownership of the conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, and is currently valued at $58.2 billion. Berkshire Hathaway owns many subsidiary companies, including Geico, life-insurance and jewellery companies.
At No. 3 for the second consecutive year is Amancio Ortega, the Spanish clothing retailer who co-founded the Zara chain with his now deceased wife. They began producing Zara pieces in their living room, and today Ortega is worth $64 billion, up $7 billion since last year. No. 2 this year is Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu. Helu, as previously mentioned, topped the list the four previous years but lost some holdings this past year. Slim’s Lebanese father moved to Mexico in 1902 to avoid conscription into the army at age 15, and eventually married another Lebanese-Mexican whose parents has emigrated prior. Carlos followed in his parents’ footsteps, marrying within the Lebanese community. His six children are all second-generation Lebanese-Mexican.
Despite no longer being CEO at Microsoft, Bill Gates makes the top of the annual list after a hiatus of five years, which is quite a feat considering he beats out fellow Forbes regular Warren Buffett once again. This is impressive because Buffett is widely considered to be the 20th century’s most successful investor. Gates has a lot of other impressive company on this list. This year there are 1,645 billionaires, the most ever recorded. Their net worth adds up to $6.4 trillion, according to Forbes, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion. This puts things in perspective when considering just how much some at the top of the list are worth. Most of the world’s billionaires come from the United States, then China, then Russia, with other European, Asian and now African countries also being represented. There are more women on the list than ever, with 172 female billionaires. About two-thirds of the billionaires on the overall list are self-made.
By Julie Mahfood