374. Eric Smidt

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

$2.1 billion  Self-made Score: ( Source: hard­ware stores age: 57 res­i­dence: bev­erly hills, calif. high School di­ploma

At age 9, his dad shipped him off first to an or­phan­age and then to live with an aunt. At 16, he was liv­ing on his own, and by 17, he was work­ing at his dad’s Har­bor Freight Sal­vage, which sold things like tape, ex­ten­sion cords and hand tools. In 1985, when he be­came com­pany pres­i­dent, Har­bor Freight had $65 mil­lion in sales; in 1999, it had climbed to $360 mil­lion, and he bought out his dad’s stake. The rocky re­la­tion­ship be­tween fa­ther and son did not end there: Eric was sued by his fa­ther in 2010 over man­age­ment de­ci­sions and ac­cused by him of us­ing com­pany money to buy an es­tate in Bev­erly Hills, among other things. Smidt re­port­edly de­nied the al­le­ga­tions. The case was set­tled in 2011.

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