Forbes Middle East
4 Ex-Executive Billionaires
Some billionaires have tales of rags to riches, while others were given a head start in family empires. And some built successful careers before deciding to take an entrepreneurial path. Here are four billionaire CEOs that left lucrative careers to chart their own course.
Some billionaires have tales of rags to riches, while others were given a head start in family empires. And some built successful careers before deciding to take an entrepreneurial path. Here are four billionaire CEOs that left lucrative careers to chart their own course. Net worths are as of February 18, 2021. Jeff Bezos NET WORTH: $192.4 billion
Before creating e-commerce giant Amazon from his garage in Seattle in 1994, Bezos worked for the Banker's Trust (now part of Deutsche Bank) and D.E. Shaw & Co., where he was appointed vice president in just four years. He left his executive role at the hedge fund company after his business idea to sell books online was rejected. In 2021, 27 years after founding Amazon, Bezos announced that he is stepping down as CEO later in the year to concentrate on his other ventures such as The Washington Post, and Blue Origin, an aerospace company that is developing rockets for commercial use.
Mikhail Fridman NET WORTH: $15.8 billion
Fridman spent nine years at the helm of TNK-BP, a joint venture between Alfa Access Renova and BP that was disbanded in 2013, before stepping down as CEO and selling a stake he held in the oil giant together with his partners for $14 billion. Fridman and fellow billionaires German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev went on to establish
LetterOne, an international investment firm with $23.4 billion in assets under management in 2019. Fridman is also the chairman of Alpha Group, a Russian financial investment holding company that he co-founded in 1989, and the founder of Alfa Bank, one of the biggest private banks in Russia.
Marc Russell Benioff NET WORTH: $9.6 billion
Benioff spent 13 years working at software giant Oracle with billionaire
Larry Ellison. He was the youngest vice president in the company's history. He left Oracle in 1999 and co-founded
Salesforce, a cloud computing software firm in which he still holds around 4% shareholding. Salesforce has grown into one of the world's biggest cloud computing companies with a revenue of $17.1 billion in 2020 and a global workforce of 50,000 employees. Benioff is now a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Board of Trustees.
Leon Black NET WORTH: $8.7 billion
Black spent 13 years working for Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated, where he served as managing director, head of the mergers and acquisitions group, and co-head of the corporate finance department, until 1990 when Drexel filed for bankruptcy. He went on to co-found Apollo Global Management
Inc., one of the world's biggest private equity firms with a portfolio of more than 150 companies. In 2020, it added $124 billion in assets under management bringing its total to $455 billion. Black will step down as CEO of Apollo by the end of July 2021. He also chairs New York's Museum of Modern Art and is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations.