The World’s Rich­est

The 50 big­gest for­tunes on the planet. Plus: The com­plete list of all 2,095 bil­lion­aires.

Forbes - - IN­SIDE -

The rich­est peo­ple on Earth are not im­mune to the coron­avirus. As the pan­demic tight­ened its grip on Europe and Amer­ica, global equity mar­kets im­ploded, tank­ing many for­tunes. As of March 18, when we fi­nal­ized this list, Forbes counted 2,095 bil­lion­aires, 58 fewer than a year ago and 226 fewer than just 12 days ear­lier, when we ini­tially cal­cu­lated these net worths. Of the bil­lion­aires who re­main, 51% are poorer than they were last year. In raw terms, the world’s bil­lion­aires are worth $8 tril­lion, down $700 bil­lion from 2019. For many more de­tails about the world’s wealth­i­est, please visit­lion­aires.

JEFF BE­ZOS 1. $113 bil­lion

AGE: 56 U.S. SOURCE: Ama­zon

In mid-March Ama­zon an­nounced it would hire 100,000 full-time and part­time work­ers at its de­liv­ery net­works and ful­fill­ment cen­ters to meet in­creased de­mand from con­sumers stay­ing home in re­sponse to the coron­avirus pan­demic, and said it would pri­or­i­tize ship­ments of med­i­cal sup­plies and house­hold sta­ples. By the end of the month, at least 10 of its ware­house work­ers re­port­edly had COVID-19. On March 26, Be­zos posted on In­sta­gram that Ama­zon was pro­vid­ing lo­gis­ti­cal and tech­ni­cal sup­port to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion in its ef­forts against the virus. Pre­vi­ously, in Fe­bru­ary, he had pledged $10 bil­lion to fight cli­mate change through his new Be­zos Earth Fund. Last sum­mer, he gave a quar­ter of his Ama­zon stake to his for­mer wife, MacKen­zie, as part of the world’s costli­est di­vorce. He has very pub­licly moved on with girl­friend Lau­ren Sanchez.

BILL GATES 2. $98 bil­lion 64

AGE: U.S. SOURCE: Mi­crosoft

Gates an­nounced on March 13 that he would be step­ping down from the board of Mi­crosoft, the soft­ware com­pany he co­founded with Paul Allen (d. 2018) in 1975, then led as CEO un­til 2000 and chaired un­til 2014. He’s also leav­ing the board of Berk­shire Hath­away, run by his friend War­ren Buf­fett. Gates is fo­cus­ing his time as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, which in early Fe­bru­ary an­nounced it would spend up to $100

mil­lion for COVID-19 re­lief. Of that, as much as $60 mil­lion will go to de­vel­op­ing and test­ing vac­cines, treat­ments and di­ag­nos­tics of the novel coron­avirus. On March 24, dur­ing a vir­tual TED Talk, Gates warned Amer­i­cans that to­tal iso­la­tion for six to ten weeks was the only vi­able op­tion to min­i­mize deaths and eco­nomic dam­age from COVID-19: “It’s very tough to say to peo­ple, ‘Hey, keep go­ing to restau­rants, go buy new houses, ig­nore that pile of bod­ies in the cor­ner.’ ” Gates had pre­dicted a pan­demic in a 2015 Ted Talk, say­ing that “not mis­siles, but mi­crobes” could kill mil­lions of peo­ple in the decades to come—and that the world was not ready.


The ti­tan be­hind lux­ury-goods group LVMH had quite the year. In Novem­ber, he an­nounced a deal to buy Amer­i­can jew­eler Tif­fany & Co. for $16.2 bil­lion. Shortly after, his com­pany posted record sales of $60.2 bil­lion for 2019. At his peak, in Jan­uary 2020, Ar­nault was worth $116.5 bil­lion, only to tum­ble since the coron­avirus cri­sis hit de­mand. In March, Ar­nault di­rected LVMH’s per­fume and cos­met­ics fac­to­ries to start pro­duc­ing hand dis­in­fec­tant gel, to be given out free to France’s health au­thor­i­ties. Ar­nault also se­cured an or­der from a Chi­nese in­dus­trial sup­plier in late March for de­liv­ery of 40 mil­lion masks to France over four weeks.

WAR­REN BUF­FETT 4. $67.5 bil­lion 89

AGE: U.S. SOURCE: Berk­shire Hath­away

The in­vest­ing leg­end, whose Berk­shire Hath­away sat on a $128 bil­lion cash pile at the end of 2019, may be in a po­si­tion to pounce in a mar­ket in freefall. The Omaha, Ne­braska–based firm in­creased its hold­ings in Delta Air Lines—hit hard amid the coron­avirus panic—by roughly 1 mil­lion shares in late Fe­bru­ary, and re­mains the air­line’s largest share­holder with an 11% stake. Berk­shire Hath­away re­cently an­nounced that it will bar its share­hold­ers from trav­el­ing to its fa­mous an­nual meet­ing in Omaha, sched­uled for May 2020. The meet­ing will be live-streamed in­stead.

LARRY EL­LI­SON 5. $59 bil­lion AGE: 75 U.S. SOURCE: Soft­ware

See story, page 88.

AMAN­CIO ORTEGA 6. Shares of In­di­tex, which owns global re­tail chain Zara, climbed mod­estly over the past year be­fore plum­met­ing 35% since midFe­bru­ary. The value of his vast com­mer­cial-prop­erty port­fo­lio may also take a hit, but Ortega will be fine; he pock­eted over $1 bil­lion in div­i­dends in 2019. In­di­tex, mean­while, is work­ing to dis­trib­ute masks, gloves and pro­tec­tive glasses to Spain’s health sys­tem.

MARK ZUCKER­BERG 7. $54.7 bil­lion 35 • Face­book


Face­book was fined a his­toric $5 bil­lion by the Fed­eral Trade Com­mi­sion in July for vi­o­lat­ing con­sumers’ pri­vacy. The so­cial net­work, which has 2.9 bil­lion users, has be­come a go-to com­mu­ni­ca­tion tool for those on lock­down. It was also the first big tech com­pany to an­nounce plans to pay all its work­ers a $1,000 bonus to help off­set the eco­nomic im­pact of the coron­avirus.

JIM WAL­TON 8. $54.6 bil­lion AGE: 71 U.S. SOURCE: Wal­mart ALICE WAL­TON 9. $54.4 bil­lion AGE: 70 U.S. SOURCE: Wal­mart ROB WAL­TON 10. $54.1 bil­lion AGE: 75 U.S. SOURCE: Wal­mart

Rob, the el­dest child of Wal­mart founder Sam Wal­ton, helped take Wal­mart public as a young at­tor­ney in 1970 and still sits on its board. To­gether with his two si­b­lings and their heirs, the fam­ily owns about half of the com­pany’s stock. In March, the world’s big­gest re­tailer opened its first coron­avirus test­ing sites, an­nounced $550 mil­lion in bonuses for all hourly work­ers and dis­closed plans to add 150,000 tem­po­rary jobs to help the com­pany meet the surge in de­mand tied to the pan­demic.

STEVE BALLMER 11. $52.7 bil­lion AGE: 64 U.S. SOURCE: Mi­crosoft

Ballmer’s Los An­ge­les Clip­pers re­cently teamed up with the L.A. Kings, Lak­ers and the city’s Sta­ples Cen­ter arena to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port to hourly event em­ploy­ees af­fected by the sus­pen­sion of sport­ing events at the venue. Ballmer bought the Clip­pers in 2014, the same year he stepped down as CEO of Mi­crosoft.

CAR­LOS SLIM 12. HELÚ & FAM­ILY $52.1 bil­lion 80

AGE: MEX­ICO Tele­com


A weaker Mex­i­can peso and a slide in the shares of Slim’s big­gest hold­ing, tele­com gi­ant Amer­ica Movil, pushed his net worth down by $11.9 bil­lion com­pared to 2019.

LARRY PAGE 13. $50.9 bil­lion 47

AGE: U.S. Google


Page left his role as CEO of Google par­ent Al­pha­bet in De­cem­ber. Google was tapped by Pres­i­dent Trump to set up a web­site for Amer­i­cans to find nearby coron­avirus screen­ing sites; it launched on March 16, with info on four coun­ties in Cal­i­for­nia, and plans to ex­pand.

SERGEY BRIN 14. $49.1 bil­lion AGE: 46 U.S. SOURCE: Google

Brin stepped down as pres­i­dent of Al­pha­bet in De­cem­ber but, like Page, sits on the board. He is now mar­ried to Ni­cole Shana­han, the founder and CEO of patent man­age­ment firm ClearAc­cessIP.


The grand­daugh­ter of L’Oréal’s founder, Bettencour­t Meyers has been on the beauty com­pany’s board since 1997. In March, L’Oréal an­nounced its fac­to­ries would make hand san­i­tizer to do­nate to French and Euro­pean health au­thor­i­ties.

MICHAEL 16. BLOOMBERG $48 bil­lion 78

AGE: U.S. SOURCE: Bloomberg LP

Bloomberg spent at least $875 mil­lion on his failed pres­i­den­tial bid, only to pull out in early March after a poor show­ing on Su­per Tues­day. He later an­nounced an $18 mil­lion trans­fer from his de­funct cam­paign to the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

JACK MA 17. $38.8 bil­lion AGE: 55 CHINA SOURCE: E-com­merce

Ma re­tired as chair­man of on­line-shop­ping gi­ant Alibaba Group in Septem­ber and said he would get more in­volved in phi­lan­thropy. In March, the Jack Ma Foun­da­tion an­nounced it would do­nate 1 mil­lion masks and 500,000 coron­avirus test kits to the U.S.

18. CHARLES KOCH $38.2 bil­lion AGE: 84 U.S. SOURCE: Koch In­dus­tries

He runs $110 bil­lion (sales) Koch In­dus­tries, which makes ev­ery­thing from glass for sky­scrapers to An­gel Soft toi­let pa­per. The Kansas na­tive also heads po­lit­i­cal and phil­an­thropic net­work Stand To­gether. Some of its mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tions sent a let­ter to Congress in mid-March urg­ing swift ac­tion in re­sponse to the pan­demic while lim­it­ing in­dus­try bailouts and con­sid­er­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

18. JU­LIA KOCH & FAM­ILY $38.2 bil­lion AGE: 57 U.S. SOURCE: Koch In­dus­tries

Koch and her three chil­dren in­her­ited a 42% stake in Koch In­dus­tries after her hus­band, David Koch, died in Au­gust 2019. The cou­ple met in 1991 on a blind date. An Iowa na­tive, she was an as­sis­tant to fash­ion de­signer Adolfo in the 1980s.

20. MA HUATENG $38.1 bil­lion AGE: 48 CHINA SOURCE: In­ter­net me­dia

Stuck at home, many Chi­nese took to their mo­bile phones to play Ten­cent-dis­trib­uted on­line games, boost­ing us­age. In Fe­bru­ary, Ten­cent an­nounced a $210 mil­lion fund for med­i­cal care and sup­port for the needy.

21. MUKESH AM­BANI $36.8 bil­lion AGE: 62 IN­DIA SOURCE: Petro­chem­i­cals, oil and gas

His Re­liance In­dus­tries ran up $43 bil­lion in debt after an ex­pan­sion into tele­com with Re­liance Jio, which now has over 370 mil­lion sub­scribers. Last Au­gust, Am­bani said Re­liance would pay off much of that moun­tain of debt by March 2021 and out­lined a pro­posal to sell a 20% stake in Re­liance’s re­fin­ing and petro­chem­i­cals busi­ness to Saudi Aramco for $15 bil­lion. The oil price crash could de­lay Am­bani’s plans. The In­dian gov­ern­ment, which has a lon­grun­ning dis­agree­ment with Re­liance over cer­tain oil-and-gas field dues, has op­posed the stake sale to Aramco.

22. MACKEN­ZIE BE­ZOS $36 bil­lion AGE: 50 U.S. • SOURCE: Ama­zon

Be­zos signed the Giv­ing Pledge in May, after she and Jeff Be­zos agreed on a di­vorce set­tle­ment that granted her a quar­ter of his Ama­zon stake. He re­tains vot­ing power over her shares.

23. BEATE HEISTER & KARL AL­BRECHT JR. $33.3 bil­lion GER­MANY SOURCE: Su­per­mar­kets

The press-shy si­b­lings in­her­ited low-priced, no-frills su­per­mar­ket chain Aldi Sued from their late fa­ther, Karl Al­brecht Sr., in 2014. Amid the pan­demic, Aldi, one of Ger­many’s big­gest re­tail­ers, is en­hanc­ing its sick-leave pol­icy and boost­ing clean­ing at its stores and ware­houses.

24. DAVID THOM­SON & FAM­ILY $31.6 bil­lion AGE: 62 CANADA SOURCE: Me­dia

Thom­son’s grand­fa­ther Roy ac­quired his first news­pa­per in the 1930s. His me­dia em­pire, Thom­son Reuters, and Black­stone plan to sell their stakes in fi­nan­cial-data provider Refini­tiv to the Lon­don Stock Ex­change later in 2020. The deal val­ues Refini­tiv at $27 bil­lion.

25. PHIL KNIGHT & FAM­ILY $29.5 bil­lion AGE: 82 U.S. SOURCE: Nike

Nike, which Phil Knight co­founded in 1964, shut­tered its 384 stores across the U.S. as well as all lo­ca­tions in Canada, West­ern Europe, Aus­tralia and New Zealand in mid-March. The move came two months after Nike’s long­time chief ex­ec­u­tive, Mark Parker, stepped down. Knight re­tired as chair­man in June 2016.

26. LEE SHAU KEE $28.1 bil­lion AGE: 92 HONG KONG SOURCE: Real es­tate

Lee stepped down as chair­man of Hen­der­son Land Devel­op­ment, the prop­erty gi­ant that makes up the bulk of his for­tune, in May, hand­ing the reins to his two sons, Peter Lee Ka Kit and Martin Lee Ka Shing. His for­tune slipped by $2 bil­lion as Hong Kong’s econ­omy fell into re­ces­sion.

27. FRANÇOIS PINAULT & FAM­ILY $27 bil­lion AGE: 83 FRANCE SOURCE: Lux­ury goods

The fam­ily’s lux­ury group, Ker­ing, which owns fash­ion brands Saint Lau­rent, Alexan­der McQueen and Gucci, said in March it would pay to im­port 3 mil­lion sur­gi­cal masks from China to give to French health ser­vices.

28. SHEL­DON ADEL­SON $26.8 bil­lion AGE: 86 U.S. SOURCE: Casi­nos

Amer­ica’s reign­ing casino mogul closed his Vene­tian and Palazzo casi­nos in Las Ve­gas on March 17 but will con­tinue to pay em­ploy­ees; his casi­nos in Ma­cao and Sin­ga­pore re­main open. The GOP megadonor and his wife, Miriam, do­nated $120 mil­lion to Repub­li­cans for the 2018 midterms. Some ex­pect him to spend more than $100 mil­lion more to re­elect Trump and back Repub­li­can con­gres­sional can­di­dates this year.

29. JACQUE­LINE MARS $24.7 bil­lion AGE: 80 U.S. SOURCE: Candy, pet food 29. JOHN MARS $24.7 bil­lion AGE: 84 U.S. SOURCE: Candy, pet food

Mars si­b­lings each in­her­ited an es­ti­mated one-third of the $35 bil­lion (sales) candy com­pany known for M&M’s and Milky Way bars. In Septem­ber, Mars ac­quired a ma­jor­ity stake in Ber­lin-based protein and snack com­pany Food­spring for an undis­closed sum.

ELON MUSK 31. $24.6 bil­lion AGE: 48 U.S. SOURCE: Tesla, SpaceX

Shares of his elec­tric-car com­pany, Tesla, took off last fall, more than tripling be­tween Septem­ber and mid-Fe­bru­ary, but they’ve tum­bled into a lower strato­sphere since then. Musk, who tweeted in early March that “coron­avirus panic is dumb,” now says one of his fac­to­ries will make ven­ti­la­tors.

32. GIO­VANNI FERRERO $24.5 bil­lion AGE: 55 ITALY • SOURCE: Nutella, choco­lates

Ferrero chairs his fam­ily’s name­sake con­fec­tions busi­ness, best known for Nutella and Tic Tac mints. He stepped down as CEO in 2017 but still fo­cuses on big deals such as its $2.8 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Nes­tle’s U.S. candy busi­ness in 2018. At least two of its Ital­ian fac­to­ries cut their work­force by as much as 50% in March amid the coron­avirus cri­sis.

MICHAEL DELL 33. $22.9 bil­lion AGE: 55 U.S. SOURCE: Dell com­put­ers

Roughly a year after his com­puter firm Dell Tech­nolo­gies re­turned to public mar­kets, the stock is strug­gling. In March, the com­pany promised at least $4 mil­lion to fund hos­pi­tals and front-line or­ga­ni­za­tions fight­ing COVID-19. In re­sponse to a news re­port of young peo­ple par­ty­ing on Florida beaches dur­ing the out­break in mid-March, Dell tweeted out a warn­ing to the revel­ers not to ap­ply for jobs at his com­pa­nies.

HUI KA YAN 34. $21.8 bil­lion AGE: 61 CHINA SOURCE: Real es­tate

The for­tune of China’s wealth­i­est real es­tate de­vel­oper has dropped along with de­mand for projects for sale by his Ever­grande Group. Out­side of real es­tate, Hui an­nounced a three-year, $6.4 bil­lion in­vest­ment into elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Novem­ber.

LI KA-SHING 35. $21.7 bil­lion AGE: 91 HONG KONG SOURCE: Di­ver­si­fied

Li, one of Asia’s most in­flu­en­tial busi­ness­men, do­nated $13 mil­lion to help the city of Wuhan deal with the coron­avirus out­break. His foun­da­tion also said it dis­trib­uted 250,000 face masks in Hong Kong, which has been plagued by a short­age of pro­tec­tive gear.

HE XIANGJIAN 36. $21.6 bil­lion AGE: 77 CHINA SOURCE: Home ap­pli­ances

Midea Group, one of the world’s largest ap­pli­ance man­u­fac­tur­ers, do­nated goods in­clud­ing wash­ers and dry­ers to hos­pi­tals bat­tling COVID-19 in Wuhan.

JIM SI­MONS 36. $21.6 bil­lion AGE: 81 U.S. SOURCE: Hedge funds

The rich­est hedge fund man­ager founded quan­ti­ta­tive trad­ing firm Re­nais­sance Tech­nolo­gies, which last year man­aged $130 bil­lion. In Fe­bru­ary, its stocks-fo­cused fund re­port­edly had one of its worst months in a decade, drop­ping 7%.

38. YANG HUIYAN & FAM­ILY $20.3 bil­lion AGE: 38 CHINA SOURCE: Real es­tate

Yang owns 57% and co-chairs the board of Hong Kong–listed real es­tate de­vel­oper Coun­try Gar­den, which her fa­ther founded and chairs. In Fe­bru­ary, Coun­try Gar­den set up au­to­mated food-ser­vice sta­tions in Wuhan—stand-alone buf­fets where ma­chines put food on plates with no hu­man con­tact— to serve coron­avirus front-line med­i­cal work­ers.

JOSEPH SAFRA 39. $19.9 bil­lion AGE: 81 BRAZIL SOURCE: Bank­ing

Safra owns banks in Switzer­land, New York and Brazil. His net worth fell sharply in midMarch as bank­ing-sec­tor val­ues plum­meted and both the Swiss franc and the Brazil­ian real weak­ened against the dol­lar.

DI­ETER SCH­WARZ 40. $19.8 bil­lion AGE: 80 GER­MANY SOURCE: Re­tail

Sch­warz turned his low-price Lidl gro­cery and home prod­ucts store chain into an at­trac­tion for eco-con­scious Mil­len­ni­als. Known for or­ganic pro­duce and dis­play­ing prod­ucts in cus­tom boxes so work­ers don’t have to hand-stock shelves, Lidl has more than 10,000 stores in 29 coun­tries, in­clud­ing the U.S.

VLADIMIR 41. POTANIN $19.7 bil­lion AGE: 59 RUS­SIA SOURCE: Met­als

Rus­sia’s rich­est per­son. Potanin’s pre­cious-met­als gi­ant, Nor­nickel, be­gan test­ing a cryp­tocur­rency to­ken backed by its pal­la­dium, cobalt and cop­per re­serves in Fe­bru­ary.

TADASHI YANAI & 41. FAM­ILY $19.7 bil­lion AGE: 71 JA­PAN SOURCE: Fash­ion re­tail

The chair­man of ap­parel gi­ant Fast Re­tail­ing, which re­ported record net profit in Au­gust, is Ja­pan’s rich­est per­son de­spite a 14% drop in the com­pany’s shares. The coron­avirus out­break forced Uniqlo to shut half of its 750 stores in China; all but 20 had re­opened as of late March. Fifty stores in the U.S. tem­po­rar­ily closed.

QIN YINGLIN & 43. FAM­ILY $18.5 bil­lion AGE: 54 CHINA SOURCE: Pig breed­ing

China is the world’s largest con­sumer of pork, and Qin is the world’s rich­est pig breeder. Shares of his Shen­zhen-listed Muyuan Foods nearly tripled in the past year as prof­its soared, fu­eled by higher prices tied to the African swine fever, which re­duced China’s pig pop­u­la­tion by a re­ported 40% in 2019. His wife, Qian Ying, is Muyuan’s co­founder and also a bil­lion­aire. The cou­ple started the busi­ness with 22 pigs in 1992.

LUKAS WAL­TON 44. $18.4 bil­lion AGE: 33 U.S. SOURCE: Wal­mart

The grand­son of Wal­mart founder Sam Wal­ton in­her­ited his for­tune when his fa­ther, John Wal­ton, died in a 2005 plane crash. After study­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able busi­ness at Colorado Col­lege, he be­gan in­vest­ing in ecofriendl­y funds and now chairs the en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­tee at the fam­ily’s foun­da­tion.

VLADIMIR LISIN 45. $18.1 bil­lion AGE: 63 RUS­SIA SOURCE: Steel, trans­port

Shares in his listed steel firm NLMK Group fell 36% over the past year—11% in the first half of March as mar­kets re­acted to coron­avirus fears. The In­ter­na­tional Shoot­ing Sport Fed­er­a­tion, which he leads as pres­i­dent, also post­poned its World Cup, sched­uled for March in New Delhi. Lisin got his start as an elec­tri­cal fit­ter and then worked as a steel­worker in west­ern Rus­sia.

46. RAY DALIO $18 bil­lion AGE: 70 U.S. • SOURCE: Hedge funds

One of Dalio’s Bridge­wa­ter As­so­ciates funds has fallen 21% this year amid the coron­avirus-in­duced mar­ket sell-off. While stocks crashed, Dalio voiced con­cerns about the debt prob­lems and restruc­tur­ing that many com­pa­nies and in­dus­tries will face as a re­sult of the tu­mult. He es­ti­mated cor­po­ra­tions will lose about $12 tril­lion glob­ally. Dalio launched Bridge­wa­ter, which man­ages about $160 bil­lion, in 1975 from his New York apart­ment.

TAKEMITSU 47. TAKIZAKI $17.4 bil­lion AGE: 74 JA­PAN SOURCE: Sen­sors

Shares of his Keyence, a sup­plier of sen­sors and elec­tronic com­po­nents for fac­tory au­to­ma­tion sys­tems, out­per­formed the mar­ket and ri­vals this year.

LEONID 48. MIKHELSON $17.1 bil­lion AGE: 64 RUS­SIA SOURCE: Gas, chem­i­cals

Mikhelson joined the pre­cur­sor to nat­u­ral-gas gi­ant No­vatek and held onto con­trol dur­ing its pri­va­ti­za­tion. He runs the $14 bil­lion (sales) firm.

ALAIN 48. WERTHEIMER $17.1 bil­lion AGE: 71 FRANCE SOURCE: Chanel GÉRARD 48. WERTHEIMER $17.1 bil­lion AGE: 69 FRANCE SOURCE: Chanel

The reclu­sive broth­ers own lux­ury brand Chanel. Their grand­fa­ther Pierre was an early part­ner of Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. Amid the pan­demic, Chanel an­nounced in mid-March that it was tem­po­rar­ily shut­ting its U.S. stores. The com­pany re­ported $11.1 bil­lion in sales in 2018, the last year avail­able.

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