It has been a while since I did my Rich, Richer, Richest post. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge and with Bill Gates stepping down from the Chairpersonship of Microsoft just recently, I thought I would do a recap of the richest.
For quite some time now, our man Bill Gates, computer whiz, philanthropist, business magnate, nice guy, chairman of Microsoft etc., had tenaciously clung to the number one spot and the ‘richest man in the world’ title. The definitive Forbes’ list tells us that not only has the king been dethroned (after 13 years no less), he has been relegated to the third spot! Ah how the mighty have fallen!
So the new title bearer for the ‘richest man in the world’ is Warren Buffet, investor, businessman and philanthropist with a personal fortune of $62.0 billion. Buffet, incidentally, often plays bridge with Bill Gates; birds of a feather, it would seem, play bridge together. He is known as much for his personal frugality as for his immense wealth.
The number two spot is occupied by Carlos Slim Helu (‘and family’ according to Forbes) the Mexican who made his billions chiefly in the telecommunication sector. He is worth $60 billion.
Turns out that Gates would have continued unvanquished at the top of the heap if Microsoft had not made the unsolicited (and ill-advised) bid for the Yahoo takeover earlier this year. It is thus that he is left with a personal fortune of a mere 58 billion dollars! A mere bagatelle!
Lakshmi Mittal is appropriately named, because the word ‘Lakshmi’ in Hindi means wealth or riches and this is also the name of the goddess of wealth in India. He comes in at number 4 with a personal fortune of $45 billion. He is perhaps the face of Global India, announcing to the world the emergence of the third world countries and India in particular on the world stage as an economic power house to contend with.
At number 5 is another Indian, Mukesh Ambani with a personal worth of $ 43 billion; he heads Reliance Industries, India’s biggest company by market cap. His personal fortune has seen a steep rise in the recent past. He is followed by his brother Anil Ambani at no 6 on the list.
Following the Ambanis is Ingvar Kamprad (& family) the Swedish retail king with $31 billion. At no. 8 on the list is one more Indian, the Indian real estate king K P Singh with $31 billion. At no. 9 is Oleg Deripaska the Russian aluminum trader with $28 billion. At no. 10 is German Karl Albrecht, retailer with a personal who is worth $27 billion.
The mind boggles at the immense wealth that these people have. It would be worth asking them all: “Did all the money make you happy?”