• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

The great transfer:10 billionaires ushering the era of inherited wealth

In a shift noted in the latest edition of the UBS Billionaire Ambitions Report, it emerges that the dynamics of wealth accumulation has taken a turn for billionaires.  For the first time in nine editions of this report, the 2023 report unveiled that billionaires now amass more wealth through inheritance than through entrepreneurship, as the ‘great wealth transfer’ has started to gain momentum.

The report estimates that in the next 20 years, more than 1,000 billionaires will pass an estimated $5.2 trillion of their wealth to their children. This increase in billionaires passing their wealth to their children is attributed to higher entrepreneurial activity over the last few decades.About 53 heirs inherited a total wealth of $150.8 billion, surpassing the total wealth of $140.7 billion accumulated by 84 new self-made billionaires in 2022.

It’s remarkable to see how some of the richest heirs are keeping their family businesses thriving, with these companies growing like never before. Examples include giants such as Walmart Inc., Reliance Industries Limited, and L’Oreal S.A., which symbolize the highest levels of wealth and achievement in the worldwide business scene.

Bernard Arnault
Bernard Arnault holds the title of the world’s wealthiest person with a net worth of $266.4 billion. He, along with his family, controls the LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) fashion empire, the world’s largest luxury goods company. He got his start by putting $15 million from his father’s construction business to buy Christian Dior in 1984. He has since gone on to acquire other brands, including American jeweler Tiffany & Co in 2021 for $15.8 billion.
Arnault’s five children all work at LVMH.

Mukesh Ambani
Ranked as the 11th richest person globally, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth stands at $117.1 billion. Mukesh Ambani is the chairman and CEO of Reliance Industries, a company with a staggering $110 billion in revenue. Reliance has diverse interests spanning across petrochemicals, oil and gas, telecom, retail, and financial services. The company’s roots trace back to 1966 when Mukesh’s father, Dhirubhai Ambani, started it as a small textile manufacturer.

Following his father’s passing in 2002, Mukesh and his younger brother Anil took over the family business.
In 2023, Ambani’s three children joined Reliance’s board. Akash, his son, leads Jio; Isha, his daughter, oversees retail and financial services; while his younger son, Anant, focuses on the energy sector.

Francoise Bettencourt Meyers
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers holds the title of the world’s richest woman, and the 15th richest person in the world with a net worth of $96.3 billion. She is the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal, and her family owns approximately 33% of the company’s stock.

Since 1997, Bettencourt Meyers has been a member of L’Oreal’s board, and she currently serves as the chairwoman of the family holding company. Following her mother Liliane Bettencourt’s passing in 2017 at the age of 94, Francoise became France’s leading L’Oreal heiress.
In addition to her business roles, Bettencourt Meyers is also deeply involved in philanthropy. She presides over her family’s philanthropic foundation, which focuses on advancing French achievements in the fields of science and arts.

Jim Walton
Jim Walton ranks as the 19th richest person globally, with a net worth of $78.9 billion. He is the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton.
In addition to his Walmart inheritance, Jim serves as the chairman of the family’s Arvest Bank, which holds assets exceeding $20 billion.
For over ten years, Jim sat on Walmart’s board before passing the seat to his son, Steuart, in June 2016. Together with other heirs of Sam Walton, Jim owns approximately half of Walmart’s stock.

Rob Walton
Rob Walton holds a net worth of $77.9 billion, making him the 20th richest person globally. He is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

Following his father’s passing in 1992, Rob assumed the role of chairman at Walmart. He retired from this position in June 2015, passing the reins to his son-in-law, Greg Penner. Penner continues to serve on Walmart’s board. Rob, alongside other heirs of Sam Walton, collectively possesses roughly half of Walmart’s stock.

Alice Walton
Alice Walton, the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, holds the title of the 21st richest person worldwide, with a net worth of $72.8 billion. Unlike her siblings Rob and Jim, who have been involved with Walmart, Alice has pursued her passion for art. In 2011, she realized her vision by opening the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas. This museum showcases masterpieces from renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Mark Rothko. As the chairman of Crystal Bridges, Alice focuses on curating exceptional collections that celebrate American artistic heritage.

David Thomson
David Thomson, chairman of Thomson Reuters Corporation, holds a net worth of $67.5 billion, ranking him as the 22nd richest person worldwide. He and his family oversee a significant media and publishing empire established by his grandfather, Roy Thomson.
The family’s primary asset is their ownership of over 320 million shares of Thomson Reuters, where David Thomson serves as chairman. In 2018, Thomson Reuters made headlines by selling a controlling stake in Refinitiv, a financial data provider, to Blackstone for a staggering $17 billion.
In addition to their stake in Thomson Reuters, the family has investments in telecommunications giant Bell Canada and owns the Toronto-based Globe and Mail newspaper. Their diverse portfolio underscores their influence and presence in various sectors of the media and communications industry.

Julia Koch
Julia Koch holds the title of the 23rd richest person globally, with a net worth of $64.3 billion. She, along with her three children, inherited a substantial 42% stake in Koch Industries from her late husband, David, who passed away in August 2019 at the age of 79.Originally from Iowa, Julia Koch relocated to New York City during the 1980s. In the early stages of her career, she served as an assistant to renowned fashion designer Adolfo. During her time working with Adolfo, Julia had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous high-profile clients, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Charles Koch
Charles Koch, the Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, holds the position of the 25th richest person globally, with a net worth of $58.5 billion. He has led Koch Industries, America’s second-largest private company by revenue, since 1967. Koch Industries is a diversified company with around $125 billion in revenues, spanning various sectors including pipelines, chemicals, software, automotive components, and even Dixie cups.

The family business traces its roots to Charles’ father, Fred Koch, who developed an innovative method for refining heavy oil into gasoline in 1927. This laid the foundation for Koch Industries, established in 1940.
Charles Koch, a native of Kansas, possesses a significant 42% stake in the company, as did his late brother David, who passed away in August 2019. In 1983, Charles and David acquired their other two brothers’ stakes in Koch Industries for an estimated $800 million.
Continuing the family legacy, Charles’ son Chase leads the company’s venture capital arm, which has made investments in innovative firms such as NeuraLight, focusing on AI-based neurological diagnosis, and Arkestro, specializing in smart supply chain solutions.

Giovanni Ferrero
Giovanni Ferrero leads his family’s renowned confections business as the executive chairman. In 2022, the company achieved impressive sales of $15 billion, primarily attributed to its iconic products like Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread, Kinder chocolates, and Tic Tac mints.
Initially serving as co-CEO alongside his brother Pietro, Giovanni faced a personal tragedy when Pietro passed away from a heart attack in 2011. Subsequently, Giovanni transitioned to the role of executive chairman in 2017, stepping down from the CEO position to concentrate on shaping the company’s corporate strategy.
Under Giovanni’s leadership, Ferrero expanded its footprint significantly, notably acquiring Nestle’s entire U.S. confections business in 2018 for $2.8 billion. This strategic move further solidified Ferrero’s position in the global confections market.

Giovanni Ferrero’s astute leadership and business acumen have propelled him to become the 28th richest person worldwide, with a remarkable net worth of $43.3 billion.