The title of the world's richest person once again belongs to Elon Musk, despite a tumultuous year in which his stewardship of X, formerly Twitter, has come under intense scrutiny.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk’s total net worth has jumped by $85 billion over the past 12 months to $222 billion, leapfrogging French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault, who recently held the top spot but is now down to third.
In truth, the title "richest person in the world" changes hands quite often between a very small group of very rich men – and they are nearly always men. Here we look at the top 10 richest billionaires in the world right now and where they rank according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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1. Elon Musk: $222bn
It has been a rollercoaster year for Elon Musk, who is best known as the CEO of electric car giant Tesla, founder and CEO of SpaceX and, since his takeover of Twitter in October 2022, his controversial stewardship of social media platform X. His vast wealth derives from his 21% share of Tesla and his 42% stake in SpaceX, which has nearly quintupled its value in four years and is now worth nearly $150 billion, reported Forbes.
2. Jeff Bezos: $171bn
Former hedge fund manager Jeff Bezos started Amazon in his garage in 1994. He has invested heavily in space technology too, having founded Blue Origin as a "pet project" back in 2000. After stepping down as Amazon CEO he took on the new role of executive chair. He also owns The Washington Post newspaper.
3. Bernard Arnault: $169bn
When it comes to "the world of luxury goods", perhaps no one is "more successful" than Bernard Arnault, said Business Insider. The Frenchman oversees the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton empire of more than 70 brands, including Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon, TAG Heuer, Christian Dior and Dom Pérignon. Unlike almost everyone else on this list his fortune is not derived from technology stock, meaning that his fortune is less prone to the whims of the markets.
4. Bill Gates: $134bn
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been a permanent fixture near the top of the rich list for the past 20 years, despite selling and then giving away much of his stake in the tech company. He now owns just 1% and focuses predominantly on his philanthropic work.
5. Larry Ellison: $129bn
American business magnate Larry Ellison is co-founder, chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, which he started in 1977. He still owns around 35% of the software giant.
6. Steve Ballmer: $129bn
The former CEO of Microsoft led the tech giant from 2000 to 2014. He is now the current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.
7. Warren Buffett: $119bn
Warren Buffett was 11 years old when he first bought stock, according to Forbes. Now in his ninth decade, the Berkshire Hathaway chief executive, known as the "Oracle of Omaha", is one of the most successful investors of all time. Like Gates, Buffett has pledged to give away more than 99% of his fortune to charity.
8. Larry Page: $119bn
Internet entrepreneur Larry Page is one of the co-founders of Google, which he started while a PhD student at Stanford in 1998. He stepped down as CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc in December 2019 but remains a board member.
9. Mark Zuckerberg: $115bn
Like Gates, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to pursue his dream of starting social media site Facebook, which now boasts nearly three billion users worldwide. He remains CEO of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, with a 13% stake. Meta has been "one of the best-performing technology stocks of 2023", said The Times, with its share price up 150% this year, resulting in Zuckerberg's total net worth increasing by over $70 billion, catapulting him back into the top 10.
10. Sergey Brin: $112bn
Along with Larry Page, Sergey Brin was a co-founder of Google. Born in Moscow to Jewish parents, the family left for the US when he was six due to antisemitism. Until December 2019, he was president of Alphabet Inc, but "remains a board member and a controlling shareholder", said Forbes.
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