15 Lesser-Known Billionaires

7 min read

Just about everyone knows that Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are some of the richest people in the world. But, there are many others whose names may not be as familiar as the brands they represent. That being said, here are 15 lesser-known billionaires.

15. Jack Ma

Jack Ma
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Foundations World Economic Forum / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

You may not be familiar with the name Jack Ma, but you’re definitely familiar with the company he co-founded and chairs — Alibaba Group. This company is one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world, so it’s no wonder Ma is one of the richest people in the world. So, just how much is this Chinese business magnate and former English teacher worth? $37.3 billion.

FUN FACT: Not only is Jack Ma, one of the wealthiest people in the world, but he’s also the richest person in China.

14. Phil Knight

Phil Knight
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Neon Tommy / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)

Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike. He ran track at the University of Oregon and created Nike with his former track coach Bill Bowerman. Before co-founding Nike, he sold Japanese running shoes from the trunk of his car. By the way, Knight is worth $33.4 billion.

FUN FACT: The name of the company Knight and his former track coach founded to sell those Japanese running shoes was Blue Ribbon Sports. It was created in 1962. In 1978 they changed the company’s name to Nike.

13. Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr.

Beate Heister Karl Albrecht
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Danor Shtruzman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr. are the children of Karl Albrecht Sr., the co-founder of the German supermarket chain Aldi. Their worth? $36.1 billion.

-Karl Albrecht Sr. co-founded Aldi with his brother Theo, but the two split ownership of the chain after a feud over selling cigarettes in Aldi stores. Karl took the stores in southern Germany, plus rights to the Aldi brand in the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. Theo took the stores in northern Germany and the rest of Europe, and in 1971 he bought U.S. grocery chain Trader Joe’s.
-Aldi is short for Albrecht Discount.

12. Rob Walton

Rob Walton
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, Rob Walton, has a net worth of $44.3 billion. He took over as chairman after his father passed away in 1992. He retired as chairman in June 2015, but he still sits on Walmart’s board and on the board of the Walton Family Foundation. Rob, along with his father’s other heirs, owns about half of Walmart’s stock.

FUN FACT: Rob spearheaded the Walton Family Foundation’s venture into the environmental and sustainability branch of the foundation.

11. Alice Walton

Alice Walton
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Walmart / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Alice Walton is the only daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and is worth $44.4 billion. She, along with her father’s other heirs, owns about half of Walmart’s stock. Like her brother Rob, she also sits on the board of the Walton Family Foundation.

FUN FACT: Alice has never taken an active role in running the family business. She decided to focus on curating art instead. In fact, she opened the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown, Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2011.

10. Jim Walton

Jim Walton
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Walmart / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Not to be confused with Jim-Bob Walton on the 1970s hit TV series “The Waltons,” this Jim Walton is the youngest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He has a worth of $44.6 billion. He runs the family’s Arvest Bank and presides over Walton Enterprises — the private company that deals with the investments and finances of the Walton family only. He sat on Walmart’s board for more than a decade, but in June 2016, he gave up his board seat to his son, Steuart. Jim and Sam Walton’s other heirs own about half of Walmart’s stock.

9. Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Eric Garcetti / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Steve Ballmer is the former CEO of Microsoft. He stepped down from this position in 2014. He is currently worth $41.2 billion.

-Ballmer is currently the chairman of the L.A. Clippers. He bought the team for $2 billion shortly after he retired from Microsoft.
-Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 as employee No. 30.
-Ballmer and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were classmates at Harvard University.
-Ballmer is the founder of USAFacts.org, a website created for people wanting to look up and understand where the government is spending money.

8. Michael Dell

Michael Dell
Source: Wikimedia Commons By mikeandryan / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Michael Dell is the chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, the parent company of Dell Inc., one of the leading sellers of personal computers. He has a worth $34.3 billion — most of which lies in his private investment firm MSD Capital, which has stakes in restaurants and hotels.

FUN FACT: Michael Dell got his start selling computers out of his college dorm room. He was just 19 years old at the time. He ended up grossing $80k by the end of his freshman year!

7. François Pinault

Francois Pinault
Source: Wikimedia Commons By S. Plaine / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

You may not be familiar with the name François Pinault. You’re probably also not familiar with the luxury group Kering, of which he has been named honorary chairman. But, you’re definitely familiar with the fashion brands owned by Kering, which include Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Saint Laurent. As you probably guessed, Pinault is worth quite a bit. How much, you ask? He has a worth of $29.7 billion.

FUN FACT: Kering started as a wood and building materials company in 1963, but Pinault decided to change the direction of the company towards luxury goods in 1999 after he bought a controlling stake in Gucci Group.

6. Dieter Schwarz

Dieter Schwarz
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Danor Shtruzman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Dieter Schwarz is the owner of Schwarz Group, the parent company of German discount supermarket chain Lidl. Schwarz inherited the company from his father and opened the first Lidl store in 1973. He became CEO in 1977. Schwarz is worth $22.6 billion.

-Lidl is Germany’s second-biggest discounter behind Aldi.
-Lidl stores opened in the U.S. in 2017.
-Most Lidl stores in the U.S. can be found in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
-Schwarz Group has revenue exceeding $100 billion.

5. Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson
Source: Wikimedia Commons By User:Bectrigger / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Who is Sheldon Adelson, you ask? He’s the CEO and chairman of the casino company Las Vegas Sands — and he’s worth $35.1 billion. Much of his wealth comes from gambling, as you might have guessed. In fact, he owns more than half of the $14 billion gambling empire. But, unlike many others on this list, Adelson didn’t get into his wealth-building business until he was much older — 55 years old, to be exact. It was then that he purchased the Sands Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas strip for $128 million.

4. John Mars

John Mars
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Danor Shtruzman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

When his father passed away in 1999, John Mars inherited a stake in the candy company Mars Inc. — the largest candymaker in the world. He and his sister each own one-third of the $35 billion candy company. John has a worth of $23.9 billion.

The company was founded in 1911 by John’s grandfather, Frank.

-The candy company’s first popular product was the Milky Way candy bar, which debuted in 1923.
-Mars also sells Uncle Ben’s rice and pet food, including Whiskas and Pedigree.

3. Jacqueline Mars

Jacqueline Mars
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Danor Shtruzman / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Jacqueline Mars and her brother John each own a third of the world’s largest candymaker — Mars Inc. Their brother Forrest Jr. also owned a third, until his passing in 2016. Jacqueline currently has a worth of $23.9 billion.

Jacqueline worked for Mars Inc. for nearly 20 years. She served on the company’s board until 2016. Her son, Stephen Badger, now serves as chairman of Mars’ board of directors — a role his cousin Victoria Mars filled until March 2017.

2. Jorge Paulo Lemann

Jorge Paulo Lemann
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Fundação Estudar / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

Jorge Paulo Lemann is worth $22.8 billion. He accumulated wealth by becoming a controlling shareholder of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewer in the world. Lemann, along with his fellow controlling shareholders, billionaire Brazilian business partners Carlos Sicupira and Marcel Herrmann Telles, also own stake in Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Popeyes, Burger King and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons. Additionally, Lemann’s private equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought H.J. Heinz & Company in 2013, which has since merged with Kraft.

1. Bernard Arnault

Bernard Arnault
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Jérémy Barande / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay

Bernard Arnault is a French businessman who’s best known as the chairman and CEO of the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy. He oversees 70 brands, including Sephora, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior, and is worth a whopping $76 billion!

-Dubbed the “Pope of Fashion,” Arnault is known in Europe as the man who revitalized French couture.
-In 2018, LVMH acquired Belmond, the hospitality group that owns or manages 46 luxury hotels, restaurants, trains, and river cruise properties.


Your turn! Which of these lesser-known billionaires have you heard of before? Leave a comment below.