We know that Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Bernard Arnault are the world’s wealthiest people. But all their wealth is concentrated into the hands of an individual or a “nuclear family.” They don’t fit the traditional definition of a dynasty, where the wealth of a family-owned business has been distributed to several descendants through decades. The wealth of such families or dynasties is spread across more than one generation. Here we take a look at the top 10 wealthiest families in the world.
Bloomberg has published its 2019 ranking of the world’s wealthiest families. According to the publication, the top 25 wealthiest families control $1.4 trillion of wealth, up 24% from last year. America’s wealthiest 0.1% “control more wealth than at any time since 1929.” The ranking below is based on data from Bloomberg’s latest report.
10- Cargill-MacMillan families, $42.9 billion
The sixth-generation of Cargill and MacMillan families remain the majority owners of the commodities giant Cargill Inc, which was founded in 1865. Cargill is the largest private company in the United States with $114.7 billion in revenue and 155,000 employees. The agribusiness juggernaut has topped Forbes’ annual list of America’s largest private companies for 28 of the last 30 years.
9- Ambani family, $50.4 billion
India’s Ambanis are the ninth wealthiest family in the world. Dhirubhai Ambani founded Reliance Industries in 1957, and it has now become one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies. Dhirubhai Ambani’s elder son Mukesh Ambani owns more than 40% of Reliance Industries, which has expanded its presence to telecom, retail, and other areas. Dhirubhai’s younger son Anil Ambani manages the asset management, entertainment, and power businesses.
8- Boehringer, Von Baumbach families, $51.9 billion
Albert Boehringer founded the German pharmaceuticals giant Boehringer Ingelheim in 1885. The Boehringer and Von Baumbach families retain control of the company. Hubertus von Baumbach, the current chairman and CEO of the company, is the great-grandson of Albert Boehringer.
7- Van Damme, De Spoelberch, De Mevius families, $52.9 billion
The roots of these three Belgian families in the brewing business go back to more than 500 years. The Van Damme family joined the other two when Piedboeuf and Artois merged in 1987 to form Interbrew. In 2004, Interbrew merged with Brazil’s AmBev to form InBev. Then InBev merged with Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to form Anheuser-Busch InBev.
6- Dumas family, $53.1 billion
The wealth of the Dumas family is tied to the French luxury and fashion giant Hermes, which was founded by Thierry Hermes in 1837. Axel Dumas currently serves as the chairman and CEO of Hermes, and Pierre-Alexis Dumas is the artistic director. Hermes counts Russian czars, royal families from around the world, and popular celebrities among its clients.
5- Wertheimer family, $57.6 billion
Brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer control French luxury brand Chanel, which was founded in 1909 by fashion designer Coco Chanel. Pierre Wertheimer negotiated a perfume contract with Coco Chanel in 1924. Chanel posted revenue of $11 billion in 2018. During World War II, Coco Chanel attempted to take back the control of the company with the help of the Nazis.
4- Al Saud family, $100 billion
The Al Saud family of Saudi Arabia is the newest entrant among the world’s top 10 wealthiest families. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is named after Ibn Saud, who founded modern Saudi Arabia. The net worth of the Al Saud family is estimated based on the total payouts the royal family members have received from the royal treasury in the last 50 years. The total wealth of the Al Saud family is expected to be much higher.
3- Koch family, $124.5 billion
Brothers Charles and David Koch control Koch Industries, one of the world’s largest privately-held companies. The Wichita, Kansas-based company was founded in 1940 by Fred Koch. Charles and David Koch each own 42% of the company while the remaining 16% is owned by trusts for the benefit of Elaine Tettemer Marshall. Koch Industries has more than 120,000 employees and $110 billion in annual revenue.
2- Mars family, $126.5 billion
The Mars family’s net worth shot up by $37 billion from last year to $126.5 billion. Mars is a global leader in food products. Founded in 1911, it has more than 100,000 employees. It posted revenues of $35 billion in the latest fiscal year. Jacqueline and John Mars, the grandchildren of founder Frank Mars, are the largest shareholders of the company. Mars owns popular brands such as M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Whiskas cat food, and Uncle Ben’s rice. It also owns the pet food maker Pedigree.
1- Walton family, $190.5 billion
The descendants of Walmart founder Sam Walton have a total net worth of $190.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. Their family holding Walton Enterprises owns half the shares of Walmart. Walmart operates more than 11,000 stores worldwide. It posted $514 billion revenue during the latest fiscal year. Fortunes of the Walton family rose by $39 billion to $190.5 billion in 2019.
The fortunes of the top 10 wealthiest families are expected to keep growing in the coming years.