Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, used to be the fourth richest person in the world. On March 29, 2017, thanks to a boost to Amazon stock, Jeff Bezos’ net worth shot up an extra $1.5 billion, adding to the already $8.7 billion he had added already this year. That net increase of $10.2 billion, combined with a slight loss by Warren Buffet, propelled Bezos to the nNo. 2 spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bezos’ net worth is now calculated at $75.6 billion, just edging Buffet out by $700 million. He also soared past Amancio Ortega, founder of Inditex S.A., whose net worth is $74.3 billion. Ortega holds the distinction of being the wealthiest person in Europe.
The bump in Amazon’s stock came after the online retailer announced plans to buy Souq.com. Souq.com is an English-Arabic online shopping platform and the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world. It is based in Dubai and was the brainchild of Ronaldo Mouchawar. Souq.com was founded in 2005 as an auction site and made the jump to e-commerce in 2011. The new subsidiary of Amazon delivers to the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
Bezos’ $10.2 billion gain was the third largest so far this year. It lagged a bit behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $11.4 billion increase and far behind Chinese delivery billionaire Wang Wei, who gained $18.4 billion.
A Brief Look at Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos is primarily known as the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Amazon, who is the world’s largest e-Commerce site. His rise to success and fame as the head of Amazon are well documented. Bezos enjoys a reputation as both easy going and a notorious micromanager. He insists on knowing how he is quoted in every Amazon press release and regularly reads over contracts himself. However, Amazon is not the only place where Bezos has investments.
Bezos is also the owner of The Washington Post, purchasing it from the former owner Donald E. Graham for $250 million in cash. The sale was completed on October 1, 2013. He has made small changes in how The Post operates, including removing paywalls for subscribers of numerous small local newspapers nationwide.
He is also noted for being one of the first investors in Google, providing a $250,000 cash infusion in 1998. That investment netted Bezos 3.3 million shares in Google with an approximate net worth of $2.9 billion currently.
Jeff Bezos also is head of a venture capital investment firm called Bezos Expeditions. This firm offers multiple layers of investments to various companies, and has been involved in both capital and non-profit investments. Some of the more notable venture capital fundings have been to Stack Exchange, Uber, Pelago, and Kongregate. The non-profits that Bezos Expeditions have helped fund include a $10 million grant to create the Bezos Center for Innovation at the Seattle Museum of History and Industry, a $42 million fund to produce a clock that is designed to last 10,000 years, and funding the recovery of two Saturn V engines that were identified as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Perhaps his most well-known passion project is Blue Origin, a human spaceflight company. During an interview when Bezos was 18, he said that he “wanted to build space hotels, amusement parks, and colonies for two or three million people who would be in orbit.” Bezos has stated that he wants to put millions of people to work in space. As part of that goal, he aims to change the cost of accessing outer space.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle was first successfully tested in 2015. As part of a test program, they expect to begin carrying passengers in 2017 with commercial flights beginning in 2018.
So Who is the Wealthiest Person in the World?
As of the end of March 2017, the number one spot on the Bloomberg Billionaire list is still Bill Gates. Gates has an estimated net worth of $86 billion, $10.4 billion ahead of Bezos.