Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth is currently sitting at $141.9 billion, up from around $100 billion just six months ago. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the second wealthiest person on the planet according to Forbes‘ list of the world’s billionaires, trails Bezos by nearly $49 billion. Stock guru Warren Buffet is third on the list.
According to CNBC, Bezos’ net worth is essentially tied to the stock price of Amazon, which continues to climb. The online behemoth is currently the second most valuable company on Earth; only Apple is valued higher. In January, Amazon shares were trading around $1,200. As of the close of business today, the stock price was over $1,700.
With an annual income of $178 billion, Amazon places No. 8 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. In 2002, Bezos’ company was listed at No. 492. The same year, Walmart, Amazon’s fiercest competitor, was at No. 1. Other companies within the top 10 include Apple, Exxon Mobil, and Berkshire Hathaway.
Bezos came up with the idea of Amazon while working at the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the early 1990s.
“I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year,” Bezos said during a speech at Princeton in 2010, as cited by CNBC. “I’d never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles — something that simply couldn’t exist in the physical world — was very exciting to me.”
Bezos left his lucrative position with the hedge fund and officially started the book-selling online retailer in 1994, the same year Bill Gates was ranked the richest person in the world on Forbes‘ list. The Seattle-based company took off and went public in 1997, initially selling shares for $18 each.
Per a Time magazine report, Amazon now employs 566,000 people worldwide. Median employee income per year for a typical worker is $28,446. As CEO, Bezos takes an annual salary of $81,840.
Jeff Bezos owns about 16 percent of Amazon, representing about 95 percent of his net worth. If Amazon continues its meteoric rise and other projects like Blue Origin ultimately become a success, Bezos is predicted by some financial experts to be the world’s first trillionaire.