Celebrities are known for having lots of money. After all, being rich is one of the many perks of being famous, especially if you manage your money properly and make good investments. Famous people who have the “celebrity” status earned this label because they are celebrated (or at least mildly tolerated) by the public. This indicates that everyone who is filthy rich isn’t necessarily a celebrity.
It’s pretty safe to say that, in the long run, being rich is better than being famous. There are more than a few famous people who are known all over the world, but are drowning in debt. So, those who live quiet lives while rolling in their dough are better off when it comes to their financial security and their ability to care for themselves and their families.
A number of the extremely rich people who are not in the spotlight on a regular basis are the masterminds behind some of your favorite brands or products. Some of them are responsible for corporations and programs that you’ve never heard of. Either way, these millionaires and other well-off people don’t seem to mind that their names won’t be in lights any time soon. Here are 10 super rich people you’ve probably never heard of.
10 Eliodoro Matte
Eliodoro Matte is worth approximately $3 billion, and has millions of acres of eucalyptus and pine in Argentina and Chile. Matte is a resident of Santiago, Chile, but was educated at the University of Chicago. He is counting on an increase in international trade in Chile, due to the expansion of his trade port complex in the Chilean city of Lirquen. In addition to his lucrative trading business and expertise in moving exports, Matte also holds stakes in banking outfits and telecom. Looks like Eliodoro Matte truly knows how to manage and make money, but chances are this is the first time you’re hearing his name.
9 Riley Bechtel
Riley Bechtel runs Bechtel Corp., which has been in his family for four generations. This is the firm that built the Chunnel and the Hoover Dam. When Riley was just 14, he started working at the company as a mechanic’s helper. He still has his first paycheck to remind him how far he’s come. In 1990, Riley Bechtel became the chairman and chief executive of his family’s lucrative company. Through his leadership, the firm made $27 billion in 2007, and the following year, Bechtel Corp had $34 billion in profits. The company is also responsible for the construction of the first high-speed rail line in the UK. Bechtel himself has a net worth of approximately $4.1 billion.
8 Americo Amorim
Amorim is a successful Portuguese businessman. He has an approximate net worth of $4.6 billion, and turned a small cork business started by his grandfather in the 1800s, into an empire. His company, Corticeira Amorim, is the world’s largest cork producer, and the business brings in $650 million in sales. The company also has tourism and real estate investments. Even though Americo Amorim is no longer involved in the daily operations of the company, he still owns 5% of Corticeira Amorim, which means Amorim is constantly making a pretty penny. The savvy businessman is also heavily invested in energy and finance, so it’s likely that he’ll be pretty rich for quite some time.
7 John Tu
John Tu, whose wise business practices have earned him an approximate fortune of $4.4 billion, partnered with David Sun, to found Kingston Technology. Tu studied electrical engineering after his family was forced to leave their native China, in 1949. Sun and Tu also formed Camintonn in 1982, which led them to form the even larger Kingston Technology. Tu also sold 80% of Kingston Technology stock to Softbank in 1996, for $1.5 million, but he and Sun ended up buying the stock back just three years later at $450 million. That’s pretty smart investing. John Tu also has an appreciation for music, and plays drums in a band in his spare time.
6 David Sun
David Sun is worth approximately $4.8 billion, largely because of his position as chief engineer for Alpha Micro. Sun also co-founded Kingston Technology, with his investment partner John Tu, in 1987. Kingston Technology is the largest privately held computer memory firm in the United States. The USB flash drives and flash cards manufactured by the company help digital cameras, cell phones and MP3 players to function properly. In 2007, it was estimated that sales for Kingston Technology increased 22%, to $4.5 million. In 1982, Sun and Tu also started Camintonn, a memory chip outfit, and sold the company in 1986 for $6 million before forming Kingston Technology.
5 Reinhold Wurth
Reinhold Wurth is a German businessman who is worth approximately $7.3 billion. When Wurth was 19, he took over his father’s small screw business called Wurth Group. These days, Wurth Group makes $12.5 billion in sales. That’s pretty impressive, seeing as how most people probably aren’t familiar with the Wurth name. Wurth Group also has interests in a solar energy company and a bank. Reinhold Wurth’s daughter Bettina, recently took over Wurth Group as head of the supervisory board, and Markus, Reinhold’s son-in-law, is now head of the wood division of Wurth Group. Reinhold Wurth finds time for leisure in the midst of managing his fortune, and has a pilot’s license. He also enjoys art, and has an impressive collection that includes works by Picasso and Edvard Munch.
4 Sammy Ofer
Although he recently passed away, his name is certainly still worth mentioning. Sammy Ofer was a resident of Tel Aviv, but was born in Romania and based in Monaco. He and his family control a pretty successful global shipping empire, and have sound investments in real estate and banking. Ofer's relatives are the heads of Zim through the umbrella company Israel Corp., a shipping and refineries company, along with Israel Chemicals. Israel Corp’s stock price doubled in 2009, and the company has been growing steadily since then. The Ofer family also has stake in the Royal Caribbean cruise ship line, which pretty much means they always have money. The Ofer empire was taken over by Eyal Ofer, who is currently worth $9.3 billion.
3 Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen
Kristiansen has a net worth of approximately $9.5 billion and resides in Denmark. He is the grandson of the guy who created the Lego company. Kjeld ran the Lego company for 25 years, but when Lego started to take a significant amount of financial losses, he stepped down in 2004. However, he is still the vice chairman of the board, and remains the sole owner of Lego. After some company restructuring and selling some of Lego’s assets (like its four Legoland amusement parks), the Lego company is finally starting to make a comeback. Lego is still the sixth largest toy-making company in terms of sales, and is starting to make an impressive financial comeback.
2 Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote is a billionaire businessman from Nigeria, and is regarded as the richest man in Africa. He is worth around $17.1 billion, and achieved major success when his sugar production company earned a spot on the Nigerian stock exchange. Dangote also has cement and flour companies, but progress in these companies has been halted in order to focus on the sugar production business. Aliko started his career when he was just 21. He became an investment trader with a loan from his uncle, which allowed him to develop his corporation, Dangote Group. The company also has investments in textiles, oil and gas, along with salt manufacturing and real estate.
1 Jorge Paulo Lemann
Lemann is worth around $26 billion, and is a Brazilian investment banker who became the baron of beer. With two of his former banking partners, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, who are also billionaires, Lemann shares control of InBev, which is based in Belgium. The men also control Lojas Americanas, which is a retail business in Brazil. He founded Banco Garantia in 1971, which proved to be his first successful investment, and likely served as motivation to become even more successful. He sold the business in 1998 for $675 million. Jorge Paulo Lemann was also a successful tennis player back in the day, and even played at Wimbledon.
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