Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has overtaken Bill Gates and is now the richest person in the world, with a fortune topping $90 billion for the first time ever.
The 53-year-old king of e-commerce snatched away the mantle of world’s wealthiest person from 61-year-old Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, thanks to a morning surge in Amazon stock. When markets opened on Thursday, Bezos had a net worth of $90.6 billion, putting him $500 million ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Amazon stock opened up 1.6% on Thursday, adding $1.4 billion to Bezos’ net worth. That was enough to put him ahead of Gates, who was last surpassed on Forbes’ real-time rankings for just two days nearly a year ago by Spanish retail giant Amancio Ortega.
But Bezos’ reign lasted only four hours, and by the 4 p.m. close of the market, his net worth had slumped to a meager $88.7 billion, dropping him below Gates — who had topped the list since 2013 — at $89.8 billion. Bezos currently owns about 80 million shares — 17 percent — of Amazon, which he founded in 1994, selling books out of his Seattle garage. The online behemoth seems to sell just about everything — and delivers frighteningly fast.
Bezos has wholeheartedly embraced the brave new world of retailing technology, dreaming up a drone-delivery system that could someday fill the sky with Amazon aircraft. But his empire extends way beyond e-commerce. In 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million — and recently said he runs it like his core holding.
As of Thursday night, Spanish retailing tycoon Amancio Ortega Gaona, 81, was ranked third at $83.5 billion, while legendary Omaha investor Warren Buffett, 86, was fourth at $74.4 billion.
Bill Gates joined the Forbes’ ranking of the world’s richest people in 1986 whereas, Bezos made his debut relatively late, in 1998. On the Forbes’ 2017 list of the World’s Billionaires published in March 2017, Bezos ranked third, while Bill Gates was on the top of the list. Between the two is 86-year old Warren Buffet, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.