The world’s richest women

In Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, updated daily at the close of the markets in NYC, women make up just 12 of the 100 spots available. Just one Australian, Gina Rinehart, makes the list.

Check out how these cashed-up women generated their wealth, from the least wealthy (on a measly $11.2 billion) to the most ($33.5 billion). All figures are in US dollars.

12. Abigail Johnson, United States, $11.2B
Abigail Johnson owns 24.5% of Fidelity Management and Research LLC, which owns the second-largest American mutual fund company Fidelity Investments, of which she is president. She is also vice chairman of FMR LLC. Fidelity Financial Services was created by her grandfather in 1946, with the company now overseeing around $1.6 trillion. Johnson has an art history degree from Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard. She worked as a management consultant briefly before beginning with her family’s company in 1988. She has two children.

11. Johanna Quandt, Germany, $11.7B
Johanna Quandt owns 16.7% of the $60 billion a year BMW, after inheriting a major stake (among other stocks) upon the death of her husband Herbert Quant in 1982. Herbert oversaw the rescue and turnaround of BMW after World War 2. Johanna was Herbert’s secretary and became his third wife, and mother of two children. Her daughter Susanne Klatten also appears in this list.

10. Sara Mota de Larrea, Mexico, $12.4B
Sara Mota de Larrea inherited a 36% stake in Grupo Mexico when her husband Jorge Larrea died. Larrea’s road to wealth started with a construction company before he moved into mining, which included buying privatised government assets. The Grupo Mexico includes the world’s seventh-largest copper producer, Mexico’s largest railroad company and an oil drilling business. Between Sara and her son German, they own 51% of the company. The mining company was rocked by a four-year strike at one of their mines until 2010. The fairly private Larrea family has been involved in a range of lawsuits in the last few years.

9. Dirce Camargo, Brazil, $14.0B
Dirce Camargo has run Camargo Correa, one of Brazil’s most significant companies, since her husband Sebastiao Camarago died in 1994. The industrial conglomerate, a range of publicly and privately owned companies, has businesses in cement, energy, construction, roadways, real estate, ship building, airports, and oil and gas. While Carmgo owns the largest part of the company, the company is run by professional administrators. Two of Dirce and Sebastaio’s three daughters are married to Camargo company directors. She is the third wealthiest Brazilian. Camargo, like Larrea, is reported to be a very private person.

8. Susanne Klatten $14.3B
Klatten, like Johanna Quandt, inherited her stock options after the death of her father Herbert Quant, taking a 50.1% of chemical firm Altana and 12.6% stake in BMW. Klatten has only ever given one interview and it was to her father’s biographer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Buckingham and her MBA at IMD Business School in Switzerland. She has gone on to develop stakes in Nordex AG (a wind power company) and Geohumus (an agriculture technology company). She made headlines in 2011 thanks to a successful civil case against an ex-lover who had blackmailed her. She has three children.

7. Elaine Marshall, United States, $15.0B
Marshall’s wealth comes from her 14.6% stake in Koch Industries, of which she is also director. Koch Industries is a diversified, multi-national group of companies in manufacturing, chemicals, oil refining and distributing, agriculture, finance and commodities trading. Bloomberg describes their annual sales as $115 billion each year. She is the widow of E. Pierce Marshall who with his brother inherited their father, Howard Marshall’s stock despite an ongoing legal battle with Anna Nicole Smith, Howard’s wife at the time of his death. Elaine has two sons.

6. Gina Rinehart, Australia, $18.5B
Rinehart’s wealth comes from her mining empire Hancock Prospecting. Rinehart inherited the company from her father Lang Hancock, and is now chairman. Hancock Prospecting owns stakes in several of Australia’s coal and iron ore mines. She recently filed two long overdue annual reports which outline the financial position of Hancock Prospecting. Rinehart has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit with three of her four children regarding access to their family trust, in which each has over $63 million. She has begun investing outside of the mining industry and is exploring options in media. Her media assets include stakes in Fairfax Media and the Ten Network.

5. Iris Fontbona, Chile, $19.9B
Fontbona and her family are the richest family in Chile, and control a range of companies including Antofagasta, one of the world’s largest copper mines. They also own significant stakes in Plava Laguna, a holiday accommodation company in Croatia and Quinenco, one of Chile’s largest business conglomerates with companies in industrial and financial industries. She is the widow of Andronico Luksic Abaroa who begun as a car dealer and moved into mining and then diversified. Fontbona has three children.

4. Jacqueline Mars, United States, $21.3B
Jacqueline Mars shares a highly lucrative confectionary business with her two brothers, John and Forrest Jnr called Mars Inc., producing some of the world’s most famous confectionary including Mars Bar, Snickers and Wrigley’s gum. They also make and sell pet food. It is a private, family-owned company that turns over more than $30 billion a year. Mars Inc. was started by her grandfather. Mars and her brothers all serve on the board. She studied a Bachelor of Arts / Science at Bryn Mawr College. Jacqueline is divorced and has three children.

3. Liliane Bettencourt, France, $28.2B
Bettencourt is Europe’s richest woman and owns 31% of cosmetics megapower L’Oreal. She inherited this stake from her father who started the company. L’Oreal includes brands such as Garnier, Maybelline, and Kiehls. She joined the company when she was 15, making products and labelling bottles. After she inherited the company in 1957, Bettencourt did not take on the president role but remained engaged as a major stakeholder. Bettencourt, who suffers from dementia, lost control of L’Oreal after it was re-allocated to her only child Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and two grandsons in 2011. She lost an appeal to regain control in 2012. Bettencourt’s ongoing issues with Bettencourt Meyers, who is now her legal guardian, have made headlines for years.

2. Alice Walton, United States, $31.1B
Alice Walton is one of the Wal-Mart heirs, personally owning 410 million shares in what’s still one of the globe’s largest organisations. A former equity analyst and options trader, she went on to set up and run an investment bank, Llama Co. in 1988, which folded 10 years later. She has served as vice chairman and head of investments at the Walton family owned bank. In 2011 she donated hundreds of millions worth of art to the newly opened Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. She breeds horses and runs a ranch in Texas.

1. Christy Walton, United States, $33.5B
Christy Walton inherited her husband Sam Walton’s 12% stake in Wal-Mart after he died in an aircraft crash in 2005. She also owns 26% of the Walton-owned Arvest Bank. The 57-year-old is the world’s richest women and ninth richest person. Her husband’s investment in solar panel manufacturer, First Solar, pushed her wealth ahead of the rest of the Walton family. She serves on the boards of the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Natural History Museum. She has one child.

This story first appeared on our sister site, Women’s Agenda.


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