The fact that the world has altered over the past 30 years is not surprising. Beyond improvements in technology, transportation, and shopping, the richest people in the world are…well, a lot richer. Consider that back in 1991, the wealthiest man in the world was worth $31 billion. Today? Elon Musk is almost ten times more valuable.
Even yet, looking back on the past 30 years and seeing who ruled the financial world is a nice little time capsule. Here’s a look at the ten wealthiest people from back then.
The founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club owned 39.3% of the former company in 1991, which was enough to make him the second-richest person in the world and the Waltons the richest family in America. Just three months before Walmart celebrated its 30th anniversary, Walton passed away in 1992, but the company’s influence endures. Walmart’s annual sales were $32.6 billion back then. The business generated a staggering $559 billion in revenue during the fiscal year 2021 and has 2.2 million colleagues working for it globally.
$18 billion: King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud
The King of Saudi Arabia was the king of oil back in the 1990s, using the country’s wealth of oil and gas resources to get in good with other leaders around the world. He owned a number of palaces, including a larger-than-life castle in Spain that was modeled like the White House.
The enormous Canadian, European, and American real estate conglomerate Olympia & York Developments was owned entirely by Albert, Paul, and Ralph Reichmann. On London’s Canary Wharf in the late 1980s, the corporation started the greatest development project in history. However, thanks to a global recession, the project ran into numerous problems and, coupled with a large presence in New York (which was also experiencing a recession), Olympia & York quickly ran out of money. In March 1992, Paul Reichmann was made to leave as president; two months later, the business filed for bankruptcy because it owed banks and investors more than $20 billion. Now known as Olympia & York Properties Corporation, the business has relocated to London’s Canary Wharf but is no longer based in New York City.
Family Mars: $12.5 billion
This truth shouldn’t surprise anyone: Americans enjoy candy very much. The typical American stored 21 pounds of sweets annually in the early 1990s. That amount has increased to 22 pounds per year (perhaps in related news, our waistlines are also growing). However, the nation’s fascination with sweets has been profitable for the Mars family, who have a combined net worth of $94 billion today. The business recently paid $5 billion for Kind Bar, Inc., expanding into a “healthier” choice for consumers seeking a quick-bite fix.
These two boys benefited financially from the media oligarchy that their father, Samuel Newhouse Sr., assisted in building. Condé Nast, among other well-known journals, are all under the umbrella of Advance Publications (which owns publications like The New Yorker, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and GQ). The company also has majority shares in Reddit and Discovery Channel and has stakes in cable and internet companies Bright House Networks and Charter Communications. Samuel passed away in 2017, however Donald is still in charge of the business.
King George VI — $10.7 billion
The Queen was honing her wave even back then (of wads of cash). The Royal Family has a sizable portfolio of assets, including real estate, works of art, jewels, horses, stocks, and more. The Royal Family may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on laundry and flowers because to all that money. Of course, many British citizens felt the Royal Family should be taxed because of that, but the Crown has legal tax-exempt status.
$10 billion Taikichiro Mori
The third-largest building leasing company in Japan at the time, Mori Building Company was founded by Taikichiro Mori. Mori founded the company while working as the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Yokohama Commercial School. He briefly attained global riches status in 1992 as a result of a business boom. Mori passed away in 1993, and Miwako Date, his granddaughter, currently oversees the family trust.
Kluge died in 2010 at the age of 95, but at one point in the 1980s, he was the richest man on earth. Even though he had dropped to seventh place by 1991, his fortune was still nothing to laugh at. He controlled 95% of Metromedia, which he built into a significant independent TV broadcaster. In 1986, he sold the majority of the assets to 20th Century Fox for $4 billion and then reorganized. Orion Pictures and the Empire Hotel in New York City were majority-owned by the redesigned Metromedia.
Kenneth Thomson was referred to as “Ken” in Canada but was acknowledged as the 2nd Baron Thomson of Fleet in London. He oversaw the Thomson Corporation media corporation and was a prosperous Canadian businessman and art collector. It owned several community newspapers and television stations like The Globe and Mail, The Times, and the Sports Network before pivoting to become a major financial data services player, publishing information services and academic research. He was the richest person in Canada at the time of his death in 2006, with an estimated net worth of $19.6 billion.
Gerald Grosvenor: $6,600,000,000
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