Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Is Still the World’s Richest Man — Will the Coronavirus Change That?

For the third year in a row, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has been named the richest man in the world.

According to Forbes annual rankings of global billionaires, the business magnate is worth $113 billion — an $18 billion drop from the year before.

He still tops the list despite offloading $36 billion worth of the e-commerce giant’s stock to ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos as part of their divorce settlement last summer. Fittingly, MacKenzie made her first appearance on the roster, ranking 22nd.

While Bezos gave away some shares, his loss was offset by a 15% surge in Amazon’s stock in 2019.

The e-commerce giant has taken the spotlight in recent days over its decision to hire 100,000 full-time and part-time workers to meet a surge in demand from customers who are shopping online and panic-buying household staples during the coronavirus crisis.

However, the list only took into account some of the impact resulting from the pandemic, which has led to stock market volatility, global economic distress and fears of an upcoming recession.

“The richest people on Earth are not immune to the coronavirus,” Forbes wrote. “As the pandemic tightened its grip on Europe and America, global equity markets imploded, tanking many fortunes.”

As of mid-March, when the list was finalized, Forbes counted 2,095 billionaires — 58 fewer versus a year ago and 226 fewer compared with just 12 days earlier, when it initially calculated these net worths. Of the remaining billionaires, 51% are poorer than they were in 2019, with their combined worth amounting to $8 trillion — down $700 billion from the previous year.

At the end of January and in early February, Bezos made headlines for unloading more than $1.8 billion worth of Amazon stock. According to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the exec sold 905,456 shares totaling $1.84 billion.

He has made similar moves in the past, selling nearly $3 billion in July and August 2019, and revealed that he sheds roughly $1 billion in stock each year to secure liquid assets to support his space venture, Blue Origin.

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