Elon Musk Surpasses Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the Richest Person in the World

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest person in the world. That post now belongs to Elon Musk, the billionaire executive who serves as CEO of aerospace manufacturer SpaceX and electric carmaker Tesla.

According to Bloomberg, a 4.8% gain in Tesla’s stock on Thursday pushed Musk past Bezos on its proprietary Billionaires index, which ranks the globe’s 500 wealthiest people. Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002, also currently serves as its CTO and chief designer. His other titles include founder of infrastructure service business The Boring Company; co-founder of neurotechnology firm Neuralink; and co-founder and initial co-chairman of research laboratory OpenAI.

Including Thursday’s rally in shares of Tesla, Musk now has a net worth of more than $185 billion. Early last year, he was worth roughly $27 billion, but a surge in Tesla’s stock price — a whopping 750% to nearly $800 since the start of 2020 — pushed his wealth upward by more than $150 billion. What’s more, the South Africa-born engineer is said to be sitting on $42 billion of unrealized paper gains on vested stock options, which come from two grants he received in 2012 and 2018.

Comparatively, Bezos, who has held the top spot on the index since 2017, is worth about $184 billion. Amazon’s share price growth has been stifled by regulatory scrutiny from lawmakers both in the United States and international countries. (One day in August, however, Bezos’ net worth skyrocketed to $197.8 billion in conjunction with the S&P 500’s record close at the time.)

Bezos, who founded Amazon in 1994, notably sold last year one million of his company’s shares worth approximately $3.1 billion. He previously explained that he was releasing $1 billion of Amazon’s stock a year to fund Blue Origin, the privately-held aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services firm that he established two decades ago. He also offloaded $36 billion worth of the Seattle-based retailer’s stock to ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos as part of their divorce settlement nearly two years ago.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, LVMH Moët Hennessy CEO Bernard Arnault and Facebook CEO round out the top five of Bloomberg’s index. The financial publication shared that the world’s 500 richest people added a record $1.8 trillion to their combined net worth last year — a 31% increase from the prior year — with all top five individuals holding fortunes above $100 billion.

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