Indian Man Becomes Fourth Richest Person After Bill Gate Donated To Charity
India’s Gautam Adani, has moved up one spot in Forbes’ Real-Time billionaire rankings after Bill Gates announced a huge donation to charity this week.
The billionaire math is simple when it comes to big charitable donations: Give money away and your net worth shrinks. That’s what happened to Bill Gates, who said Wednesday that he’s donating $20 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this month as part of the foundation’s effort to increase its annual giving 50% by 2026.
The shift in funds led to Adani moving into the No. 4 spot—Bill Gates’ prior rank. The Indian tycoon’s wealth has more than doubled since early 2021 to a current $112.9 billion. Adani, an infrastructure tycoon, owns stakes in six publicly traded companies that bear his name and operate in power, green energy, gas, ports and more.
Adani overtook fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani to become Asia’s richest person in February. He was worth $90.1 billion at the time—and ranked tenth in the world. A college dropout (like Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard), 60-year-old Adani started a commodity exporting firm in 1988. He first appeared on Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires in 2008, worth $9.3 billion. In June, Adani and his family pledged to donate 600 billion rupees ($7.7 billion) to a range of social causes to mark his 60th birthday on Friday.
Following his big gift news, Bill Gates falls just one spot on Forbes’ Real-Time Ranking of the World’s Billionaires, to No. 5 richest in the world, worth an estimated $102 billion at the close of U.S. trading on Thursday.
Gates told Forbes earlier this week that the Gates Foundation is stepping up its giving because of the grim state of the world, particularly the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic downturn and the war in Ukraine. Gates also cited “the political context where the willingness to think globally and do complex things, at least, feels like it’s at a pretty low period.”
For 13 years starting in the mid-1990s, Microsoft cofounder Gates was the world’s richest person. He first became No. 1 on Forbes’ 1995 list of the World’s Billionaires–with a $12.5 billion fortune. He held on to that spot, with his wealth steadily increasing, until 2008, when Warren Buffett became the No. 1 for a year. Gates retook the top rank in 2009, then ceded it to Carlos Slim of Mexico from 2010 through 2013. In 2014 he ranked No. 1 in the world again (then worth $76 billion) and stayed on at that rank until 2018, when he fell to No. 2 and Jeff Bezos overtook Gates as the richest in the world. Gates ranked No. 4 on the 2021 and 2022 Forbes lists of the World’s Billionaires.
Gates has parted with most of his Microsoft stock over the years. Starting in the late 1990s, he gave tens of billions of dollars of the stock to the Gates Foundation and its predecessors. He also sold a hefty amount of Microsoft stock and diversified his assets. As of March 2020, when Gates stepped down from the Microsoft board of directors, he owned about 1.3% of Microsoft stock–down from the nearly 45% he owned in the company when it went public in 1986. Assuming he’d held on to that 1.3%, his Microsoft stock would be worth about $26 billion.
His diversified holdings now include multibillion-dollar stakes in waste management firm Republic Services, farm equipment maker Deere & Co. and Canadian National Railway, among others. Plus he is one of the largest landowners in the U.S.
Will Gates eventually give away his whole fortune? Yes, he now says. Rather than wait for his death, Gates told Forbes’ Randall Lane this week that he fully intends to give his way off the Forbes billionaires list while he’s still alive. He also said that he could see a quarter-century wind-down of the Gates Foundation. Gates, now age 66, will be in his 90s then—and probably ready to hand that responsibility to someone else.