“Forbes” counted 234 billionaires worldwide this year. That was ten less than in 2019. Overall, just over half of the billionaires were “poorer” than in the previous list. This was in line with the general trend. It was all the more remarkable that the total wealth of the richest women on earth did not shrink. Rather, according to the business magazine, it increased by $ 29.4 billion to $ 927.4 billion.
The 19 newcomers played a part in this. Two of them shot up into the top 10: Mackenzie Bezos, ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Julia Koch. After the death of her husband David Koch in August 2019, she inherited 42 percent of the oil and chemical consortium Koch Industries with her three children. The two new billionaires alone accounted for $ 74.2 billion. That corresponded to eight percent of the total wealth of all billionaires.
Richest women: Little women founders
The analysts counted 67 self-made women this year (2019: 68). The majority of the super-rich women owe their assets to an inheritance or a divorce. But that doesn’t mean that these billionaires haven’t earned their wealth. The fourth richest woman in the world was instrumental in the success of her ex-husband. Other heirs have been successfully running their family business for decades or are the supreme moral authority over their company empire.
With a view to the list of the richest men, one thing is clear: the world urgently needs more female founders. This also applies to Europe.
These are the richest women on the continent
@imago images / IPA Press
# 10 Sandra Ortega Mera
Sandra Ortega Mera was the seventh richest woman in Europe in 2019. This year it was only enough for tenth place on the “Forbes” ranking – which the Spaniard even has to share. Ortega Mera inherited her wealth from her mother Rosalia Mera in 2013. Together with her husband Amancio Ortega, she founded the clothing giant Inditex, to which the Zara chain belongs. According to Forbes, Ortega Mera holds around 4.5 percent of Inditex and is the second richest person in Spain after her father. According to the report, their wealth declined from the equivalent of $ 6.1 billion to $ 5.5 billion. Inditex announced store closures in the Corona crisis. The group wants to concentrate on large branches and online trading.
@imago images / TT
# 10 Antonia Ax: son Johnson & family
Antonia Ax: son Johnson is the tenth richest woman in Europe alongside the Zara heiress Ortega Mera. The Swede has been the fourth generation to manage the Axel Johnson trading group for 32 years. In 2015 she handed over the company management to her daughter Caroline Berg. However, according to Forbes, the majority of the company is still owned by the Swede, who was 76 years old when the list was published. “Forbes” put their assets at the equivalent of $ 5.5 billion. That was only $ 100 million less than last year.
@imago images / Bildbyran
# 8 Sofie Kirk Kristiansen & Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (1)
Sisters Sofie Kirk Kristiansen and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard (photo) share eighth place with $ 6.1 billion each (cut-off date: April 7, 2020). Together with their father and brother, they own 75 percent of the toy giant Lego. It was founded in 1932 by her great-grandfather Ole Kirk Christiansen. Lego is apparently crisis-proof. Both sisters have grown by $ 1.4 billion each since the 2019 rankings. According to Forbes, Kristiansen (44) has nothing to do with the business. Thinggaard (36) sits on the board of the Lego Foundation.
# 7 Gianluigi and Rafaela Aponte
Rafaela Aponte is led by “Forbes” in seventh place among the richest women in Europe – but with the total wealth with husband Gianluigi. The Swiss couple founded the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in 1970, today the second largest container shipping company in the world. MSC is also active in the area of cruises. According to Forbes, the couple Aponte suffered painful losses. As a result, their assets decreased from $ 10.5 billion to $ 6.5 billion. The couple ranked 230th on the world’s list of the richest people in the world.
# 6 Massimiliana Landini Aleotti
Massimiliana Landini Aleotti and her three children inherited the pharmaceutical giant Menarini from her husband Alberto in 2014. The family company is one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in Italy. Aleotti’s assets decreased $ 800 million to $ 6.6 billion in one year.
@imago images / Tuchel
# 5 Kirsten Rausing
Kirsten Rausing, on the other hand, has become richer in the past six years. 2020 was no exception, despite the onset of the Corona crisis. The Swede raised her fortune from $ 7.9 to $ 9.1 billion. That was enough for fifth place among the richest Europeans. Rausing took 150th place worldwide. In 1951 the Swede Ruben Rausing revolutionized the packaging industry with Tetra Pak. According to “Forbes”, his granddaughter holds a third of the parent company Tetra Laval and sits on the supervisory board.
@imago images / Pro Shots
# 4 Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and her family, on the other hand, have lost some assets. It dropped from $ 14.2 billion to $ 12.8 billion, according to Forbes. de Carvalho-Heineken inherited a 23 percent stake in the brewery giant from her father Freddy Heineken in 2002. The 66-year-old, who lives in London, is the richest person in the Netherlands. It ranked 93rd worldwide.
@imago images / Mauersberger
# 3 Susanne Klatten
Germany is still represented in the list of the richest women with Susanne Klatten. However, according to Forbes, the major shareholder of BMW lost 20 percent of its assets within a year. The reason: price drops in BMW shares in the wake of the Corona crisis. According to the report, the 57-year-old daughter of industrialist Herbert Quandt holds 19.2 percent of the car maker. Klattten’s fortune reportedly fell from $ 21.0 to $ 16.8 billion. The graduate economist is also the sole owner of the pharmaceutical company Altana. It takes 54th place in the general list of rich people.
@imago images / Future Image
# 2 Beate Heister
Beate Heister, daughter of Karl Albrecht, founder of Aldi-Süd who died in 2014, has contradictory information at “Forbes”. In an article on the ten richest women in the world, the name of the German billionaire is missing – presumably because she shares the allegedly $ 33.3 billion fortune with her brother Karl Albrecht Jr. In the ranking table, however, Heister is ranked fifth between Mackenzie Bezos and ahead of Jacqueline Mars with a total of $ 33.3 billion. Be that as it may, according to Forbes, the shared assets of Aldi Süd’s heirs fell by around eight percent within a year. If the siblings had equal shares, Heister would line up just behind Klatten.
# 1 Françoise Bettencourt Meyers & family
Françoise Bettencourt Meyers remains Europe’s richest woman in 2020. Worldwide, the L’Oréal heiress (66) had to relinquish the top position to Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The French woman’s assets decreased only minimally. It fell from $ 49.3 billion to $ 48.9 billion, according to Forbes. Corona crashes in early March were also responsible here. In 2019, the richest woman in the world at the time had an increase of 17 percent. Bettencourt Meyers inherited her fortune from her mother, Liliane, who died in 2017, the daughter of company founder Eugène Schueller. It is the world’s 15th richest person.