According to a report by Forbes, there are currently 2,755 billionaires on Planet Earth. I am willing to bet all my money — which is several zeros less than a billion — that you are not one of them.
There are, however, five people living in San Diego who are members of the Billionaires Club. While there is a lot of focus on the men who top the list, let's take a look at three of San Diego's five billionaires.
The wealthiest person in San Diego
At number 727 on the global billionaire list is Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer. Her wealth increased from $3 billion in 2020 to $4 billion in 2021. She made her wealth by inheriting an estimated 8% stake in food giant Cargill. Cargill is America’s largest private company and is independently managed but owned by two families. It’s the largest commodities trader globally, employs 155,000 people, and operates around the globe in a wide range of industries. Yet, few people know much about Cargill.
“They are richer than the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, and Carnegies combined.” Forbes
San Diego's richest resident keeps a low profile, with Forbes saying that Meyer spends most of her time on a farm in Rancho Santa Fe training horses that compete in show jumping. Although Meyer was raised in Switzerland, she graduated from San Diego State University.
The doctor and the entrepreneur
At 1064 on the list is Osman Kibar, the founder and CEO of San Diego-based biotech firm Samumed. His wealth more than doubled over 2020, taking him from $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion. Osman is a multi-tasker- while undertaking a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, he founded two companies!
Osman was working in a Pfizer incubator when he founded Samumed. In 2018 Samumed raised $438 million to further its work developing drugs to reverse aging, claiming a valuation of $12.4 billion.
A net worth of $1.2 billion places Frederic Luddy at 2378 on the list. Fred is a serial entrepreneur, co-founded the enterprise software company ServiceNow in 2004, a few weeks before he turned 50. What made this remarkable is that he had just lost $35 million as his previous employer, Peregrine Systems, filed for bankruptcy.
In 2011 he was offered $2.5 billion for ServiceNow but turned it down, choosing to take his company public instead. In 2018 Forbes named his company No. 1 on the 2018 Forbes Most Innovative Companies List.
The wealthy keep getting wealthy.
Despite 2020 being a terrible year for most people, the billionaires' wealth on the Forbes list increased from 8 trillion to 13.1 trillion. That’s a whopping 63%. In total, 86% of the people on this list are more affluent than they were this time last year. In addition, there was a new billionaire added every 17 hours — a total of 493 who didn't make the 2020 billionaires list. COVID-19, in fact, created 40 new billionaires. Those whose companies created vaccines, such as Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, and Ugur Şahin, the CEO and co-founder of BioNTech — partner of Pfizer who joined the Billionaires list.
Putting the gold in the golden state
While San Diego has five billionaires, it is a city outside the US that boasts the title of most billionaires. Beijing has more billionaires than any other city in the world, having overtaken New York City.
Even with the second richest person in the world, Elon Musk relocating his businesses to Texas and Larry Ellison (seventh richest) moving to Hawaii, California has 189 billionaires- far more than any other state. In fact, well ahead of New York, which is second with 126.
Let's hope more people from San Diego make the 2022 list!
Readers have you met or worked for any of these billionaires? Let us know in the comments below.