Special Report

American Billionaires That Got Richer During COVID

Source: David Ramos / Getty Images News via Getty Images

30. Lin Bin
> Wealth growth during pandemic: +$4.7 billion (+133.6%)
> Est. net worth; March 18, 2020: $3.5 billion
> Est. net worth; Oct. 13, 2020: $8.2 billion
> Industry: Technology

Since mid-March, when the novel coronavirus began wreaking havoc on both the public health and economy of the United States, technology billionaire Lin Bin made about $4.7 billion, more than doubling his net worth. Lin is the cofounder and president of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. Before founding the company in 2010, Lin worked at both Microsoft and Google. Xiaomi went public in 2018 and its share price has more than doubled during the pandemic.

Though he was born in Guangzhou, China and currently resides in Beijing, Lin is an American citizen.

Source: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

29. Leonard Lauder
> Wealth growth during pandemic: +$5.3 billion (+36.3%)
> Est. net worth; March 18, 2020: $14.6 billion
> Est. net worth; Oct. 13, 2020: $19.9 billion
> Industry: Fashion & Retail

Leonard Lauder is worth an estimated $19.9 billion — enough to make him one of the 30 richest Americans. Over one-third of Lauder’s wealth, $5.3 billion, was amassed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lauder was the CEO of beauty products company Estee Lauder for nearly three decades before stepping down in 1999. He currently serves as the company’s chairman emeritus. A publicly traded company, Estee Lauder beat earnings estimates in the third quarter of 2020 and its stock price has climbed by more than 50% during the pandemic — and Lauder is a significant shareholder.

Like several other billionaires on this list, Lauder is a philanthropist and has donated millions to Alzheimer’s research.

Source: Courtesy of zscaler.com

28. Jay Chaudhry
> Wealth growth during pandemic: +$6.0 billion (+213.9%)
> Est. net worth; March 18, 2020: $2.8 billion
> Est. net worth; Oct. 13, 2020: $8.8 billion
> Industry: Technology

Jay Chaudhry is founder and CEO of Zscaler, a publicly traded California-based cybersecurity company. Zscaler’s share price more than tripled from mid-March through mid-October — and Chaundhry and his family own 45% of the company. Chaudhry’s net worth also more than tripled over the same period, from $2.8 billion to $8.8 billion.

Though born in Indiana, Chaudhry now lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

27. David Duffield
> Wealth growth during pandemic: +$6.0 billion (+80.6%)
> Est. net worth; March 18, 2020: $7.5 billion
> Est. net worth; Oct. 13, 2020: $13.5 billion
> Industry: Technology

David Duffield is one of many tech entrepreneurs to rank on this list. Working as a software engineer at IBM early in his career, Duffield went on to found PeopleSoft, a human resources and finance software company, which Oracle bought the company for nearly $11 billion a decade and a half ago. Duffield then founded WorkDay, another HR and finance software company, which went public in 2012. WorkDay share price doubled from March 18 to Oct. 13, and Duffield owns 23% of the company.

During the recent six-month period, in which Duffield’s net worth grew by $6.0 billion, he donated $5 million to start a scholarship program for engineering students at his alma mater, Cornell University.

Source: Courtesy of Koch Industries

26. Charles Koch
> Wealth growth during pandemic: +$6.7 billion (tied) (+17.6%)
> Est. net worth; March 18, 2020: $38.2 billion
> Est. net worth; Oct. 13, 2020: $44.9 billion
> Industry: Diversified

Most of the billionaires on this list have expanded their wealth during the COVID-19 pandemic through the appreciation of the shares of the publicly traded companies they are associated with. Charles Koch is an exception. Koch is the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, one of the largest private companies in the United States. Koch has a 42% stake in the diversified company, which — through its business in industries ranging from chemicals to pipelines — reports $110 billion in annual revenue.

Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific, one of largest toilet paper manufacturers in the country, reportedly increased its production capacity to meet consumer demand in the early days of the pandemic.

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