Bezos tops Forbes list of richest Americans

Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos (left) topped Forbes’ list of richest Americans for the third year in a row, while US President Donald Trump’s ranking dropped. –Reuters

NEW YORK: Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos topped Forbes’ list of richest Americans for the third year in a row, while US President Donald Trump’s ranking dropped as the coronavirus pandemic slammed his office buildings, hotels and resorts, the magazine said Tuesday.

The aggregate wealth of the Forbes 400 list rose to a record $3.2 trillion, as the richest Americans continued to do well even though the pandemic has devastated the economy, which is short about 11 million jobs compared to where it was in February.

Eric Yuan, chief executive officer of Zoom Video Communications, which has become ubiquitous in the work-from-home era, was one of 18 newcomers on the list with a net worth of $11 billion. Trump’s ranking dropped to No 352 from 275 last year and his net worth fell to $2.5 billion from $3.1 billion, as office buildings, hotels and resorts, have suffered during the pandemic. His business, the Trump Organization, owns property in all three categories.

Trump has long refused to release his tax records, and has been locked in a battle with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who subpoenaed Trump for eight years of personal and corporate returns. The annual list can serve as a way to track the wealthiest people in the country who hold the most power, said Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth at Forbes, in an interview with Reuters TV. “As a society, we all should know who is behind the biggest companies and what they’re doing with their money,” she said.

Forbes Tuesday released the 39th annual Forbes 400 list, the definitive ranking of the wealthiest Americans-including a comprehensive report of not only what these billionaires are worth, but how they are using their money to drive change and make an impact, a press release issued by Forbes added.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s super-rich are doing better than ever. The aggregate wealth of the list is $3.2 trillion, up 8 percent from a year ago and a record in the four decades Forbes has tracked the richest Americans’ fortunes. A record 233 US billionaires did not make the cut this year, falling short of the $2.1 billion minimum needed to make the list. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon, remains in the top spot on the 2020 Forbes 400 list for the third consecutive year. Bezos’ fortune of $179 billion, as of July 24, 2020, is up 57 percent from last year.

“The remarkable growth in fortunes of The Forbes 400 stands out at a time of pandemic-induced economic upheaval,” said Kerry A Dolan, Assistant Managing Editor, Wealth at Forbes. “Much of the wealth is highly concentrated. The top 21 richest on the list (there is a tie at No 20) account for 42 percent of the total wealth.”

The Forbes 400 list is a snapshot in time of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from July 24, 2020. Since then Forbes reported in late August that Bezos’ net worth reached a record-breaking $200 billion, with Bezos the first person in history to cross this milestone.

There were 25 drop-offs who made the 2019 list but fell off this year’s ranking; ten of those were due in part to setbacks related to the Covid-19 outbreak. There are 18 newcomers on this year’s list including: Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications, with a net worth of $11 billion; Jim Koch, cofounder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, producer of Samuel Adams Beer, with a net worth of $2.6 billion; and at age 38 the youngest newcomer, Trevor Milton, founder of electric and hydrogen-electric truck maker Nikola. Donald Trump’s ranking dropped to No. 352 from 275 in 2019, and his net worth dropped to $2.5 billion from last year’s $3.1 billion, as the value of office buildings, hotels and resorts have taken a hit amid the pandemic.-Agencies

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