Under the divorce settlement signed in the summer of 2019, Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, gave his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, nearly $38 billion in assets, but he retained the title of “world’s richest man.” Bezos’s net worth is still $115 billion by the end of 2019, down only about $10 billion from the beginning of 2019, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Bezos’ net worth decline was due to his divorce settlement with his ex-wife, Mackenzie, which transferred nearly 20 million shares of Amazon shares to the latter. The shares account for about 4 percent of Amazon’s stake and are worth nearly $38 billion.
Bezos is the only one with a net worth of less in 2019 among the world’s 10 richest people. By contrast, Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chief executive and the world’s second-richest man, has a net worth of $22.7bn, while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s has a staggering $26bn.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the world’s 500 richest people have become richer in 2019, with net worth of $5.9 trillion, an increase of $1.2 trillion, or 25 per cent.
At the same time, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Income inequality in the U.S. climbed to its highest level in more than 50 years last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, prompting many politicians to call for sweeping reform of the U.S. economic system.
Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have proposed a tax on the wealthiest Americans. Sanders has previously said that “billionaires shouldn’t exist.”
The biggest increase in net worth in 2019 was Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company. Arnault’s wealth has increased by $37 billion this year.