While many tech millionaires and billionaires are famous for quickly earning their fortunes, there is something impressive about a family dynasty. Some of these families started with a refined craft, a solid product, or a winning business idea. Who are the families behind your favorite brands? The household names and hidden empires in food and fashion? While these families may not all contribute to the family business, they certainly benefit from it.
The Waltons – $175 billion
When Sam Walton opened his first discount department store in 1950 in Bentonville, Arkansas, he could never have imagined the way he would change the commercial landscape. Today, Walmart is the largest retailer in the world, with revenues of over $500 billion. His children are still running the family business, as well as furthering philanthropic causes through the Walton Family Foundation.
The Mars’ – $90 billion
Talk about a tasty legacy! The Mars family controls the largest candy company in the world, Mars, Inc., with annual sales of over $35 billion. The company is famous for delicious treats like M&Ms and Twix; however, they’re also very private people. Don’t expect to see the matriarch Jacqueline on any Instagram live stories. The family has a net worth of over $90 billion, with brother and sister John and Jacqueline frequently gracing the Forbes List.
The Koch brothers – $99 billion
Chemical engineer Fred Koch left an oil refinery firm to his two sons, Charles and David. After diversifying and expanding into other industries, Koch is now a multinational corporation with revenues of over $100 billion. The Koch brothers are not just famous for their father’s company, however. These two have used their deep pockets to change the landscape of American politics by financing super PACs that lean toward conservative values. While David Koch passed away in August 2019, his brother and children carry on their political legacy.
House of Saud – $1.4 trillion
The Al Saud family carved a kingdom out of the Arabian Peninsula that became Saudi Arabia. An abundance of liquid gold has earned the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Aramco, revenues in excess of $350 billion. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud has worked to modernize the country, pivoting away from oil reliance for a sustainable future.
The Wertheimer family – $41 billion
Though the brand is associated with fashion designer Coco Chanel, French brothers Gerard and Alain Wertheimer are the heirs and executives of the Chanel brand. The Wertheimer brothers are the grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, House of Chanel founder. The brand’s iconic style includes garments, perfumes, and accessories. Through the Wertheimer family, Chanel has shed the legacy of its troubled past and transformed into a billion-dollar brand.
The Dumas family – $49 billion
Moving on to our next fashion house, the nearly 200-year-old Hermes brand has launched the Dumas family. Thierry Hermes designed clothing for the equestrian aristocracy. Likewise, his descendants are designing for today’s elite, with the Hermes brand beloved among celebrities. Hermes continues to transform fashion with its billion-dollar brand of clothing and accessories.
Van Damme, De Spoelberch and De Mevius Families – $54 billion
The Van Damme, De Spoelberch, and De Mevius families control a sprawling international alcohol empire with humble beginnings. Over 500 years ago, these Belgian families perfected brewing techniques that gave rise to the iconic ales associated with the region. As the brand grew, they acquired Artois and American company Anheuser-Busch. Today, sales from Anheuser-Busch InBev drive the company’s revenue to over $50 billion.
The Boehringer, Von Baumbach Families – $52 billion
While private citizens not associated with the family brand, the Boehringer and Von Baumbach families control the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. For over 100 years, they have led the biotech industry, designing everything from HIV drugs to cancer therapeutics. The Boehringer and Von Baumbach families are worth over $50 billion.
Mukesh and Anil Ambani – $56 billion
This Indian family has seen a meteoric rise in wealth. Self-made billionaire Anil Ambani is the youngest founder listed, having started his company in 2006 from Reliance Commercial Corp. Today, his company Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is a financial, defense, and media conglomerate. Anil, father Mukesh, and wife Shloka Ambani control the largest fortune in South Asia.
Cargill, MacMillan Families – $42 billion
Though their names are less known, the Cargill and MacMillan families are two of the world’s wealthiest. As descendants of the founder of Cargill, Inc, they control one of the largest American commodities companies. Members like Muffy MacMillan have become famous for their philanthropy.