The Forbes 400: Michigan’s 8 Wealthiest Billionaires Ranked
MICHIGAN — Together, Michigan’s eight richest billionaires and billionaire families are worth $34 billion — a fraction of the fortune of America’s wealthiest individual, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose net worth is $81 billion in the 2016 ranking of The Forbes 400.
All are self-made titans of business, and several claimed rankings on the Forbes 400 – Self Made list. Ronda Stryster, Michigan’s fifth-wealthiest billionaire, ranked No. 16 on the Forbes 400 list of America’s wealthiest women. The list also includes newcomer William Young, founder of Plastipak, a plastic containers maker.
Here are the eight Michigan billionaires, ranked according to their wealth:
1.Supermarket titans Hank and Doug Meijer, of Grand Rapids, again topped the Michigan list with a net worth $6.7 billion. The self-made billionaires ranked 70th nationally, down from No. 58 on the 2015 list. Earlier this year, the Meijer brothers ranked 139th on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world. The grocery company was founded as North Side Grocery by the brothers father, Frederik, and grandfather, Hendrik, a Dutch immigrant. The brothers took control of the empire in 1990 when Frederik stepped down. Hank is the CEO and both brothers are co-chairmen.
2. Another self-made couple, Michael and Marian Ilitch, and their family ranked 86th on the list of America’s richest people, up from the No. 88 spot in 2015. The Bingham Farms couple, whose net worth is $5.8 billion, built the Little Caesar’s Pizza empire, and also have interests in the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. Michael Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers, a team he once played for, and Marian owns the MotorCity Casino. They Illitches are also No. 57 on the Forbes 400 – Self-Made list, and were ranked 298th on the list of the richest billionaires in the world earlier this year.
3. Closely behind the Illitches are Richard DeVos and his family, who made their fortune — their net worth is $5.5 billion — after he co-founded the direct-selling giant Amway. DeVos, of Holland, slipped a few spots from No. 84 on the 2015 list. The family ranks No. 58 on the Forbes 400 – Self-Made list. DeVos made his first sale, which was worth a few pennies, during the Great Depression as he drove through his Grand Rapids neighborhood with his grandfather in a Model T Ford.
4. Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, 54, of Franklin, moved up to No. 120 on The Forbes 400 from No. 149 last year. His net worth is $4.7 billion, and he is heavily invested in Detroit, where he has acquired nearly 100 properties since 2011, including $600 million purchase of the Greektown Casino and Hotel. No. 75 on the Forbes 400 – Self Made list, he founded his mortgage company with money earned delivering pizzas in college. He ranked No. 286 among the world’s wealthiest billionaires earlier this year.
5. Ronda Stryker, 62, of Portage, is worth $4.1 billion. She ranks 134th on The Forbes 400 list, up from No. 159 in 2015. Stryker, whose family made their fortune in medical equipment, also ranks No. 16 on the Forbes 400 – Women. She ranked 435th on the list of the world’s richest billionaires earlier this year. Stryker is a board member of Stryker Corp., founded in 1946 by her grandfather, Homer Stryker, the inventor of the modern hospital bed. Last year, the company sold $9.9 billion in medical devices, equipment and software. The former teacher and her husband, William Johnston, gave $100 million to Western Michigan University in 2014 to build a medical school named for her grandfather
6. John Brown, who ranked N. 274 on the list with a net worth of $2.5 billion, is also affiliated with the Stryker Corp. Brown, of Portage, ranked 307th on the list, and is No. 175 on the Forbes 400 – Self-Made list. Earlier this year, he was ranked the 854th richest billionaire in the world. Brown, who graduated from Auburn University and led the surgical instruments division at Bristol-Myers Squibb, joined Stryker Corp. after the death of Lee Stryker, the son of founder Homer Stryker, in a 1976 plane crash. He led the company’s expansion from hospital beds to include surgical instruments and other products, in part through acquisitions.
7. Jon Stryker, whose net worth is $2.3 billion, was ranked No. 309, up from No. 327 in 2015. The 58-year-old Kalamazoo man was ranked No. 959 on the 2016 list of the world’s richest billionaires. Stryker, along with sisters Ronda and Pat, inherited their family’s stake in Stryker Corp. after Lee Stryker’s death. Jon Stryker is the founder of the Arcus Foundation,, which supports human rights groups, conservation efforts, and gay and lesbian groups.
8. William Young, 75, of Ypsilanti, ranked 335th on the list with a net worth of $2.1 billion. The founder of Plastipak, a plastic containers maker, Young was ranked No. 14 on the Forbes 400 – Newcomers List, and No. 221 on the Forbes – Self Made list. Young founded Pastipak with his father, then sold it after six years to Beatrice Foods for an undisclosed amount. The family kept a share of the business and Young stayed on as a regional dIrector. He and his father later bought back the division, and a division of Goldman Sachs picked up a minority stake in 2012. Young is still CEO of Plastipak, which makes products for companies such as Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and Kraft Foods.
Buffett Bumped from No. 2
Read more about the list, click here. Together, the business luminaries have a record-breaking net worth of $2.4 trillion, up from $2.34 trillion in 2015. The list ranks the top 10 richest Americans — behind Gates, who topped the list for the 23rd consecutive year, is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (No. 2), who with a net worth of $67 is the highest-gainer on the list. His fortune shot up $20 million from 2015 after Amazon stock shares surged 56 percent.
Bezos bumped Warren Buffett from the No. 2 spot. Now at No. 3, he’s getting richer; his $65.5 million fortune is up $3.5 billion from 2015. Also among the top tier of billionaires are No. 4 Mark Zuckerberg, worth $55.5 billion, who made it into the top fice for the first time; and No. 5 Larry Ellison, worth $49.3 billion, up $1.8 billion from last year; Ellison drops from the number 3 rank for the first time since 2007.
Some other highlights:
Success of Immigrants
The theme of the 2016 Forbes 400 package is the success of immigrants and the thriving American dream. There are a record number of Forbes 400 list members born outside the U.S., and that’s a positive trend in terms of entrepreneurship and job growth. The number of immigrants on The Forbes 400 has more than doubled since 1986; this year 42 slots (including three married couples) on The Forbes 400 list are occupied by naturalized citizens who immigrated to America. That represents 10.5% of the list, a significant number, considering that naturalized citizens make up only 6% of the U.S. population. Forbes 400 members came from 21 different nations, led by Israel (6), India (5), Hungary (4) and Taiwan (4).
Tracking The Donald
Donald Trump fell 35 spots to No. 156 this year. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, is worth $3.7 billion, down $800 million from last year, largely due to a decrease in New York real estate prices and new information about his holdings.Forbes presents an asset-by-asset breakdown of his empire. Forbes has been tracking Trump’s fortune since the debut of The Forbes 400 in 1982. His fortune is real, though by no means approaching the $10 billion that Trump continues to maintain he is worth, Forbes said.
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