At the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999, Bill Gates became the first person worth $100 billion–a record that remained untouched until 2017, when it was matched by Jeff Bezos, who just three years later became the first to cross the $200 billion mark, in August 2020. By the end of 2021, the $100 billion club had started to lose its air of exclusivity, ballooning to 10 members, none of them richer than Elon Musk, who was worth an estimated $272 billion–$72 billion more than runner-up Bernard Arnault of French Luxury conglomerate LVMH.
Today the Frenchman sits atop that club, which has shrunk in size to seven. Musk, meanwhile, has claimed another title of his own: the first person ever to lose more than $100 billion in a single calendar year. Musk ended 2022 worth an estimated $147 billion–a record $125 billion drop from the end of 2021, as shares of Tesla fell by 65%–almost all of that since Musk announced his $44 billion Twitter takeover in mid-April. His fortune was down another $10 billion on Tuesday to $137 billion, $183 billion less than his $320 billion peak in November 2021.
“It’s been a year of chaos that’s self-inflicted [due to] the Twitter disaster,” says Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.
But Musk wasn’t alone in having a terrible year.
In a year of unprecedented wealth destruction, four other billionaires fell by record sums as tech stocks tanked. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos lost $85 billion in 2022, as shares of his e-commerce giant fell by 50%-17 percentage points worse than the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Meta Platforms’ (formerly Facebook) Mark Zuckerberg dropped $77 billion, as shares of his social media company tumbled by 64%. And Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, meanwhile, each slipped by nearly $45 billion apiece, as shares of the company now known as Alphabet sank by 39%.
The Biggest Losers Of 2022