Elon Musk, the South Africa-born American CEO of electric car company, Tesla, has become the world’s richest man. Musk overtook Jeff Bezos, Amazon CE
Elon Musk, the South Africa-born American CEO of electric car company, Tesla, has become the world’s richest man.
Musk overtook Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, on Thursday, following a 4.8 percent surge in Tesla’s share price.
The 49-year-old had his net worth rise $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York, $1.5 billion more than Bezos, who has held the top spot since October 2017, according to Bloomberg Billionaire index.
About an hour later, Musk’s wealth climbed to $190 billion, following a surge in Tesla’s share price to $802 per share from only $92 a year ago.
For the first seven days of 2021, Musk has gained about $11.4 billion to leave both Gates and Bezos in the second and third positions.
This marks an unlikely turnaround for Musk. Just 18 months ago, Tesla’s stock appeared to have bottomed out on the heels of legal and regulatory fears, as well as concerns about Musk’s leadership.
Musk famously tweeted he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private in August 2018, which kicked off a slew of regulatory battles and plunged Musk’s status as CEO into question.
By 2019 Tesla faced concerns over demand, mounting losses and a shortage of cash — and its stock dropped to a near-term low around June 2019.
Musk owns about 20% of Tesla, according to a February 2020 stock exchange filing. The company’s market cap is about $758 billion.
He is also the CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, a rocket manufacturer employed by NASA to resupply the space station.
The company is worth almost $50 billion and Musk holds more than half of its shares.
Musk‘s success hasn’t been limited to earth. In May he oversaw the successful launch of a pair of NASA astronauts into space with his other company, the aerospace outfit SpaceX. They returned safely two months later.
It was a landmark achievement for the company that aimed to show rockets could be deployed and reused, demonstrating the viability of a new era of space travel with the ultimate goal of flying humans to Mars.
As Musk and Bezos race to the $200 billion-mark, Bill Gates, the world’s richest man for almost 20 years, sits at a distant third with $132 billion.
In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Musk overtook Gates to become the second richest man in the world.