Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stands on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin, September 3, 2020.
Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images
Elon Musk just became the richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $185 billion.
Thursday’s increase in Tesla’s share price pushed Musk past Jeff Bezos, who had been the richest person since 2017 and is currently worth about $184 billion. Musk’s wealth surge over the past year marks the fastest rise to the top of the rich list in history — and is a dramatic financial turnaround for the famed entrepreneur who just 18 months ago was in the headlines for Tesla’s rapid cash burn and his personal leverage against the company’s stock.
Musk started 2020 worth about $27 billion, and was barely in the top 50 richest people.
Tesla’s rocketing share price — which has increased more than ninefold over the past year — along with his generous pay package have added more than $150 billion to his net worth.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s share price has remained more subdued due to the potential for increased regulation from Washington.
Elon Musk passed Warren Buffett in July to become the seventh-richest person. In November, Musk raced past Bill Gates to become the second-richest person. Musk has gained more wealth over the past 12 months than Bill Gates’ entire net worth of $132 billion.
Tesla’s shares were up more than 5% to nearly $800 in midday trading Thursday. The company’s market value has grown to more than $750 billion.
While the Bloomberg Billionaires Index had Musk within $3 billion of Bezos’ net worth on Wednesday, before Thursday’s trading, the Forbes Real Time Billionaires List still had Musk about $14 billion behind Bezos after the market close Wednesday. Forbes pegged Bezos’ net worth at $186 billion and Musk at $172 billion. Forbes, however, may not be including the value of Musk’s options, which he received as part of his pay package, to buy more than 33 million shares of Tesla.