Every parent wants to be able to help their child. In some cases, this means coming up with the down payment on a car, and in others, it means co-signing an apartment lease. Then there are times when it means offering them a controlling stake in a major US corporation.
The fortunes passed down from billionaire parents to their children have allowed businesses to continue under well-known family names long after the principals are gone. Those fortunes have also provided them the resources to get a new venture off the ground.
Whether they’re passing down a longstanding empire to the next generation or providing the backing for a new investment, the wealth that billionaire parents have handed down has created opportunities that otherwise might not exist.
Click ahead to see who some of these billionaires are, and how their children are using their resources.
By Daniel Bukszpan, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 8 Feb 2011
Bernard Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH. The French luxury goods conglomerate, better known as Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is the largest such organization in the world, and Dom Perignon, Donna Karan and TAG Heuer are just a few of its brands.
After Arnault’s daughter, Delphine, graduated from the London School of Economics and completed her tenure at the McKinsey & Company management consulting firm, he invited her to join LVMH. She did so in 2000 at the age of 28, becoming the only woman to sit on its board.
Delphine Arnault has since taken on a life of her own in the French press, who refer to her as “The Wolf in a Cashmere Coat.” However Alessandro Vallarino Gancia, heir to Italy’s Gancia wine-making company, wasn’t intimidated by the media caricatures, and he married her in 2005. The ceremony was attended by designer Karl Lagerfeld, former French first lady Bernadette Chirac and current French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
If you don’t know who Ralph Lauren is, then you’re not much of a fashionista. Born Ralph Liftshitz in the Bronx, Lauren is a world-famous clothing designer who entered the business in 1967 as the owner of a necktie store. He sold his own designs there under the name “Polo,” and thirty years later, Polo Ralph Lauren was a publicly traded company that took in over $5 billion in revenue according to SEC filings.
The designer and his wife of over 45 years had three children, Andrew, David and Dylan. Andrew is a producer of low-budget films and documentaries. David works at Polo Ralph Lauren as Senior Vice President of Advertising, Marketing and Corporate Communications. And daughter Dylan founded Dylan's Candy Bar, a chain of candy stores that she claims was inspired by seeing "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" at the age of five.
When the Soviet Union fell, Vassily Anisimov was quick to realize the potential of capitalism. While many of his fellow Russians were still struggling with the new economic realities, he invested in aluminum plants, the Rossiyskiy Kredit bank and Metalloinvest, one of the largest mining companies in Russia, and Anisimov ultimately became one of the richest men in his country.
Anisimov also started a real estate company, Coalco, and gave his daughter Anna a job there. With the opportunity given to her by her father, she discovered her calling. She showed a talent for real estate wheeling and dealing, famously orchestrating a $23 million deal for Diane Von Furstenberg's New York headquarters in 2005. That’s an impressive haul, and she’s going to need every penny of it after buying her apartment in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center for $15 million.
Mike Bloomberg is the mayor of New York City and one of the richest people in the United States. He founded Bloomberg L.P., a financial data, media, and software company that, according to The New York Times, has an estimated revenue of almost $7 billion. Two of the primary beneficiaries of this massive wealth are his daughters, Emma and Georgina. Emma has worked alongside her father, helping to implement the 311 phone number system which consolidated the city’s thousands of agencies under a single, three-digit number.
Bloomberg used his considerable fortune to support his youngest daughter Georgina’s love of horseback riding. Today, she is a professional equestrian who’s considered one of the best in her field, but the pursuit is not without its risks. In 2002 she broke her back at the Hampton Classic, and in 2010 she suffered a concussion at a Syracuse riding show. However, days later, she announced to the New York Daily News that the accident would change nothing. "I'm going to get all better and go right back."
Media tycoon William Randolph Hearst made his fortune at the turn of the 20th century by founding newspapers all over the United States, and he became so powerful and so influential that the main character in "Citizen Kane", Charles Foster Kane, was based on him.
His family fortune sometimes made them a target, as his granddaughter Patty Hearst found out when she was kidnapped in 1974 by a militant leftist organization, the Symbionese Liberation Army. However, her sister, Anna Hearst, has led a life much more consistent with that of a socialite.
Anna’s daughter Amanda benefited from her family’s wealth. She attended the prestigious Choate boarding school in Connecticut, and she has had a successful career as a model, appearing in advertisements for Ralph Lauren and on the cover of Cosmopolitan. She was quoted in Harper's Bazaar as requiring a yearly “maintenance cost” of over $130,000, although she now claims that the quote was taken out of context.
The nationwide Hilton Hotels chain was founded in 1919 by Conrad Hilton. His grandson, Rick Hilton, is chairman and co-founder of Hilton & Hyland, a Beverly Hills real estate firm that caters only to people who can afford the most extravagant properties in the 90210 zip code. When he met Kathy Avanzino, it was love at first sight, and the two married in 1979. Over thirty years later, they’re still going strong, and they have raised two sons and two daughters.
One of their daughters, Nicky, has launched clothing lines and walked the runway in Australian fashion shows. Their other daughter is Paris, and you may have heard of her. She gained national attention when she starred in The Simple Life on Fox in 2003 with fellow socialite Nicole Richie, but her ambitions didn’t stop at TV. She also wrote an autobiography in 2004, starred in the horror movie remake House of Wax in 2005 and released her debut album, Paris, in 2006.
Hong Kong native Stanley Ho has held a monopoly on the gambling industry in the Chinese region of Macau for four decades, earning the nickname “The King of Gambling” and making him one of the wealthiest men in Asia. It’s a good thing too, because he’s fathered 17 children, and all those diapers get expensive after a while. His daughter, Pansy, works with her family.
Pansy Ho is the managing director of Shun Tak Holdings Limited, a public company whose multiple businesses include TurboJET, which operates the ferry between Hong Kong and Macau 24 hours a day. She was also instrumental in helping her sister Pansy establish a singing career. Josie Ho is a popular Hong Kong actress, with multiple roles on television and appearances in over 40 films.
Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman and CEO of steelmaking company ArcelorMittal, has two children, both of whom have gone into the family business. His son, Aditya, is Chief Financial Officer, and when the company was simply known as Mittal Steel, he orchestrated the $38 billion takeover of Arcelor, its biggest European rival. He was all of 30 years old at the time.
Daughter Vanisha sits on ArcelorMittal’s board of directors. Her 2004 Paris wedding ceremony lasted a full week and cost $60 million, probably making it the most expensive wedding in history. Fotunately, Lakshmi Mittal was named the richest man in Europe in 2009 by Fortune magazine, so he had no problem footing the bill.
Donald Trump may be a celebrity thanks to the television show “The Apprentice,” but his real estate enterprise is what made him a billionaire. “The Donald” has five children, and while 17-year-old Tiffany and 4-year-old Barron are unlikely to have plotted a career path just yet, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric have all taken positions alongside dad within The Trump Organization.
Donald Jr., holds the position of Executive Vice President within the company, and also serves as ambassador for Operation Smile, a charitable organization that fixes cleft palates for children in developing nations. Eric also serves as Executive Vice President in the Trump Organization, as does sister Ivanka. However, Ivanka is the most well known of all of Trump’s children, thanks to her work as a runway model and her appearances by dad’s side on “The Apprentice.”
Fayez Sarofim is an Egyptian-born fund manager who has been living in Texas for over 50 years. He was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1997, and his net worth is estimated to be between $2 billion and $4 billion. He is the father of five children, including his daughter Allison, who lives in a West Village townhouse purchased from supermodel Linda Evangelista.
Allison Sarofim has also had a diverse career as an actress, an art collector and a restaurant owner. She appeared in "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Nanny Diaries", studied at the Institute of Culinary Education and opened her own restaurant, Vandam. She also sits on the acquisitions committee of the Guggenheim Museum and the director’s council of the Whitney Museum.