5 Billionaires Who Made Their Fortunes Outside of Banking

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO, Jamie Dimon recently hit the billionaire mark, according to Bloomberg's Index, but he's the only current banking CEO on the list. Moral: It gets lonely at the top.

Dimon's solo status indicates that despite public criticism about overpaid bankers, executives at the very top of the profession aren't as well compensated as some of their non-finance peers, according to Bloomberg. Warren Buffett takes the top spot in the information company's finance category at No. 3, and the next financier to appear on the list is hedge fund giant George Soros at No. 24. Meanwhile, the tech world has snagged six of the spots between the two men.

Buffett and Soros, of course, aren't bankers in the traditional sense. In fact, outside of Dimon's mentor, Sandy Weill, former CEO of Citigroup (C), there are no other true "banking" chiefs on Bloomberg's list. 

"There is a strong belief among legislators, regulators and the press that bank managers should not make very much money," Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove wrote in his 2013 book, Guardians of Prosperity: Why America Needs Big Banks. "In fact, relative to other people in other industries, they do not. The combined income of the CEOs of the nation's four largest banks in 2011 was less than the combined income of the four infielders of the New York Yankees. (Bank CEOs: $63.3 million; Yankee infielders: $79.9 million.)"

While Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs (GS), John Stumpf of Wells Fargo (WFC) and James Gorman of Morgan Stanley (MS) all make the AFL-CIO's list of the highest-paid CEOS in 2014, they're closer to the bottom than the top. The best paid of all the executives on the list was David Zaslav of Discovery Communications, whose compensation totaled $156 million.

Following is a look at the top billionaires by industry, based on Bloomberg's ranking, which calculates net worth daily based on holdings in publicly traded companies:

Leonard Lauder

Bloomberg Rank: 116
Estimated Net Worth: $11 billion
Role: Chairman Emeritus, Estee Lauder (EL)
Industry: Manufacturing
Background: Estee Lauder is the world's second-largest cosmetics manufacturer, with revenue of $11 billion in 2014. Lauder joined the business founded by his mother, a Queens, N.Y., native, in 1958, when it had annual sales of $800,000, according to its website. He became president in 1972, according to Bloomberg. In addition to the Estee Lauder brand, the company owns Clinique, Bobbi Brown, M.A.C. and Aveda. Lauder is known for his philanthropy: He donated his collection of Cubist art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2014 and his first wife, Evelyn, was a co-creator of the pink ribbon symbol for breast cancer awareness, according to Bloomberg. Four years after her death in 2011, Lauder remarried: He and Judy Glickman, a philanthropist and photographer, were wed in January.

Phil Knight

Bloomberg Rank: 31
Estimated Net Worth: $23 billion
Role: Chairman, Nike (NKE)
Industry: Apparel
Background: Phil Knight was a college track athlete turned accountant turned shoe salesman, according to Bloomberg. He co-founded the company that would become Nike in 1964 with his track coach, Bill Bowerman, according to Bloomberg. The company started by selling sneakers at weekend track meets in and around Oregon. Knight went into the shoe business full time in 1968, and served as president for about 36 years, albeit not consecutively, according to Nike's website. The company bought the swoosh logo from a design student in 1971 and renamed itself Nike in 1972.

David and Charles Koch 


Bloomberg Rank: 6 and 5
Estimated Net Worth: $50.3 billion each
Role: David Koch, board member; Charles Koch, Chairman and CEO; Koch Industries
Industry: Diversified
Background: Koch Industries is the second-largest closely held business in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. It was founded by the brothers' father, Fred Koch, who developed an improved method for converting heavy oil to gas in 1927, according to the company's website. Its investments today are primarily in oil, commodities trading, ranching, and paper pulp. Charles and David each hold a 42% stake in the business. Two other brothers, Bill and Frederick, were bought out for $1.1 billion each in 1983 following years of infighting.

 

Warren Buffett


Bloomberg Rank: 3
Estimated Net Worth: $70.2 billion
Role: Chairman & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)
Industry: Finance
Background: Berkshire Hathaway is an Omaha, Neb.-based conglomerate that owns or has interests in a diverse portfolio of companies from Geico to Netjets, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo and Heinz. Buffett became the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway in 1970. He is considered a true value investor and only takes positions in companies he finds easily understandable. That is, perhaps, why Berkshire Hathaway famously avoided the tech bubble of the late '90s. Buffett has pledged to donate most of his fortune by his death and has encouraged other billionaires to do the same.

Bill Gates

Bloomberg Rank: 1
Estimated Net Worth: $85.5 billion
Role: Former Chairman and CEO, Microsoft (MSFT)
Industry: Technology
Background: Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft is the world's largest software maker and also offers consumer electronics and personal computers. Much of Gates' wealth comes from Cascade Investment, which was funded with the proceeds of his sale of Microsoft stock, according to Bloomberg. Gates is famously philanthropic: In 2000, he founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which tackles problems such as extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries as well as education-system flaws in the U.S., according to its website. He and Warren Buffett struck up a friendship and have encouraged other billionaires to donate some of their fortunes.

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