Elon Musk Is No Longer the World’s Richest Person, Falls Behind Bernard Arnault | Kanebridge News
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Elon Musk Is No Longer the World’s Richest Person, Falls Behind Bernard Arnault

Tesla CEO trails the European mogul on the wealth rankings amid a slump in the car maker’s shares

By JOSEPH DE AVILA
Thu, Dec 15, 2022 8:00amGrey Clock 3 min

Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person.

Mr. Musk, the Tesla Inc. chief executive and new owner of Twitter Inc., gave up the unofficial title Tuesday to European mogul Bernard Arnault for Earth’s wealthiest individual, according to Bloomberg, which publishes a ranking of the richest people in the world. A prolonged slump in Tesla’s stock has wiped out more than $100 billion of Mr. Musk’s net worth this year.

The net worth of Mr. Musk, who claimed bragging rights as the wealthiest person in January 2021, is valued at $163.1 billion as of Tuesday morning, according to Bloomberg. He now trails Mr. Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, whose personal wealth is estimated at $170.6 billion.

Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. An LVMH spokesman declined to comment.

When Mr. Musk first reached the pinnacle of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index almost two years ago, he overtook Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, driven by a meteoric rise in the value of Tesla. The car maker’s shares have fallen sharply this year, though, amid concerns about demand. Mr. Bezos has also fallen in the wealth ranks and is now the fifth-richest person, largely reflecting a drop in Amazon’s stock amid recession fears. Mr. Bezos has said he plans to give away most of his fortune to charity.

For many executives and founders, their net worth is at least partially tied up in shares of their businesses. That means volatility in stocks and other holdings can sway their measures of wealth. Establishing their exact net worth can also be tricky, in part because many of their holdings are private.

Mr. Musk is compensated in stock awards as Tesla’s CEO and doesn’t accept a cash salary from the electric-car company. He has accumulated most of his wealth in recent years as Tesla has turned profitable.

Photos: Elon Musk Buys Twitter. Here’s How He Made His Fortune

In January 2020, Mr. Musk’s net worth was valued at about $28 billion, according to Bloomberg. As Tesla’s stock soared, so did Mr. Musk’s wealth, which peaked at $336 billion in November 2021. He has lost more on paper this year than any other billionaire, according to Bloomberg.

Mr. Musk, a serial entrepreneur, runs rocket company SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. He also founded Boring Co., an underground tunnel business, and neuroscience startup Neuralink Corp. In October, Mr. Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion. He has sold some Tesla stock this year at least in part to fund the Twitter deal, including selling $4 billion worth of shares last month.

It has been a rocky period for Twitter since Mr. Musk took ownership. He fired about half the staff, and the social-media company has seen waves of people leaving. It suffered “a massive drop in revenue” and was losing $4 million a day, he said soon after buying the business. Mr. Musk has said he aimed to make Twitter less dependent on advertising revenue that accounted for about 90% of sales, though efforts to introduce a paid subscription service have suffered repeated delays. He later said bankruptcy is a possibility for Twitter.

Mr. Arnault’s wealth, meanwhile, is largely tied up in the luxury empire LVMH.

A businessman from Northern France, Mr. Arnault bought the storied French fashion house Dior out of bankruptcy in the 1980s and then used it to amass a stake in LVMH. This shareholding structure remains in place today: the Arnaults own more than 97% of Dior, which in turn owns 41% of LVMH. The family also owns close to 7% of LVMH directly, with total voting rights of well above 50%.

Like some of his peers, Mr. Arnault went on a spending spree over the past three decades, allowing him to build economies of scale in advertising, shop leases and department-store space between his dozens of brands.

Ultimately, Mr. Arnault came out on top in a bruising race to become the biggest in the industry, earning the nickname “the wolf in cashmere” for the way he pursued acquisitions. LVMH’s wines-and-spirits division houses Dom Pérignon champagne and Hennessy cognac. Its fashion and leather goods unit includes brands like Loewe, Celine and Fendi, while the conglomerate also owns American jeweller Tiffany & Co. and watchmaker TAG Heuer.

Having gone on a tear since 2015, the luxury industry also has held up better than most this year. LVMH reported strong revenue in the most recent quarter as wealthy consumers continued to spend freely on luxury goods despite the uncertain economic backdrop.

Indian industrialist Gautam Adani is currently the third-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg. Mr. Adani is the chairman of his namesake Adani Group, an India-based conglomerate involved in initiatives including green energy, power and gas distribution. His push into green energy comes as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed development for infrastructure and renewable energy. Shares of Mr. Adani’s publicly traded businesses have risen this year.

Mr. Adani is the first person from Asia who has ranked this high on Bloomberg’s wealth index, long dominated by U.S. tech entrepreneurs. Earlier this year he became a centibillionaire, with his net worth exceeding that of Warren Buffett.

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High-Earning Men Are Cutting Back on Their Working Hours

While most U.S. workers are putting in fewer hours, men in the top 10% of earners cut back their time on the job the most, according to a new study

By Courtney Vinopal
Fri, Jan 27, 2023 4 min

American workers have cut the number of hours they spend in their jobs since 2019, but no group has dialled back its time on the clock more than young, high-earning men whose jobs typically demand long hours.

The top-earning 10% of men in the U.S. labor market logged 77 fewer work hours in 2022, on average, than those in the same earnings group in 2019, according to a new study of federal data by the economics department at Washington University in St. Louis. That translates to 1.5 hours less time on the job each workweek, or a 3% reduction in hours. Over the same three-year period, the top-earning 10% of women cut back time at work by 29 hours, which translates to about half an hour less work each week, or a 1% reduction.

High-earning men in the 25-to-39 age range who could be described as “workaholics” were pulling back, often by choice, says Yongseok Shin, a professor of economics, who co-wrote the paper. Since this group already put in longer hours than the typical U.S. worker—and women at the highest income levels—these high earners had longer work days to trim, Dr. Shin says, and still worked more hours than the average.

The drop in working hours among high-earning men and women helps explain why the U.S. job market is even tighter than what would be expected given the current levels of unemployment and labour force participation, Dr. Shin says.

“These are the people who have that bargaining power,” Dr. Shin says of the leverage many workers have had over their employers in a tight job market. “They have the privilege to decide how many hours they want to work without worrying too much about their economic livelihood.”

The paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which isn’t yet peer reviewed, suggests high earners were more likely to benefit from flexible working arrangements, which could be a factor in reduced work hours.

Before the pandemic, Eli Albrecht, a lawyer in the Washington, D.C., area, says he worked between 80 to 90 hours a week. Now, he says he puts in 60 to 70 hours each week. That’s still more than most men in America, who averaged 40.5 hours a week in 2021, according to federal data.

Mr. Albrecht’s schedule changed when he shared Zoom school duties for two of his young children with his wife. He’s maintained the reduced hours because it’s making his relationship more equitable, he says, and gives him family time.

“I used to feel—and a lot of dads used to feel—that just by providing for the family financially, that was sufficient. And it’s just not,” Mr. Albrecht says.

The downshift documented by Dr. Shin and his colleagues occurred as many professionals have been reassessing their ambitions and the value of working long hours. Emboldened by a strong job market, millions of Americans quit their jobs in search of better hours and more flexibility.

Overall, U.S. employees worked 18 fewer hours a year, on average, in 2022 compared with 2019, with employed men putting in 28 fewer hours last year and employed women cutting their time by nine hours, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show. The average male worker put in 2,006 hours last year, while the average female worker logged 1,758 hours.

Separate data from the Census Bureau suggests that men with families, in particular, are working less. Between 2019 and 2021, married men devoted roughly 13 fewer minutes, on average, to work each day, according to the American Time Use Survey, which hasn’t yet published 2022 figures. They spent more time on socialising and relaxing, as well as household activities, according to men surveyed by the Census Bureau. The amount of time unmarried men spent on work changed little during that same period.

As high-earning workers in the U.S. cut back, low-wage workers increased their hours, according to Dr. Shin’s research. The bottom-earning 10% of working men logged 41 hours more in 2022, on average, than in 2019. Women in the lowest earning group boosted their hours worked by 52 last year compared with 2019.

While women work fewer hours than men, the unpaid labor they perform outside of their jobs has been well documented. Many working mothers take what’s termed a “second shift,” devoting more time outside work hours to child care and housework.

Maryann B. Zaki, a mother of three who has worked at several firms, including in big law, recently launched her own practice in Houston, giving her more control over her hours. She says she’s noticed more men in her field opting for reduced schedules, sometimes working 80% of the hours normally expected—which can range from 40 to more than 80 a week—in exchange for a 20% pay cut. For the average lawyer, that would amount to a salary reduction of tens of thousands of dollars each year; such arrangements were initially offered to aid working mothers.

Responding to new expectations of work-life balance may be particularly vexing for industries already facing staffing shortages, such as those in medicine. Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, the chief well-being officer for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said she often hears from early-career physicians and other medical professionals who want to work fewer hours to avoid burnout.

These medical workers are deciding that to be in it for the long haul requires a day every week or two to decompress, Dr. Dyrbye says. But as staff cut back their hours, it costs medical organisations money and may compromise access to care.

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