THE CHANGING FORTUNES OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST
esla’s C-suite rebrand didn’t enthuse investors this week, as the volatile electric carmaker’s shares sunk and the stock market rally took a pause. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO and newly self-anointed “technoking,” saw his net worth sink $8 billion as Tesla shares fell 5.6%. Musk remains the second-richest person in the world, with a $162.4 billion fortune, behind Jeff Bezos (who is worth $180.6 billion).
It was a lackluster week for markets. The S&P 500 inched up to a record high at Wednesday’s close, but fell Thursday and finished the week down 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen laid out a plan to become the world’s top electric vehicle maker by 2025, threatening Tesla’s supremacy. The German automaker’s shares surged 15% this week as analysts and investors alike feel optimistic that it could mount a legitimate challenge. That helped drive Tesla stock down 6.9% on Thursday, outpacing the S&P 500 index’s 1.5% drop. Shares were flat on Friday.
Musk wasn’t the only billionaire to fare poorly this week. Across the Pacific Ocean, Pinduoduo founder Colin Zheng Huang told investors he is stepping down as chairman at just 41 years old to work on personal research in life sciences. His departure dampened enthusiasm for Pinduoduo, which overtook Alibaba in annual active buyers in 2020 to become China’s largest e-commerce company.
Pinduoduo shares plunged 12% after Wednesday’s news, shaving $6.8 billion off Huang’s fortune. But he still has $50 billion to take into his life’s next chapter, with shares up 300% over the past year.
Pinduoduo founder Colin Zheng Huang announced Wednesday he’s stepping down as chairman, and his net worth tumbled.
Several other billionaires felt the effects of the stagnant market. Dan Gilbert, the founder of online mortgage lender Rocket Companies—whose fortune crashed $25 billion in a single day on March 3—continued to slide. He lost $3.6 billion to close the week with a net worth of $48.1 billion, as Rocket Companies stock fell another 7.8%. Warren Buffett, whose fortune briefly eclipsed $100 billion for the first time last week, slipped away from that threshold. He lost $3 billion this week, as Berkshire Hathaway’s stock fell 3%, and is now worth $96.3 billion.
The net worth change is from close of markets Friday, March 12 to Friday, March 19.
I’m a reporter on Forbes’ wealth team covering billionaires and their fortunes. I was previously an assistant editor reporting on money and markets for Forbes, and I