Brazilian billionaires: Jorge Lemann leads the national list

Businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann heads the list Brazilian billionaires according to Forbes magazine. He is followed by Marcel Hermann Teles and Eduardo Saverin – co-founder of Facebook. Among the individual billionaires on the list, André Esteves, one of the bankers in charge of BTG Pactual (BPAC11), Alexandre Hering and Luciano Hang, owner of the Havan chain of stores, stand out.

However, according to the publication, financial difficulties, such as the drop in IPOs this year, along with the drop in the market value of some now former billionaires, have prevailed and reduced the number of billionaires on the national scene to just seven names. With that, 26 names left this club.

Lemann has a fortune estimated at 13.7 billion dollars, while Marcel Hermann Telles would have about 9.5 billion dollars. The winner’s podium of the three biggest Brazilian billionaires is closed by Eduardo Saverin with $9.4 billion.

Brazilian billionaires: among the ten names, six have personal wealth

Among the ten largest fortunes in the country, six are from individual capital accumulations. Along with the first three, there are also André Esteves, with 5.7 billion US dollars; Alexandre Behring, with USD 5.7 billion; and Luciano Hang, with US$4.7 billion.

Among family fortunes, the largest is that of Carlos Alberto Sicupira and his family, who have 7.8 billion US dollars; the Safra brothers have $7.6 billion; Lúcia Maggi – the richest woman in the country – and her family have $6.8 billion; followed by Jorge Moll and family with 6 billion dollars.

The global list, which includes names from abroad, is led by South African businessman Elon Musk, owner of Tesla (TSLA34), with a fortune estimated at $219 billion. Lemann, the richest man in Brazil, is ranked 133rd internationally.

Lemann, Sicupera and Behring: revolutionizing the market

Lemann, Sicupira and Behring have a common success story. For years, the trio headed Banco Garantia, which was founded by Lemann in the early 1970s, using North American Goldman Sachs as a business model. But in 1981, the trio joined in the purchase of Lojas Americanas, a deal considered bold at the time and marked their entry into retail.

Modeled after the North American Walmart, Lojas Americanas were very successful during the 80s and 90s, and the advent of e-commerce forced a change in the model. Nevertheless, it was born from B2W, the electronic retail giant, owner of Americanas.com and also the online store Submarino.

Who are the billionaires?

Learn more about the stories of Brazilian billionaires:

Jorge Paulo Lehmann

Jorge Paulo Lemann was born in Rio de Janeiro on August 26, 1939, in a Swiss family. His father moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he founded the dairy factory Leco, short for Lemann & Company. His mother, Anna Yvette, was the daughter of a Swiss couple.

Growing up without much luxury, despite being from a wealthy family, Lemann has always been dedicated to sports and studies. He became a surfer, where he learned a great lesson, but he excelled most in tennis.

At the age of seven, at the Country Club in Rio, he started playing more sports. Always very competitive, he won several championships, becoming the Brazilian youth champion.

Surfing Lemann had his first apprenticeship. Entering the sea with his friends on a high tide day, he narrowly escaped being swallowed up by a much larger wave than he was used to.

He took the event as a lesson, saying that it is important to take risks, but only when you are ready for it. “In my lifetime, I’ve remembered more about the Copacabana wave than what I learned in college.”

He finished high school at the American School in Rio de Janeiro, thanks to his fluent English and his cousin’s influence, at the age of 17 he graduated in economics from Harvard in 1961.

Marcel Herrmann Telles

Marcel Heman Telles, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1950, graduated in economics from the Federal University of Rio (UFRJ) and began his career at Banco Garantia in 1972, where he would meet his future partners Lemann and Behring.

Years later, in 1989, it bought Brahma, which was later merged with Antarctica, creating Ambev (ABEV3). In 2004, the company, the owner of national brands, merged with Interbrew to create InBev, which today is considered the largest brewery in the world.

In the 2000s, InBev took a bold step by announcing the purchase of the traditional American brand Budweiser, and it also owns other titles such as Mexico’s Corona. Telles also owns stakes in other major global brands such as Burger King ( BKBR3 ) and Kraft Heinz, owner of the Heinz sauce and condiment brand.

Eduardo Saverin

Saverin was born in São Paulo in 1982, but he has not lived in Brazil for almost 30 years. At the age of 10, he moved to Miami, together with his parents and brothers (Alexandre and Michele).

His father, businessman Roberto Saverin, had a pharmaceutical export company. The family has always been entrepreneurial. In the 1950s, Saverin’s grandfather, a Romanian Jew, founded a children’s clothing factory, Tip Top Têxtil, in Brazil. The brand was sold to another family in the 80s.

In 2001, Saverin began studying economics at Harvard. It was there, at one of the best universities in the world, that he took his first steps towards becoming a billionaire and there he met Mark Zuckerberg, one of the most famous names in world technology.

Mark and Saverin met in a student fraternity at Harvard. Zuckerberg was one of those “programming geniuses”, and the Brazilian was good at finance – he was the president of the Harvard Investment Association, a club dedicated to teaching students how to invest.

In February 2004, in their mid-20s, in their college dorm, two friends started the website Thefacebook. The social network only worked on campus and was limited to students.

It was a hit with students, and the next month the platform expanded to Stanford, Columbia and Yale.

Safra brothers

The Safra family can be considered one of the most enterprising in the country. Joseph Safra, who died in 2020, founded a bank named after his family. He, Moise and Edmond ran businesses with (and after) their father.

Edmond Safra was in charge of the family’s international operations. He died in 1999 in Monaco, tragically, killed by one of his nurses.

With the death of his brother, Moise and Joseph began a dispute over the family inheritance. The disagreement prompted Joseph Safra, who ran the business in Brazil, to open a new bank. It was a competitor that served the same customer profile.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the two reached an agreement and Moise agreed to sell his share. Eight years later he died.

Andre Esteves

Raised by his mother and grandmother, André Esteves had one goal in life when he started college: to find a job. “It was a terrible economic environment,” he recalled during the event in Fiespo. “Having a job was the most important thing, that was what everyone wanted. The venture was a delusion at the time.”

He said he had many interests, but due to the financial difficulties facing his family, he had to be very practical: enroll in a state college and take a course that would be a passport to a job application.

“I was a good student and loved a lot. But I took mathematics because I had a job. I had to enroll in a college that didn’t have to be paid, but it had to be good,” he added.

He then began studying mathematics with an emphasis on computer science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Informatics was considered a promising field at the time.

Esteves started working at his own college, but knew he had to expand his horizons. Until, reading the newspaper, he discovered that an investment bank was recruiting young talent. “I had no idea what an investment bank was, but I put on my best clothes and went.”

At the age of 37, he already had a personal net worth of US$1 billion and was the global head of fixed income at UBS Pactual. He held the position for another two years.

Then he left and together with nine minority partners started BTG Investments from scratch. Already in 2008, at the height of the global crisis, Nova banka stood out for its results.

Lucia Maggi

Businesswoman Lucia Borges Maggi is the richest woman in Brazil. In 1977, she became famous when she and her husband (André) founded the company Sementes Maggi (one of the main soybean exporters in the world), the name that preceded the current business, André Maggi Group (AMaggi), in the city of São Paulo.Miguel do Iguaçu (Paraná).

In 2001, after André’s death, she took over the majority of the company’s shares and experienced a major expansion of the business, extending its activities to other modalities, such as the commercialization of agricultural inputs, logistics systems and power generation.

In connection with her business activities, Lucia currently works as a consultant in the Management Board of AMaggi. She is the mother of Blair Maggi, former governor of Mato Grosso and former minister of agriculture in the government of Michel Temer.

Alexander Behring

A graduate in electronic engineering from PUC in Rio, Behring began interning at Citigroup while still in college. In the bank, he worked with internal information networks.

In 1988, when he was only 22 years old, he became a partner in Modus OSI Tecnologias, a company that provided services to banks.

Five years later, he sold his stake in the business and went on to study for an MBA at Harvard Business School. He was among the best in the class. From there, he went to practice at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, where meritocracy and a culture of competition prevail.

Behring’s trajectory is directly related to the management style of the trio of Lemann, Telles and Sicupira. Together they created the world’s largest brewery, AB Inbev. The three always defended that the best talents should be rewarded and promoted to bigger challenges.

This is what happened to Behring, who also, along with the bosses, became a partner in 3G capital, an investment company that invests part of its capital in companies in the United States.

Luciano Hang

Until 2016, Hang, the owner of the Havan shopping chain, was an unknown entrepreneur from Santa Catarina on the national scene. His stores, with architecture inspired by the White House and a replica of the Statue of Liberty, were already attracting attention, but he kept a low profile.

The businessman from Brusque (SC) turned evil when he became an ally of then-presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in 2018. In September 2019, Hang debuted on Forbes magazine’s list of billionaires.

Luciano Hang’s entrepreneurial spirit has followed him since he was a child. He says that at the age of nine he realized that the lack of a canteen at school could be an opportunity.

He started buying candies and biscuits from stores to resell to students.

Afterwards, he worked as a salesman in the company Tecidos Carlos Renaux from Brusque, which collapsed in 2013.

In 1986, at the age of 24, he opened his own store for the wholesale sale of fabrics. The facility was 45 square meters, and was opened in cooperation with his friend Vanderlei. The name of the shop came from the combination of the names of the partners.

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