14 from Michigan make Forbes' billionaires list

Posted on March 6, 2012

Fourteen Michiganders have made the Forbes list of worldwide billionaires released Wednesday, including newcomer Manoj Bhargava of Farmington Hills, the creator of the 5-hour Energy shots.

The 58-year-old Princeton University dropout ranked 960th on the list of 1,226 wealthiest people on the planet, with $1.3 billion. This India native moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was 14, but moved to Michigan in 1997 to be closer to his wife’s family. Bhargava is a philanthropist, too; he’s helping to build a trio of hospitals in his homeland.

Another relatively new face on the list is Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans. The 50-year-old Franklin resident is No. 854 with $1.5 billion. He’s known locally as a downtown Detroit booster and nationally as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team.

The Michigan resident worth the most is Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, 86, of Holland. His $5 billion put him 205th on the list. DeVos, who established the Ada-based direct-sales company with Jay Van Andel, owns the Orlando Magic basketball team and is also known as the father of Dick DeVos, who ran as Michigan Republicans’ candidate for governor in 2006, but lost to incumbent Democrat Jennifer Granholm.

The medical-technology company, Stryker of Kalamazoo, contributed three local residents to the list: No. 491 Ronda Stryker, 57, of Portage, with $2.5 billion, and tied for No. 1,015 with $1.2 billion each, John Brown, 77, of Portage, and Jon Stryker, 53, of Kalamazoo. Both Strykers are grandchildren of the founder, who invented mobile hospital beds, though only Ronda Stryker sits on the company board; Brown is the former president and CEO, now serving as chairman emeritus.

Also tied for the 1,015th spot is William Clay Ford Sr., Henry Ford’s last surviving grandchild. The 87-year-old who lives in Grosse Pointe Shores served on Ford’s board of directors for close to six decades; he owns the Detroit Lions NFL team and is the father of Bill Ford.

The Forbes ranking of the wealthiest people also includes all the usual names, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates in second place with $61 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett in third place with $44 billion. The richest person on earth? Mexican telecommunications titan Carlos Slim Helu, who’s worth $69 billion.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Forbes’ billionaires list. According to the magazine, that first year, 140 people were on this list, while this time around there are 1,226, an all-time high. Their combined worth is $4.6 trillion.

More Details: Michigan billionaires

With worldwide ranking, name, city, wealth, age and source of wealth.

205. Richard DeVos, Holland, $5 billion, 86, Amway

216. Hank and Doug Meijer, Grand Rapids, $4.9 billion, retail

491. Ronda Stryker, Portage, $2.5 billion, 57, Stryker

491. Alfred Taubman, Bloomfield Hills, $2.5 billion, 88, real estate

521. Michael & Marian Ilitch, Bingham Farms, $2.4 billion, 82, pizza

854. Dan Gilbert, Franklin, $1.5 billion, 50, Quicken Loans

854. Manuel Moroun & family, Grosse Pointe Shores, $1.5 billion, 84, transportation

960. Manoj Bhargava, Farmington Hills, $1.3 billion, 58, 5-hour Energy

1015. John Brown, Portage, $1.2 billion, 77. Stryker

1015. William Clay Ford Sr., Grosse Pointe Shores, $1.2 billion, 87, Ford

1015. Jon Stryker, Kalamazoo, $1.2 billion, 53, Stryker

1075. Roger Penske, Birmingham, $1.1 billion, 75, cars

By Zlati Meyer, Detroit Free Press