24. Leonard Lauder – $17.4 billion
If the name Lauder tickles a memory at the back of your mind, it’s likely due to the cosmetics brand Estée Lauder which the family owns. The brand was created by Leonard Lauder’s mother, Estée, from whom the brand takes its name. He joined her already-successful company in 1958, and it has proliferated ever since. Estée Lauder focuses on manufacturing high-end makeup and skincare products and is the owner behind many famous brands, including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Aveda, Origins, and more. Any high-end skincare or makeup you own has a decent chance of being part of the Estée Lauder family, thanks to its vast and diverse holdings in the industry.
Due to his advanced age, Lauder no longer serves an active role in the company, has stepped down as CEO in 1999. However, he remains chairman emeritus and helps informally in a position the company calls “chief teaching officer” due to his extreme depth of knowledge after decades in the industry. Alongside his brother, Lauder has donated over $100 million to Alzheimer’s medication research, funding the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which has supported medical trials in at least 18 countries. He also gifted a vast Cubist art collection, estimated to be worth over $1 billion, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.