Pakistani-American man features in Forbes richest list

Published September 10, 2020
Shahid Khan, the only Pakistani on the list, is an engineer by trade. — AP/File
Shahid Khan, the only Pakistani on the list, is an engineer by trade. — AP/File

WASHINGTON: A Pakistani-American, Shahid Khan, has emerged as the 66th richest man in the United States in 2020, with a total worth of $7.8 billion.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is number one for the third year in a row, followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates at number two.

The Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, published on Tuesday, estimates Bezos’ total worth in 2020 as $179bn. Gates has about $111bn and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has $85bn. He is the third on the list.

The year’s biggest gainer, in percentage terms, is Tesla founder Elon Musk, who is an astounding 242 per cent richer than he was on last year’s ranking.

Shahid immigrated to the US at age 16 with $500

Tesla’s stock rose 520 per cent by the time Forbes took a final measure of net worth on July 24 — helping add $48.1bn to Musk’s net worth since last year’s list.

Musk was the 23rd wealthiest person in America on the 2019 ranking, worth $19.9bn; this year he’s up to number 7, worth $68bn.

Shahid Khan, the only Pakistani on the list, is an engineer by trade. He immigrated to the US at age 16 with $500 and a plane ticket. In 1980, he bought auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate from his former employer.

His design for a one-piece truck bumper was the basis for his success; the company now has 64 plants worldwide and over 24,000 employees. Khan made his first billion at Flex-N-Gate.

In 2019, Khan launched All Elite Wrestling with his son; it aired its first weekly show in October 2019 and inked a four-year contract extension with WarnerMedia in January 2020.

Khan also owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, which he bought in 2012, and UK’s Fulham football club, which he bought in 2013. He is a major financial backer of Black News Channel, a 24-hour cable news channel, which launched in February 2020.

US President Donald Trump is now the 275th richest person in America — that’s 16 spots lower than in 2019 and 119 places lower than where he was before he became president.

Forbes notes that Trump’s branding businesses are in steep decline. Real estate developers are no longer signing up to put the Trump name on their properties.

Forbes estimates that Trump’s real estate licensing business, which is further limited by his pledge not to do foreign deals while in office, is worth about $80 million today, down from $170m a year ago.

Forbes notes that even the Covid-19 pandemic could not prevent America’s 400 richest from making more money in 2020. They are now 8 per cent wealthier than last year, with a record collective net worth of $3.2 trillion.

They added $240bn to their coffers in this pandemic year, “aided by a stock market that has defied the virus”, Forbes notes.

Still, 25 billionaires who were on the 2019 list fell below this year’s $2.1bn threshold, two more than last year.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2020

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