OK, running a family business should be all about stewardship, and just like the famous Patek Philippe ad campaign, owners of companies don’t actually own them, they merely look after them for the next generation. But along the way, some spend just a little bit more on living extravagantly before they pass it on to the next generation. After all, most of them have made even more money for their businesses by being great entrepreneurs. Why not splash out a little from time to time? Here are five of them – all great business individuals, but partial to a bit of extravagance from time to time.
Mukesh has two claims to fame. The most prominent are his ownership and management of one of India’s biggest companies, Reliance Industries, which was set up by his father in 1960. And the second is his huge residence in Mumbai named Antilia. Reputed to be the tallest single-residence house in the world and worth around $1 billion, Mukesh’s big bit of extravagance certainly created a stir when it opened in 2010. Antilia is 21 stories high with around 400,000 square feet of living space. Apparently, it’s the family’s only home, and he and his wife are much less extravagant when it comes to eating and drinking – both are vegetarian and teetotalers.
OK, Lapo isn’t the one running the family business – that’s his older brother, John – but Lapo is arguably from Italy’s most famous family business dynasty, the Agnellis, and has a claim on the huge business empire that includes the car company Fiat. Some say Lapo has courted an image of the enfant terrible of the family and his episode with a transexual prostitute in 2005 kind of confirmed that view. But that imagine maybe deceptive – in the 12 years since the prostitute scandal, Lapo’s entrepreneurial instincts have kicked in and he has launched a sunglass company, which is now listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, and an advertising business. But Lapo has never lost his love of extravagance, particularly when it comes to his attire, perhaps best represented by his often-worn Ferrari red double-breasted suit pictured above.
The so-called “Screw King”, Reinhold, who hates being called that name, is one of Germany’s most famous businessmen – and high profile spender. After taking over his father’s small screw business, Reinhold went about creating a hugely successful wholesale construction materials business called the Würth Group. Last year, the group made revenues of more than €11 billion, and Reinhold is estimated by Forbes to be worth around the same amount. An extraordinary successful entrepreneur, Reinhold has also been partial to the occasional trappings of vast wealth, including buying a $100 million super yacht some years back and has also built up a collection of private jets, all of which he can fly with his pilot’s licence. He also has one of the biggest privately-held art collections in the world, which comprises more than 15,000 pieces, many of them on public display.
What can one say about arguably the world’s most famous businessman turned president of the US? His love of gold bling has been well documented from his apartment in Trump Tower in New York City to his palatial estate in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, often referred to as the “Southern White House”. Trump, who inherited his father’s real estate business and built it up to be one of America’s best-known property groups, once owned one of country’s most expensive houses, Maison de L’Amitie in Florida. He sold it for $95 million in 2008 to a Russian oligarch, who is in the process of demolishing it.