Bill Gates Reclaims Title Of World’s Richest

Image via Flickr/ Suzie Katz

After playing second-fiddle to Mexico’s Carlos Slim for the past five years, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is once again the world’s richest person. According to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Gates fortune is worth $72.7 billion—a 16-percent increase year-to-date.

But it wasn’t additional capital that put Gates back on top. Instead, he can attribute his rising net worth to Microsoft shares rising 28 percent so far this year. In fact, the stock closed at a five-year high May 16.

Meanwhile, former champ Carlos Slim of Mexico saw his shares in phone carrier America Movil fall 14 percent already this year, slashing about $3 billion from the telecom tycoon’s wealth. The sharp drop occurred after the Mexican congress determined Slim’s company held a monopoly on the country’s telecom industry and moved to break apart the firm.

Amazingly, Gates wealth continues to rise in spite of his donating $28 billion to charity. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, created 14 years ago, is one of the world’s wealthiest philanthropic groups. Together Gates and Warren Buffett—currently the world’s third-richest person—started “The Giving Pledge” in 2010, in which billionaires promise to donate half of their wealth to charity. Thus far 114 moguls have signed the pledge. Gates has said he eventually hopes to donate more than 95 percent of his wealth to charitable causes.