TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Since 1987, Forbes has ranked the world’s billionaires. Seven people on this year’s billionaire rankings live in the Tampa Bay area.
Before it ranked billionaires, the business magazine published its Forbes 400 – a list of the richest residents of the United States. The first Forbes 400, published in 1982, included 13 billionaires, according to historical reporting by Forbes. In this year’s billionaire list, Forbes says there are 2,668 members, who are worth $12.7 trillion together.
The business publication reported that of the more than 2,600 on the list, 1,000 had gained more wealth since 2021. The magazine reported 236 newcomers had become billionaires and ascended the wealth ranks, while 34 members from Russia dropped off the list, and 87 fell out of China’s group.
All said, America has the largest number of billionaires on the list. There are 735 list members from the U.S., which Forbes reports are collectively worth $4.7 trillion.
Here are the seven members living in Tampa Bay who, together, are worth $21.2 billion:
Forbes reports Ronald Wanek is worth $5.5 billion and is ranked No. 480 on their billionaires list.
His main source of income is in furniture manufacturing. He is the owner of Ashley Furniture, and lives in St. Petersburg. He currently serves as the Ashley Furniture industries chairman.
According to Forbes, Todd Wanek, the son of Ronald Wanek, is worth a reported $3.4 billion and ranked No. 883 in the billionaire rankings.
Like his father, Todd Wanek lives in St. Petersburg and owes his fortune to the furniture manufacturing industry. He has served as the CEO of Ashley Furniture since 2002.
Todd Christopher is worth $3 billion and ranked No. 1,012 on the Forbes billionaire list.
His money comes from the Fashion and Retail industry, specifically in hair care products. Christopher is known for formerly owning the company Vogue International. In 2016, Vogue was sold to Johnson & Johnson.
He lives in Clearwater.
Eddie DeBartolo Jr.
Eddie DeBartolo Jr. is the chairman and CEO of DeBartolo Holdings in Tampa. Forbes reports DeBartolo Jr. is worth $2.7 billion and ranked No. 1,163 in their list of billionaires.
DeBartolo formerly owned the San Francisco 49ers, and is known for developing multiple shopping malls through a company started by his father Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. His sister Denise DeBartolo York currently owns the 49ers.
Forbes reports Kenneth Feld, of Palmetto, is ranked No. 1,374 on their billionaire list with a worth of $2.3 billion. Feld is known for his ownership of Feld Entertainment, the company that operated Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus until its closure in 2017, as well as Disney companies Disney on Ice and Disney on Ice, among other ventures.
Feld Entertainment is currently based in Ellenton, part of Manatee County. He has been CEO of the company since 1984, succeeding his father, Irvin.
Thomas James, ranked No. 1,445 on the Forbes billionaire list, is worth a reported $2.3 billion. Known for a fortune built through Raymond James Financial, a company started by his father Robert in 1962, Thomas led the company until 2017.
Educated at Harvard and Stetson universities and the holder of multiple degrees, Thomas James is also known for having an extensive art collection, part of which is displayed at the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in St. Pete.
The last Tampa Bay resident on the Forbes billionaire list is Robert Duggan, ranked at No. 1,513. Duggan, worth $2 billion, is described by Forbes as a “serial entrepreneur” who has been involved in biotech and pharmaceuticals for several years.
He currently lives in Clearwater, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.