Uber, Google Tech Trailblazers Join Ranks of Canada's 10 Richest

Tech Trailblazers Join Ranks of Canada’s 10 Richest
  • W.G. Galen Weston, worth $8.4 billion, is nation's richest
  • Thomsons, Pattison slide as wealth shrinks with weaker loonie

New money is nipping at the heels of old money in the ranks of Canada’s richest people.

Uber Technologies Inc. co-founder Garrett Camp and early Google Inc. investor David Cheriton joined the top 10 Canadians in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for the first time this year while wealth among the country’s established families largely shrank along with the country’s currency.

Garrett Camp
Garrett Camp
Photographer: Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic via Getty Images

Camp, who was born in Calgary, made it into Canada’s top 10 ranking after a July financing round valued Uber, the ride-share company, at $50 billion. The 37 year old, who is Uber’s chairman, is ranked eighth, with his wealth rising more than $900 million from the end of 2014 to $5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of Dec. 16. Camp didn’t respond to a request for comment left with the San Francisco-based company.

Cheriton, 64, a Stanford University professor who was an early investor in Google and co-founder of technology company Arista Networks Inc., cracked Canada’s top 10 richest list for the first time to land in seventh spot, according to Bloomberg data. Cheriton, who was born in Vancouver, is worth $5.1 billion, up $2.4 billion this year for the biggest gain of any Canadian. Shares of his primary asset -- Google parent Alphabet Inc. -- surged 43 percent as of Friday for a market value of more than $520 billion.

Galen Weston
Galen Weston
Photographer: Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

W. G. Galen Weston, 75, who helped build grocery chain Loblaw Cos. into Canada’s largest food retailer, kept his title as Canada’s richest person in 2015 despite a dwindling fortune in U.S. dollar terms. Weston, who is also part-owner of upscale U.K. department stores Selfridges & Co. and Fortnum & Mason Plc, had a net worth of $8.4 billion, according to the index. That’s down from $9.7 billion at the end of 2014 as the Canadian dollar slumped about 17 percent against the U.S. dollar amid a global commodity rout. Messages left for Weston through George Weston Ltd. and Loblaw weren’t returned.  

Refinery Boost

Atlantic Canada’s oil magnate Arthur L. Irving managed to increase his wealth this year. The operator of Canada’s largest refinery and more than 950 gas stations in Eastern Canada and New England, benefited as the cost of crude, the raw material for his businesses, slid. He is the nation’s second-richest man in Canada with a $6.5 billion fortune, after adding $1.4 billion to his net worth this year, up from sixth spot at the end of 2014. Messages left with Irving through Irving Oil Ltd. weren’t returned.

Sherry Brydson is Canada’s wealthiest woman, with a net worth of $6.5 billion. The cousin of David Thomson and part owner of the Thomson family’s investment company Woodbridge Co., held fourth spot in 2014. Brydson is the wealthiest member of the Thomson clan that owns the majority of Thomson Reuters Corp., a competitor to Bloomberg LP. Bloomberg was first to report how the press-shy extended family divides up ownership. The Thomson family declined to comment through a Woodbridge spokesman.

Thomson Drops

British Columbia billionaire James Pattison dropped to fourth spot from second last year after being overtaken by Weston in 2014. Pattison’s net wealth shrank to $5.6 billion from $7.8 billion mainly due to his 44 percent stake in forest products company Canfor Corp., whose stock is down 30 percent this year. Pattison said he’s never considered himself among Canada’s richest.

“We’re in the business of trying to mind our own business," Pattison, 87, said in a Dec. 14 telephone interview from Vancouver.

The closely held Jim Pattison Group Inc. has 41,000 employees worldwide and C$9.1 billion ($6.5 billion) in sales for 2015, said Pattison. His Vancouver-based conglomerate has more than a dozen businesses including media distribution, grocery stores, outdoor advertising, auto dealerships, Ripley Entertainment Inc. and Guinness World Records.

Thomson, 58, dropped two spots to 10th after his net worth slipped to $4.2 billion, just behind Jeffrey Skoll, the first full-time employee at EBay Inc. who now produces movies. He moved up one position to ninth spot with his $4.3 billion fortune. Emanuele Saputo, chairman of Saputo Inc., Canada’s largest cheesemaker, no longer ranks among Canada’s 10 wealthiest after his fortune slid to $3.8 billion. Saputo, 78, was seventh at the end of 2014. A phone message with Saputo, whose shares are down about 7 percent this year, wasn’t returned.

Thirteen Canadians rank among the world’s 400 richest people, with a combined net worth of $68.5 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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