Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#236 Charles Butt $6.69B

Random fact: Received the Aguila Azteca medal from Mexican government in 2001.


Butt is the chairman and chief executive officer of HEB Grocery, the 21st-largest retailer in the U.S. He controls 85 percent of the closely held, San Antonio, Texas-based business that operates more than 370 stores in the U.S. and Mexico under the H-E-B and Central Market formats. It had revenue of more than $23 billion in 2015.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change +$64.3M (+1.0%)
YTD change -$455M (-6.4%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset HEB Grocery
Citizenship United States
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Charles Butt's net worth of $6.69B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Butt's fortune is derived from HEB Grocery, which operates more than 370 stores in Texas and Mexico and has sales of more than $23 billion, according to a Nov. 2, 2015 press release from the company. HEB Grocery is the 21st-largest retailer in the U.S. according to the National Retail Federation's top 100 retailers list for 2015.

The Butt family is the primary owner of the business, according to the Nov. 2, 2015 release, which also stated that 55,000 employees would be eligible to receive 15 percent of its stock. The billionaire is credited with his family's 85 percent stake in the business because of his role as chairman and chief executive officer.

The company's valuation is based on the average enterprise value-to-sales, enterprise value-to-Ebitda and price-to-earnings multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: Ingles Markets, Kroger and Whole Foods.

Calls to HEB's public affairs office seeking comment on his net worth calculation weren't returned.


Birthdate: 2/3/1938
Family: Single, No children
Education: 1959, Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, Economics, Bachelor's Degree Harvard Business School, MBA

C.C. Butt Grocery Store was founded by Florence Butt in 1905, after her husband and company namesake became ill with tuberculosis. With $60, she bought assorted provisions and sold them from her front room. She turned the business over to her son, Howard, in the 1920s; her grandsons, Charles and Howard Jr., worked as bag boys. Howard Jr., after becoming a close friend of Christian evangelist Billy Graham, decided to step back from the business to become a preacher. He still acts as the company's vice chairman and administers the H.E. Butt Foundation, which sponsors church seminars.

After studying at the University of Pennsylvania and receiving an MBA from Harvard University, Charles became president of HEB Grocery in 1971. Among his ideas: creating concept stores aimed at specific communities. He took the H-E-B brand into Mexico in 1997 and, in 2001, received the country's highest honor for a foreign citizen -- the Aguila Azteca -- in recognition of his business and philanthropic activities there.

Butt is an advocate for public education in Texas. He has donated to both Republican and Democrat candidates, and gives to the Texas Parent PAC political group. Under his guidance, HEB supports the annual Excellence in Education awards for teachers. He also gave $20 million to help build a children's museum in his hometown of San Antonio. In 2006, he founded Raise Your Hand Texas, which funds teacher training and lobbies on education policy.

  • 1938 Charles Clarence Butt is born.
  • 1959 Graduates from the University of Pennsylvania.
  • 1971 Becomes president of HEB.
  • 1981 HEB opens its first superstore in Austin, Texas.
  • 1991 Father Howard E. Butt Sr. dies.
  • 1994 The first Central Market, a fresh foods megastore, opens in Austin.
  • 2001 Awarded the Aguila Azteca medal by the Mexican government.
  • 2006 Founds education advocacy group Raise Your Hand Texas.