Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#113 George Kaiser $12.0B

Random fact: Purchased minority stake in Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.

Overview

Kaiser owns Kaiser-Francis Oil, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company with working interests in 4,400 wells. He also owns two pipeline systems and 61 percent of publicly traded BOK Financial, which owns retail banks in eight U.S. states. His venture capital arm, Argonaut, invests in companies ranging from clean energy to laser printing.

As of July 22, 2017:
Last change -$46.6M (-0.4%)
YTD change -$1.20B (-9.1%)
Industry Energy
Biggest asset BOKF US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 73
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

George Kaiser's net worth of $12.0B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Most of Kaiser's fortune is derived from oil and gas assets including closely held Kaiser-Francis Oil. He's the company's sole owner, based on legal disclosures. Kaiser-Francis releases no information regarding its size or operations. The valuation is based on 2015 production data compiled by energy research firm IHS Herold and published in the Oil and Gas Financial Journal. Production is valued against average 2015 prices as published by the Energy Information Agency and compared with four public peer companies.

Kaiser also owns Argonaut Capital. There are two Argonauts: one investing charitable assets for the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the other for-profit, said Kaiser's spokesman Renzi Stone in 2013. The for-profit arm has total assets of $3.5 billion, based on biographies of two managing directors posted online in 2016. This figure corresponds with past Argonaut marketing disclosures and charity tax returns of 2010 and 2011 that indicated about half of its $6 billion in assets were legally in the charity.

Kaiser owns all of LNG importer Excelerate Energy. It's valued at $100 million, based on the purchase of publicly traded RWE's 50 percent stake in 2013, under German disclosure requirements that indicate a price should be disclosed if it was above $50 million. RWE didn't report a sales price; RWE spokesman Michael Murphy declined to comment. Most of Excelerate's assets are owned by Kaiser's charity and publicly traded Exmar NV.

Pipelines Texas Southwest and Senex are valued using fees disclosed in a 2010 lawsuit and volume for both reported to regulators through 2013, and compared with a dozen industry peers. Due to lack of available information about the pipelines since 2013, a 30 percent discount was applied in October 2016.

Kaiser declined to comment through spokesman Stone.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/15/1943
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1966, Harvard Business School, MBA 1964, Harvard College, Bachelor's Degree

George Kaiser built his fortune through Kaiser-Francis Oil, an oil and gas exploration company his father created after fleeing Nazi Germany. Kaiser took the reins of the business in 1969, after earning an undergraduate degree and an MBA from Harvard University. The closely held company produces oil and gas through more than 4,400 wells in Oklahoma, according to a 2010 lawsuit deposition in which a Kaiser-Francis employee stated the figure.

In 1991, Kaiser purchased Bank of Oklahoma convertible stock owned by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. At the time, the 20-location bank held $1.6 billion in assets. Kaiser expanded the bank into eight other Midwestern and Southwestern states, growing deposits to more than $21 billion. Today, he is the chairman and majority shareholder of BOK Financial. His charitable organization, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, owns another 4 percent of the banking outfit.

In 2003, with natural gas supply predicted to be inadequate in the U.S., Kaiser formed Excelerate Energy, an liquified natural gas (LNG) import company that owns floating import and regasification terminals off of the coasts of Boston, Argentina, Kuwait, the U.K., and elsewhere. It also operates LNG shipping services. He sold half of Excelerate for $500 million to publicly traded German company RWE AG in 2008. He bought that half back in 2013 for a price less than $50 million, based on RWE disclosures.

Using the profits from Kaiser-Francis and BOK, Kaiser founded Argonaut Ventures, a venture capital arm that has a variety of investments, including a tanker company, the Bombay Stock Exchange, laser printer technology firm Memjet and failed solar outfit Solyndra. About half of Argonaut's total assets are held by Kaiser's charity. The billionaire directed more than $3 billion into his foundation between 2003 to 2013, according to IRS filings.

Kaiser lives in Tulsa and San Francisco with his wife. They have three children.

Milestones
  • 1943 George B. Kaiser is born.
  • 1966 Receives an MBA from Harvard University.
  • 1969 Assumes control of the family business, Kaiser-Francis Oil.
  • 2003 Creates LNG import and transport company Excelerate Energy.
  • 2008 Sells half of Excelerate Energy to RWE for $500 million.
  • 2010 Foundation loses about $700 million in Solyndra bankruptcy.
  • 2010 Joins Giving Pledge, promises to donate most of wealth to charity.
  • 2013 Buys back half of Excelerate Energy from RWE for undisclosed amount.