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#529 Curt Johnson III $3.91B

Random fact: In 1998, siblings retraced grandfather's flight to Brazil six decades before.


Johnson is a shareholder of SC Johnson & Son, the maker of household products for home cleaning, storage personal care and insect control. The Racine, Wisconsin-based company had revenue of $10 billion in 2016. The fifth-generation heir shares control of the business with family, including his three siblings and their mother.

As of Dec. 16, 2017:
Last change +$22.4M (+0.6%)
YTD change +$550M (+16.4%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset SC Johnson
Citizenship United States
Age 55
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Curt Johnson III's net worth of $3.91B 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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Johnson's fortune is derived from a 12 percent stake in SC Johnson & Son, a maker of household goods. Equal stakes are attributed to his siblings Helen, H. Fisk and Winnie, and their widowed mother Imogene. The company had revenue of $10 billion in 2016, according to its sustainability report.

Their grandfather, Herbert Fisk Johnson, inherited a 60 percent stake in the company in 1928. The valuation attributes that fortune to Imogene and her children with the late Samuel Curtis Johnson. Company filings by the family's Johnson Outdoors, Johnson Bank and Diversey units list Samuel Curtis' descendants as shareholding family members, with no mention of descendants of his late sister Karen Johnson Boyd.

SC Johnson is valued based on the average enterprise value-to-Ebitda and enterprise value-to-sales multiples of four publicly traded peer companies: Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Clorox and 3M.

Michelle Johnson, a spokesperson for SC Johnson, didn't comment on the billionaire's net worth calculation following November 2017 requests.


Family: Unmarried, No children
Education: 1983, MBA, Northwestern University 1977, Bachelor's Degree, Economics, Cornell University

Founded in 1886 by Samuel Curtis Johnson, the family company blossomed as Johnson Wax early in the 20th century. Its rise came into public view in 1939, when the company hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design its headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, a building best known for its open interior spaces and the golf-tee-like columns that held up the floors above.

The company's early products were waxes and enamels, but in 1954, 26-year-old Sam Johnson, then head of product development, emerged from a company lab with the formula for Raid House and Garden Bug Killer, the first water-based insecticide that could be used safely on plants. Within a decade, it was one of the company's best-selling products, according to an Aug. 22, 1999 New York Times article.

Within a few years, the labs developed Pledge furniture polish and then Edge, the first gel-based shaving cream. Publicly, the company declared that innovation was its hallmark; privately, the mantra was that each Johnson heir would make a major contribution.

When Herbert Fisk Johnson Sr. died suddenly in 1928, he left no will. A struggle ensued for control of the Johnson empire, pitting brother against sister. Eventually, a 60-40 split gave control to Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. After his father had a stroke in 1968, Sam Johnson, by then the company's president and chairman, took a year off to reflect. When he returned, he outlined a plan to begin setting up trusts for his children and grandchildren.

He diversified the company in the 1970's, buying makers of outdoor recreation equipment to form what has become Johnson Outdoors, the publicly traded company that Helen Johnson-Leipold now heads, and starting the Johnson Bank, which is now one of the largest banks in Wisconsin.

All four children and their parents went to Cornell, where the business school is called the Johnson Graduate School of Management. H. Fisk was the only sibling trained specifically to work at SC Johnson, though the other siblings later discovered their interest in the family enterprise. Fisk studied chemsitry and earned an MBA and then a PhD in applied physics at Cornell before joining the company in 1987.

Siblings Curt and Helen had come back to the company by 1990. Curt assumed the industrial side, consumer brandes like floor-care products, food sanitation systems and polymers. Helen, a tennis player and diver, got the recreational business. Fisk took the core consumer business.

  • 1886 Samuel C. Johnson purchases a flooring business in Racine, Wisconsin.
  • 1914 SC Johnson establishes its first international company, in Britain.
  • 1935 H.F. Johnson Jr. leads expedition to Brazil in search wax-producing palm trees.
  • 1939 SC Johnson opens Frank Lloyd Wright-designed headquarters
  • 1956 Company begins launch of Raid, Glade and Off! brands.
  • 1976 Family publishes its book of principles, This We Believe.
  • 1998 Grandchildren of HF Johnson retrace his steps on 1935 Brazil flight.
  • 2004 Samuel Curtis Johnson Jr., husband of Imogene Powers, dies.