Meet The Richest Person in the World's Happiest Place
Ernesto Bertarelli has every reason to be happy. His $15.8 billion fortune makes him the richest person in Switzerland, the world's happiest place, according to a new survey. The World Happiness Report 2015 names the alpine nation of 8 million people as the happiest country in the world, followed by Iceland, Denmark, and Norway.
Seven of the top-10 happiest countries on earth are in northern Europe, while the other three are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Bertarelli's fortune is the 54th biggest in world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Italian born, Bertarelli, his family, and their pharmaceutical company Serono moved to Geneva in the 1970s. By 1996, Ernesto was running the company and by 2006 had sold his family's 64.5 percent stake to Merck for $8.6 billion. These days he has about 80 percent of the family wealth in cash investments, according to the index, and acts as chairman of Geneva-based Waypoint Capital.
He's best known for his yachting exploits. In 2003, his racing team, Alinghi, was the first European squad to win the America's Cup. The billionaire is married to Kirsty Bertarelli, a former singer and Miss U.K. winner who wrote her hit song Black Coffee as a love song to her husband.
He's the only one of Switzerland's three people on the Bloomberg list of the the world's 200 richest people to increase his fortune in 2015. Denmark has one person in the ranking, Kjeld Kristiansen. His $7.8 billion fortune, derived mostly from the Lego Group, has risen $1.4 billion in 2015. Iceland and Norway have no billionaires among the 200 richest. The U.S., which has 67 people among the world's 200 richest who control $1.3 trillion between them, is ranked as the 15th happiest nation, just below Mexico and one spot above Brazil.
Research for the post is derived from Bloomberg Billionaires Index data.