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Sir James Dyson Just Became Britain’s Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500M

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 17 May 2020 11:39
Sir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MSir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MPA Images

Sir James Dyson has become the richest person in Britain, despite losing £500 million of his own cash in the last year.

The entrepreneur, who is famed for inventing the first bagless vacuum cleaner, has replaced Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja at the top of the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time ever.

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Dyson, who was born in 1947, lost £500 million of his own money in a discontinued electric car project, but still managed to increase his wealth by £3.6 billion over the past year. That takes his total net worth to an eye-watering £16.2 billion.

Sir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MSir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MPA Images

The 73-year-old studied art at college, until his headteacher suggested he should go into design. In 1974, he designed a wheelbarrow using a spherical wheel, making it easier to manoeuvre – and it was this that led him to designing the product he is best known for.

Dyson got his idea when he saw an industrial extractor and imagined he would be able to downsize it for home use. It took 10 years in the making, and at one stage the inventor owed nearly £1 million to his bank, before the vacuum eventually made it to market in 1993.

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As we all know today, the Dyson was a huge success and quickly became Britain’s best-selling vacuum cleaner, earning Sir Dyson an awful lot of money.

Sir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MSir James Dyson Just Became Britain's Wealthiest Person Despite Losing £500MPA Images

While Dyson has made an incredible sum of money through his vacuums, his business hasn’t always been plain sailing, and a scrapped electric car venture recently lost him £500 million of his own money.

He told the Sunday Times:

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Ours is a life of risk and of failure. We try things and they fail. Life isn’t easy.

His changed status among the UK’s wealthiest men and women comes as a total of £54 billion has been wiped from their collective fortunes given the current economic struggles.

List compiler Robert Watts said:

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008-9, Britain’s wealthiest people have become richer and richer. Covid-19 has called time on their golden period.

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The Rich List is made up of an estimate of the minimum wealth of the 1,000 richest people or families in the UK. However, this year’s list slightly differs to that of 2019, because it contains a record number of females.

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For the first time ever, 25 females were featured in the list, with Kirsten Rausing – of the Swedish family behind TetraPak – taking the top spot as wealthiest female, with her £12.1 billion fortune.

The list also includes businesswoman Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, who owns a 25% stake in brewing giant Heineken, worth an estimated £10.3 billion, Denise Coates, the founder and CEO of online gambling company Bet365, thought to be worth £7.2 billion and Hollywood star Salma Hayek, alongside her husband François-Henri Pinault. As the CEO of Kering, Pinault oversees luxury brands such as Gucci, with the couple sharing a £6.6 billion fortune.

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The list is based on identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies. It does not include the amount contained in people’s bank accounts – but let’s face it, there’s probably a lot in there, too.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Rich List

Credits

Sunday Times
  1. Sunday Times

    The Rich List 2020