Celebrity Then And Now
Charles Koch
Name: Charles Koch
Birthdate: November 1, 1935
Famous Years: 2006-Present
Currently Known For: 8th Richest Person in the World
Networth: $60 BillionFamous For: Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries
Charles Koch
Name Charles Koch
Birthdate November 1, 1935
Famous Years 2006-Present
Currently Known For 8th Richest Person in the World
Networth $60 Billion
Famous For Chairman and CEO of Koch Industries

Over the past decade or so, a pair of brothers have been in the news as being among the richest and most influential in the world. These are the Koch brothers, which includes older brother Charles Koch, who has been involved with energy and farming equipment that has included oil refining over the years. Now, the company has expanded to increase Koch’s net worth tremendously.

Koch was born on November 1, 1935 in Wichita, Kansas, and continues to live there to this day. Koch’s father had been a chemical engineer that founded the Koch Industries company that the brothers would eventually take over, which meant that Charles Koch’s family had quite a lot of money while he was growing up. Because of this, Koch was able to get into the best schools in Wichita, and after finishing high school would head to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his Bachelor’s in General Engineering. He then stuck around for his graduate degree, earning a Masters’ in Nuclear Engineering.

With two degrees in hand, he went back to Kansas to go to work for his father, when the company was then known as Rock Island, and focused only on oil refining. Koch said that when he was as young as six years old, his father would have him spending summers working physical labor in extreme heat. “He was tough,” Koch said of his father. “He said, ‘I don’t want my sons to be country club bums, so I’m going to make them work.’”

In 1967, Koch’s father would pass away at the age of 67, leaving Charles as the head of the company, renaming it to Koch Industries. The company wouldn’t be a massive one at first, but over the years has proven to be one of the most profitable companies in the world.

Koch would be described as a workaholic when he first took over the company, often working more than 80 hours per week, and believed that many of those that were working at the company should be doing the same. Koch’s hard work had paid off throughout the years, as revenues have hit records many different times, with the latest revenue reports saying that the company was pulling in more than $115 billion per year.

As one of the largest privately held companies in the world, Koch Industries deals in a lot of different ventures right now that includes everything from asphalt to fertilizer, as well as paper and ranching. Koch, when he first took over for his father, was not the largest stockholder in the company, as the business was split between he and his three brothers. In 1983, Koch and his brother would become the largest shareholders at 42 percent each, after spending more than $1 billion to buy out their other two brothers. The 42 percent mark is the same stake that Charles Koch owns today, and he’s been adamant that the company will never go public.

Some of the subsidiaries that Koch has acquired over the years include Georgia-Pacific, Lycra, Quilted Northern, INVISTA and many more. It’s been a large expanse for Koch Industries, which is now estimated to have 120,000 employees.

While Koch has been one of the most influential businessmen in the world, the reason he’s made headlines for the most part has been from his political views. Koch has donated more money to charities than most anyone that you’ll find, but the political donations have drawn the most attention. Koch has been affiliated with multiple political parties, and has given money to various ventures that have been on both sides of the political aisle.

Recently, Koch has been very critical of President Donald Trump, saying that “We should just get rid of all barriers...We should let all goods in,” while referring to Chinese trade, adding that “So, they subsidize it? Yeah, it’s unfair, it’s unfair to their people. If they’re selling goods to us at low cost, you go to Walmart, they’re going to discount it - oh, we can’t do that, that’d be unfair to us? It’s ridiculous.” While Koch has identified most recently as a Republican, he’s also shared many Libertarian views throughout his career.

Koch mostly ignores criticism as the 83 year old is more focused on running his company. “I try to build on our management philosophy,” he says of his work these days. “I try to make sure that we’re driving innovation and creative destruction hard enough so we’re not blindsided...rather than how we maximize profit, because you can make money focusing on, ‘How do I maximize profit?’ To make a quick buck, but over time, if you’re not creating value for others, customers, society, isn’t going to let you be around.”

In 2018, it was estimated that Koch retained his spot as the eighth richest person in the world, being tied with his brother David in the position with an estimated net worth of $60 billion. His net worth has increased tremendously on a yearly basis over the past few years, as it was estimated he was worth $48.3 billion a year prior. Just a few years ago, Koch was estimated to be worth around $40 billion, showing that Koch Industries has really taken off lately. He’s appeared on the list of the 10 richest people in the world every year since 2013, and is now the fifth richest American, and figures to stay on the list in the near future.