BMW heiress holds an MBA from IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. She sits on the supervisory board of chemical manufacturer Altana, of which she now controls over 95%, is seeking to acquire remaining shares and de-list the firm. Once considered quite circumspect, the married mom publicly admitted she had an affair with a man she'd met at a hotel bar and later tried to blackmail her for millions. She turned in the blackmailer, who is now serving a six-year prison term.
With her father she controls Fidelity Investments, America's largest mutual fund company, founded by her grandfather. She earned an MBA at Harvard and joined the family business in 1988. Abby got to run her first diversified fund at age 28. Now she runs personal and workplace investing division; believed by some to be her father's chosen successor.
Daughter of Cox Enterprises founder James M. Cox (d. 1957), who finished high school at 17 and worked as a schoolteacher and newspaper reporter before shelling out $26,000 for the Dayton Evening News in 1898. James Sr. later moved into politics. Today Cox Enterprises includes Cox Communications cable company, 17 daily newspapers, 15 TV stations, 86 radio stations, Manheim auctions (cars) and AutoTrader.com. Revenues: $15 billion.
Nonexecutive chair of the O.P. Jindal Group, a steel and power conglomerate founded by her late husband, Om Prakash Jindal, in 1952. Took over as group head after he died in a helicopter crash in 2005. In his lifetime the patriarch had handed down operations to their 4 sons, Prithviraj, Sajjan, Ratan and Naveen, who today run independent units. Savitri was re-elected in the assembly elections in Haryana, her home state.
She and her three children inherited packaging giant Tetra Laval after her husband Gad Rausing died in 2000. The firm revolutionized the storing of liquids, such as juices and milk, by developing lightweight packaging that preserves the nutritional value and taste of products. Birgit is retired in Switzerland. Leaving family business to her children, all three of whom sit on the board; Jorn, the youngest, also heads company's mergers and acquisitions division.
Makeup heiress inherited fortune from her father, the founder of cosmetic giant L'Oreal. Europe's richest mom is not on speaking terms with her only daughter, Françoise Bettencourt-Meyers. Her daughter claims François-Marie Banier, 61, a well-known photographer, writer and painter Liliane befriended, took advantage of her mother, who became a widow in 2007. Last year Bettencourt-Meyers petitioned courts to investigate a reported $1.4 billion worth of cash and gifts that her mother allegedly gave Banier. Liliane denies all; she has been ordered to undergo psychological testing before a July trial.
Became a billionaire in 2005 when her late husband John, second son of Wal-Mart Stores founder Sam Walton, died when his ultralight aircraft crashed. She is the richest of the Waltons thanks to John's early bet on alternative energy firm First Solar.