This story originally appeared on Business Insider.
It’s a rare day that passes without a headline about Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, or any number of the other flashy and seemingly press-loving billionaires.
The rumored cage fight between Musk and Zuckerberg has become a melee for media attention, and Jeff Bezos can regularly be spotted on his $500 million yacht with his fiancée, Lauren Sánchez.
But some others in the billionaire class are the opposite, taking great care to stay out of the limelight.
Here’s a sampling of some of the world’s most secretive and reclusive billionaires, how they built their fortunes, and how they’ve tried to avoid the public eye over the years.
One necessary disclaimer: We may not even know about the really tight-lipped billionaires who have managed to stay off the lists of Forbes, Bloomberg, and the like.
The individuals and families named below did not immediately respond to requests for comment unless stated otherwise. Their net worths are accurate as of August 15.
Philip Anschutz made his money in oil and railroads before getting into entertainment. He’s been called “America’s most reclusive billionaire.” Reed Saxon/AP Photo via BI
You’ve probably heard of Coachella before, but the man behind the festival is far less known.
Meet Philip Anschutz, who has been dubbed “America’s most reclusive billionaire.” His net worth sits at $10.7 billion, according to Forbes.
The 83-year-old owns Anschutz Entertainment Group, which is the parent company of Coachella.
AEG owns several sports teams; runs more than 100 clubs, theaters, and arenas around the world; and produces or manages more than 25 music festivals.
Before getting into entertainment, Anschutz made his money in oil and railroads. He discovered an oil field on the Wyoming-Utah border by 1979, and three years later, Mobil purchased half of it for $500 million.
He went on to buy the Rio Grande Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1980s and sold them in 1995 for $1.4 billion while retaining the right to lay fiber-optic cables on them for telecom services.
In 2019, Forbes said that Anschutz was one of only two men to have been on the magazine’s annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans every year since its inception in 1982. (The other was the fellow oil billionaire William Herbert Hunt.)
Despite his regular appearance in the magazine, Anschutz has avoided the public eye and only given two press conferences throughout his career, Bloomberg reported.
“Anschutz is sort of like the Wizard of Oz,” the Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser told the Los Angeles Times in 2006. “He is the man behind the curtain pulling the levers. Nobody sees him, yet he has a huge impact on Los Angeles.”
Frederick Barclay and David Barclay. David once said he and his brother were “private about everything” they did. MICHAEL STEPHENS/AFP via Getty Images via BI
Identical twins Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay were commonly referred to as the Barclay brothers. While David died in 2021, Frederick is still alive at 88 years old.
In 2020, before David’s death, the brothers were estimated to be worth $4 billion combined by Forbes.
Over the years, the Barclay empire had spanned multiple industries, including online retailer Very, formerly known as Shop Direct, The Daily Telegraph newspaper, and The Ritz hotel in London.
Still, much about the Barclays’ origin and empire-building remains unknown, with Forbes calling the brothers “the U.K.’s most infamous reclusive billionaires.” The pair were rarely photographed and together owned a private island.
“We are private about everything we do,” David once said in a rare public comment. “It stems from our philosophy of not talking about ourselves, or claiming how clever we are, or boasting about how successful we have been. We would, anyway, claim that we have been more fortunate than many others.”
“It was a great journey in everything that we did,” Frederick said in a statement shortly after his brother died. “We were twins from the beginning until the end. He was the right hand to my left, and I was his left hand to his right. We’ll meet again.”
The Cargill-MacMillan family
Martha “Muffy” MacMillan during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations in 2015. Jemal Countess/Getty Images via BI
You might not have known it, but something you ate today most likely passed through some aspect of the Cargill-MacMillan family’s business.
With an agricultural empire spanning seven generations, the Cargill-MacMillan clan runs Cargill, one of the largest privately held US companies by revenue. It was the eighth-richest family in the world in an October 2022 Bloomberg ranking and includes 12 billionaires, Forbes reports.
Pauline MacMillan Keinath is thought to have the largest stake in Cargill and is worth $7.2 billion, while Martha, pictured above, is worth $1.3 billion, Forbes estimates.
Founded in 1865 as a grain warehouse in Iowa, Cargill continues to be synonymous with agriculture first and foremost but has expanded to also offer products and services in areas such as pharmaceuticals, risk management, and transportation and logistics.
Jack Ma made headlines when he disappeared from the public eye in recent years, but he’s since returned and taken up a visiting professor role at Tokyo College. Wang HE/Getty Images via BI
Once the richest person in China — his net worth is $24.4 billion, according to Forbes — Jack Ma made his fortune as the founder of the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and the fintech company Ant Group, which operates the popular payments platform Alipay.
Though in the past Ma has occupied the limelight — when he marked his retirement with a 60,000-person party at an Olympic stadium, for example — it’s his disappearance from public view that’s made headlines in recent years.
In January 2021, media outlets reported that he hadn’t been publicly seen in two months, prompting speculation he might have gone missing.
Ma remained out of sight before returning to the public eye in 2023 when he was spotted in Thailand hours before Ant Group said he was giving up control of the company.
He has since assumed a visiting professor role at Tokyo College, which is part of the University of Tokyo, where he is expected to conduct research on sustainable agriculture and food production.
Ma’s friend, Chen Wei, told USA Today in 2014 that the billionaire’s lifestyle was “very simple and modest.”
“His hobbies are still tai chi and kung fu novels,” Chen said at the time. “I don’t think he has changed much, he is still that old style.”
The Mars family
The Mars family is perhaps best known for its candy empire but also owns several recognizable pet-care brands. Pictured here are Jacqueline Mars and her granddaughters. Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images via BI
The Mars family is perhaps best known for their candy empire, with brands like M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, and Dove. They also own food brands like Ben’s Original, as well as pet-care brands Pedigree, Iams, and Cesar. They were listed as the second-richest family in the world, with a net worth of $160 billion, in an October 2022 Bloomberg ranking.
“The Mars company and the family that owns the candy giant have turned secrecy into a way of life,” The Washingtonian wrote in 2008.
The former chairman Stephen Badger, who is the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Franklin Mars, once addressed the Mars approach to privacy.
“For 99% of our history, we’ve chosen not to be in the public eye and we’ve really wanted our brands to engage consumers. And yet times have changed,” he told Insider in 2018. “Consumers do want to know more about not only the brands that they’re buying, but the company that is behind them.”
“The Mars family values the right to privacy and have never courted personal publicity,” Amy Weiss, a spokesperson for the Mars family, said in a statement to Insider. “They are extraordinarily proud of the Mars, Incorporated business and believe that the Mars leadership team and Associates to represent the business in the public eye. They believe that mostly it is the business and its brands that should do the talking.”
“Family members are well known inside the business and regularly engage with Associates,” she added. They are actively involved in the governance of the company.”
Ike Perlmutter reportedly wore a disguise at the 2008 “Iron Man” premiere. AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Isaas Perlmutter, who goes by Ike, amassed his wealth in action-figure manufacturing, which ultimately led him to Marvel Comics. The 80-year-old became CEO of the company in 2005 and was responsible for its 2009 sale to Disney for $4 billion. His net worth is $3.9 billion, according to Forbes.
Perlmutter is rarely spotted in public. He’s said to have worn a disguise of glasses and a mustache at the 2008 “Iron Man” premiere, Forbes reported.
“He relishes his reputation as secretive and frugal,” The Hollywood Reporter said in a 2014 story, citing a top executive who’d worked with him.
His friends have chalked up his shy nature partly to his “thick” Israeli accent, the Financial Times reported.
In March 2023, it was reported that Perlmutter was out at Disney as part of the company’s cost-cutting measures. Soon after, he said in a rare interview with The Wall Street Journal that he was fired by Disney.
“I have no doubt that my termination was based on fundamental differences in business between my thinking and Disney leadership, because I care about return on investment,” Perlmutter said at the time. “All they talk about is box office, box office. I care about the bottom line. I don’t care how big the box office is. Only people in Hollywood talk about box office.”
The Reimann family
Peter Harf heads the Reimanns’ JAB Holding Company. There are no readily available photos of Reimann family members. Associated Press via BI
One of Germany’s wealthiest families, the Reimanns, are behind the conglomerate JAB Holding Company, which now owns brands like Krispy Kreme, Panera, and Peet’s Coffee.
Family members include siblings Wolfgang Reimann, Matthias Reimann-Andersen, Renate Reimann-Hass, and Stefan Reimann-Andersen, who each have a net worth of $5.4 billion, according to Forbes.
The family’s history in business dates back to the 1800s, when chemist Ludwig Reimann joined Johann A. Benckiser at Benckiser, a German chemical and industrial manufacturing company. Reimann married Benckiser’s daughter, and over the years, Reimann’s side of the family expanded the business — which is named for Benckiser’s initials — to include consumer goods.
Though they’ve generally avoided the spotlight, the Reimanns made headlines in 2019 when they donated 10 million Euros to charity after uncovering the extent of their family’s Nazi history.
Albert Reimann Sr. and Albert Reimann Jr. were early supporters of the Nazi party, the German newspaper Bild reported at the time, and the two used Russian civilians and French prisoners of war as forced laborers during World War II.
“There is nothing to gloss over. These crimes are disgusting,” Peter Harf, chairman of JAB, told Bild at the time.
The family has so shied away from the public eye that a search for photos of the Reimanns predominantly returned images of Harf — if anyone at all.
A representative contacted by Insider said the Reimann family did not have a comment about its approach to privacy.
The Wertheimer brothers
In a rare interview, Gérard Wertheimer once spoke about the brothers’ proclivity for privacy, saying, “It’s about everyone who works and creates at Chanel. It’s not about the Wertheimers.” Michel Dufour/WireImage/Getty Images via BI
Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, both in their 70s, are third-generation owners of Chanel.
Their grandfather, Pierre Wertheimer, made a deal with Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in 1924 regarding the business’ now iconic perfumes, and a new corporate entity, Parfums Chanel, was born. Wertheimer would make the famous No. 5 scent in his factory in exchange for a percentage of the company. In 1954, he took full control of the company.
Alain and Gérard inherited the company when their father, Jacques Wertheimer, died in 1996. Alain is chairman of Chanel, while Gérard leads the company’s watch division. The brothers are each worth $32.6 billion, according to Forbes.
The New York Times has called the brothers “fashion’s quietest billionaires.” In a rare interview, Gérard told the Times in 2002 about their choice to stay under the radar.
“It’s about Coco Chanel. It’s about Karl. It’s about everyone who works and creates at Chanel. It’s not about the Wertheimers,” he said at the time, referring to Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion house’s former creative director.
In that same article, the Times reported that the brothers never attended a Chanel store’s opening and that if they went to a Chanel fashion show, they would drive themselves and sit in the third or fourth row.
Chanel, the company, long had a secretive approach to handling its financials, going 108 years before releasing any. When it first did so in 2018, it reported total sales of $9.62 billion for the 2017 calendar year.