Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 415 Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer $4.95B

Random fact: Licensed pilot. Trained in aerobatics by member of Blue Angels.

Overview

Meyer is a shareholder of Cargill, the largest closely held company in the U.S. The Wayzata, Minnesota-based commodity business had sales of almost $113.5 billion in the year to May 31, 2019 from the production and trading of agricultural commodities. The billionaire owns 11% of the business.

As of :
Last change -$117M ( -2.3%)
YTD change +$625M ( +14.4%)
Industry Commodities
Biggest asset Cargill
Citizenship United States
Age 58
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer's net worth of $4.95B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Meyer is a fifth-generation family shareholder of Cargill, a Wayzata, Minnesota-based commodities conglomerate. She owns about 11% of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Her stake is derived from ownership details disclosed in debt prospectuses, a lawsuit over the taxation of the Cargill family trust in 1972, a corporate history of Cargill by Wayne G. Broehl, and the fact that Margaret Cargill owned 17.5% of the company when she died in 2006, according to Bloomberg Markets. Information from these sources indicate the families evenly split shares among bloodline heirs and that disposition of shares by family members has been small. There are 23 family shareholders.

Members of the extended family own 87.2% of Cargill, with executives and an employee stock ownership plan owning the rest, according to debt prospectuses detailing share classes and shares counts held by these groups. To fulfill Margaret Cargill's bequest of her stake in Cargill to charity, the company spun off Mosaic to liquidate her stock in 2011. This action increased each family member's percentage stake in Cargill, based on reduced shares reported by the company after the spinoff. Under this formula, Meyer is credited with 88 million of Cargill's 808 million shares. She's also credited with a portion of Cargill dividends and Mosaic shares sold since 1994.

Cargill had sales of $113.5 billion in the year to May 31, 2019, according to the company's website, and debt of about $12 billion as of October 2019, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg. It's valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales multiple of two publicly trade peer companies: Archer-Daniels-Midland and Bunge.

Lisa Clemens, a Cargill spokeswoman, declined to comment on the billionaire's net worth calculation.

Biography

Birthdate: 10/1/1961
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: San Diego State University

Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer was born in 1961. Her mother, Marion MacMillan, was the great-granddaughter of William W. Cargill, the founder of Cargill. Meyer, an only child, was raised in Switzerland until 1978, when she moved to the U.S. to attend Dana Hall, a boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She graduated from Menlo College and San Diego State University.

The billionaire inherited her stake in Cargill after her mother died in Hamilton, Bermuda, in 2009. She lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California, with her husband, Jay Meyer, and their two children. She owns a horse farm, is a licensed pilot and competes in horse jumping competitions.

Milestones
  • 1865 W.W. Cargill, son of Scottish sea captain, starts namesake company.
  • 1961 Gwendolyn Sontheim Meyer is born in Switzerland.
  • 1978 Moves to U.S. to attend Dana Hall, boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
  • 2000 Cargill earnings pass $1 billion for the first time in company history.
  • 2009 Cargill becomes first Western company to wholly own a port in China.
  • 2009 Inherits Cargill stake after mother dies in Hamilton, Bermuda.
  • 2011 Cargill spins off Mosaic to fulfill Margaret Cargill bequest.
  • 2013 Cargill and Arasco announce plans for a joint venture in Saudi Arabia.