Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 238 Hansjoerg Wyss $8.05B

Random fact: Ran side business selling airplanes before joining Synthes.


Wyss helped build Synthes, a Swiss medical device company that he sold for $19.7 billion to Johnson & Johnson in June 2012. He built the company into the world's largest maker of bone fracture and bone trauma treatment devices and received almost 100 million J & J shares, and more than $3 billion in cash from the sale.

As of :
Last change +$16.6M ( +0.2%)
YTD change +$253M ( +3.2%)
Industry Health Care
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship Switzerland
Age 85
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Hansjoerg Wyss's net worth of $8.05B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Wyss's fortune is derived from the $19.7 billion acquisition of Synthes by Johnson & Johnson in June 2012. Prior to the transaction, Wyss owned almost 57 million shares of Synthes, which traded on the Swiss stock exchange.

According to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the deal gave Synthes shareholders 1.72 shares of J & J and about $58 in cash for each share of Synthes, meaning Wyss collected 97.4 million shares of J & J and more than $3.2 billion in cash in the deal.

The analysis assumes he sold all of his J & J shares by Dec. 31, 2012. The value of his cash investments includes the proceeds from J & J, as well as about $500 million in dividends, according to company filings and an analysis of Bloomberg data. It's also adjusted to reflect charitable giving, market performance and taxes.

He holds 9% of Novocure, according to the company's 2020 proxy statement, and 10% of Molecular Partners, according to its 2019 annual report.


Birthdate: 1/1/1935
Family: Single, 1 child
Education: Harvard Business School, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

Hansjoerg Wyss was born in the Swiss capital of Bern, to a mechanical calculator salesman, in 1935. After graduating from the Swiss Institute of Technology with a master's degree in civil and structural engineering, he worked as a project manager for Chrysler in Pakistan, Turkey and the Philippines. He enrolled in a MBA program at Harvard Business School in 1963, and spent the decade following his graduation working in various industries, including textiles and airplane sales.

Wyss joined Synthes USA in 1977, after meeting Martin Allgoewer, a Swiss surgeon who had founded a medical teaching organization, AO/ASIF, with three partners in 1958. The doctors agreed to let Wyss sell the group's products in the Americas. Over the following three decades, Wyss built the company into the world's largest maker of devices to treat bone fractures and trauma. The company merged with AO/ASIF licensees Stratec, in 1999, and Mathys in 2004. He stepped down as CEO in 2007, retaining his role as chairman. Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest health-care products company, announced it was acquiring Synthes in a cash and stock deal worth $19.7 billion in April 2011.

The billionaire started the Wyss Foundation to aid land and environmental conservation in the U.S. in 1989. He's chairman of the Beyeler Foundation, which has a private collection of modern art in Switzerland, and co-founder of the AO Foundation which has become the world's largest medical teaching organization. Wyss lives in Wyoming and has one daughter.

  • 1935 Born in Bern, Switzerland, to a calculator salesman.
  • 1958 Worked for Colorado Highway Department as a student.
  • 1959 Graduates with engineering degree from Swiss Technology Institute.
  • 1965 Receives MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • 1989 Establishes Wyss Foundation; supports land conservation in the U.S.
  • 1999 Stratec Medical merges with Synthes to form Synthes-Stratec Inc.
  • 2000 Buys 900 acres on Halter Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles, California.
  • 2012 Johnson & Johnson acquires Synthes for $19 billion.