Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 341 Stef Wertheimer $7.08B

Random fact: Wrote "Man at a Machine," a 2011 autobiography.


Wertheimer is founder and honorary chairman of Iscar Metalworking, a Tefen, Israel-based toolmaker. The Wertheimer family sold 80% of the company to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for $4 billion in 2006. They sold the remainder to Berkshire for $2 billion in 2013. They also have six industrial parks in Israel.

As of :
Last change +$25.0M ( +0.3%)
YTD change +$225M ( +3.3%)
Biggest asset Cash
Country / Region Israel
Age 96
Industry Diversified
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Stef Wertheimer's net worth of $7.08B 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 Wertheimer's fortune is derived from the proceeds he received selling his Tefen, Israel-based tool manufacturer, Iscar Metalworking, to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in two separate transactions. The first was in May 2006, when he sold 80% of the company for $4 billion. He sold the remaining 20% for $2.05 billion in May 2013.

The family is credited with receiving about $4.5 billion after taxes, based on Israel's individual capital gains tax rates at the time of the two sales. Wertheimer's late son, Eitan, served as the company chairman. As founder and patriarch, Stef Wertheimer is credited with control of the family fortune.

Wertheimer sold a 51% stake in Blades Technology International in May 2014 to Pratt & Whitney, which already owned the remaining stake. The price wasn't disclosed and isn't included in the net worth calculation.

The billionaire has spent about $100 million building six industrial parks in Israel and one in Turkey since the mid-1980s. The Israeli parks are intended to promote industrial production in the country and provide employment opportunities for Israeli Arabs. The Turkish park is controlled through a joint venture with Gebze Organized Industry Zone. The billionaire has said in several interviews with various media outlets, including The Jewish Daily Forward, that the parks aren't profitable. Their equity value isn't included in his net worth calculation.

Lynn Holstein, a spokeswoman for Wertheimer, declined to comment on his net worth.


Family: Divorced, 4 children

Stef Wertheimer was born in Kippenheim, Germany, on July 16, 1926. When he was 11 years old, he and his family fled the Nazi regime, settling in British Mandate Palestine in 1937. He dropped out of middle school and began working at a camera repair store at age 13. When World War II broke out, he joined the British Royal Air Force, where he served in Bahrain as a civilian instrument mechanic.

After the war ended in 1945, Wertheimer joined the Palmach, the elite fighting force of Haganah, the underground military force organized by Jews living in Palestine. He became a demolition officer in 1948, according to his profile on the Knesset's website.

When he was 26 years old, Wertheimer borrowed funds and a lathe to create a tool-cutting factory in his home. He called the business Iscar and subsequently built it into one of the world's largest manufacturers of precision metalworking tools. Wertheimer served as Iscar chairman until 1983, when he sustained a concussion in a car accident and appointed his son, Eitan, as his replacement.

The family began thinking about selling the business in 2005, and Eitan sent a two-page letter to Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, whom he identified as the ideal buyer. Seven months later, Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy the family's group of metalworking companies, including Iscar, for $6 billion.

The billionaire dabbled in politics early in his career, helping found the Democratic Movement for Change political party. He was elected to the Knesset in 1977, and ended his official political involvement in the early 1980s. The billionaire began to develop industrial parks, starting with Tefen Park in the western Galilee, the site of Iscar headquarters. Wertheimer has spent about $100 million of his own money building business parks in Israel's less-affluent areas, hosting businesses employing Israelis of all ethnicities and religions.

He has four children and lives in Tel Aviv.

  • 1926 Stef Wertheimer is born in Kippenheim, Germany.
  • 1937 Flees Nazi Germany with his family.
  • 1977 Wins seat in the Knesset as part of new political party he helped found.
  • 1983 Cedes chairman role to son after suffering concussion in a car accident.
  • 1985 Founds The Open Museum at Tefen Industrial Park.
  • 2005 Opens Turkey's GOSB Teknopark, his first industrial park outside Israel.
  • 2005 Son, Eitan, queries Warren Buffett about buying Iscar in a letter.
  • 2006 Sells 80 percent of Iscar to Berkshire Hathaway for $4 billion.
  • 2011 Publishes autobiography, "Man at a Machine."
  • 2013 Berkshire Hathaway buys the rest of Iscar for $2.05 billion.