Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 136 Valerie Mars $13.4B

Random fact: Serves on the board of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


Mars shares ownership of Mars Inc., the world's largest confectioner. The closely held, McLean, Virginia-based company makes candy (M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way), chewing gum (Juicy Fruit, Orbit), pet chow (Pedigree, Whiskas) and packaged foods (Ben's Original, Suzi Wan). It has annual sales of almost $45 billion.

As of :
Last change -$37.6M ( -0.3%)
YTD change -$265M ( -1.9%)
Biggest asset Mars Inc.
Country / Region United States
Age 64
Industry Food & Beverage
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Valerie Mars's net worth of $13.4B 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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Mars's fortune is derived from her 8% stake in McLean, Virginia-based Mars Inc., a closely held US candy, food and pet products company. The Mars family is the sole shareholder of the company, according to private company filings. The company declined to comment on the breakdown of individual shareholders.

The analysis assumes the fortune was inherited equally by third-generation siblings Jacqueline, John and Forrest Jr. It also assumes the late Forrest Jr.'s stake was split equally among his four children, Victoria, Valerie, Marijke and Pamela, after his death in 2016.

The business is the world's largest candy maker, according to trade publication Candy Industry, and best known for confections such as Snickers, Milky Way and Twix. With its purchase of Wrigley in 2008 for $23 billion, it commands more than half of the US chewing-gum market, according to Euromonitor. Its other popular candies include Skittles, Starburst, Life Savers and Altoids. Its food brands include Ben's Original and Suzi Wan, and pet food and care brands include Pedigree, Whiskas and Eukanuba.

Mars has annual sales of almost $45 billion, according to a company statement in June 2022 published on its website. It's valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: Hershey, Nestle and Mondelez International.

Mars acquired animal-hospital chain, VCA Inc., for $7.6 billion in 2017 and candy-bar maker Kind for $5 billion in 2020. Both assets are included in Mars Inc.'s valuation.

Mars Inc has $14.5 billion in loans and other debt as of September 2022, according to Bloomberg data. The billionaire's share of that debt is included as a liability.

The company's external spokeswoman Amy Weiss declined to comment on the valuation.


Family: Married, 2 children

Valerie Mars was born on January 20, 1959, one of four daughters of the late Forrest Mars Jr. and his first wife, Virginia Cretella.

Her great-grandfather, Frank Mars, learned to hand-dip chocolate as a schoolboy. He began making and selling buttercream candies from his home in Tacoma, Washington in 1911, and moved the business to Minneapolis in 1920, operating under the banner Nougat House. A long string of confectionery blockbusters followed, including Milky Way, Snickers and 3 Musketeers.

After his death in 1934, Frank's only son, Forrest, took over the business and expanded it into pet care with the purchase of Chappie canned dog food and, later, into packaged food with the addition of what would become Uncle Ben's rice. Forrest stepped down from day-to-day management of the global food manufacturer in 1969, turning over control to his two sons, John and Forrest Jr., who died in July 2016.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Yale and an MBA from Columbia Business School, Valerie Mars landed a position with the training program at the New York-based bank, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. She rose to the role of assistant secretary before leaving to join Whitman Hefferman Rhein, a boutique investment company, as controller.

Mars joined the family business in 1992 when she began working part-time for the M&M brand on special projects. In her current role as head of corporate development she focuses on acquisitions, joint ventures and divestitures across the entire company.

A resident of Germany, she is married and has two sons.

  • 1911 Great-grandfather Frank C. Mars begins selling buttercream candy.
  • 1930 Mars begins selling the Snickers bar.
  • 1945 The M&Ms brand is marketed to the general public for the first time.
  • 1959 Valerie Mars is born to Forrest Mars Jr. and Virginia Cretella.
  • 1984 Marries Phillip White, an economics professor.
  • 1992 Starts working part-time for Mars's M&M division, focusing on special projects.
  • 2008 Mars acquires Wrigley for $23 billion.
  • 2014 Joins the board of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.