Thursday, September 20, 2007

The World's Secret Billionaire


Who is Chuck Feeney ?

You will not believe that Chuck Feeney is a billionaire. According to published sources, he carries plastic bag that serves as a briefcase, wears a $15 plastic watch, flies economy class and does not own a house or car. Chuck Feeney was born in New Jersey during the Depression to a blue-collar Irish-American family, he co-founded Duty Free Shoppers, the world's largest duty-free retail chain. In 1988 he was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest American alive and worth $1.3 billion, richer than Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump.

Thus far, Chuck Feeney has given billions away to schools, hospitals, universities, medical research and human rights from the United States and Ireland to South Africa and Vietnam.

He is obsessed in keeping his identity a secret. He incorporated his charitable foundation in Bermuda and attached confidentiality agreements and cabal-like vows of secrecy to his foundation's grants. After the cashier's checks cleared, there were no black-tie parties, no self-effacing speeches.

I have tried searching for his photo on the internet, but can't find even one - the photos listed on Google Image search, isn't him.

His photo is not even published on his charitable foundation's website The Atlantic Philanthropies

However, there is a rare group photo of him published by Time Magazine in 1997

According to news reports, Chuck Feeney made money in his youth selling Christmas cards door-to-door, clearing snow from driveways and caddying at golf courses. He loved the challenge of making money but had little use for it.

"The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune" is a new book written by Journalist Conor O'Clery about this remarkable man.

Read more about Chuck Feeney in MSNBC and Business Week

What would you do if you had a million ringgit ? Comments please.


6 comments:

twl said...

If I had a million, I would invest it until I have a billion before giving to charity. 1 million ringgit today isn't much...but I'm very far from that still.

Anonymous said...

i spend myslef lah...so many things to pay hehehe

3POINT8 on September 21, 2007 at 7:56 PM said...

Chuck Feeney...
Respect!!!
What amazes me is that this guy is worth 1.5million and he has donated $1.6billion or maybe even more!!!
Kinda reminds of the story of a couple who donated their only and most essential possession, a blanket to a worthy cause..

Snapshots on September 23, 2007 at 2:03 AM said...

spend spend spend, but seriously secure for my and my wife old age, children education and seed money, our parentts.

The Malaysian Life on September 24, 2007 at 1:05 AM said...

twl, anonymous and snapshots - you guys are very practical.

3POINT8 - yes Chuck Feeney is cool. But not everyone can be Chuck Feeney.

Aphroditee said...

Buy a building.

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