From Jeff Bezos to the Google co-founders and from the CEO of Apple to Elon Musk, everyone has done extremely well in the last decade.
Time takes its toll on all but the last 10 years have been the “best of times” for tech CEOs. So, several tech CEOs have flourished in the past decade. Instead of getting older, some of them have actually acquired a more youthful physical appearance with a toned body.
Let us survey a few CEOs’ progress over the past decade.
- Jeff Bezos
- Elon Musk
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- Tim Cook
- Sundar Pichai
- Satya Nadella
When he left his Wall Street to start a quirky online bookstore called Amazon about 25 years ago, he could not have foreseen that in 2020, he would be worth more than 200 billion dollars, a level of wealth no one in human history ever reached before. Bezos was pragmatic enough to warn his early investors that there was a 70 per cent chance that Amazon would fail.
Along the way, Amazon has grown to become a behemoth with a market capitalization of 1.5 trillion dollars – yes, that’s trillion with a ‘T.’
Bezos was of course the CEO of Amazon back in 2010 as he is now. He was married back in 2010 and divorced now.
He didn’t own The Washington Post back in 2010 which he does now.
While Blue Origin – Bezos’ space exploration venture – started back in 2000, its New Shepard vehicle reached space for the first time back in 2015.
Back in 2010, his net worth was ‘only’ 12 billion dollars.
Current net worth — 191 billion dollars
It’s remarkable how a wide variety of billionaires have made a common cause in space travel – Branson, Musk, Bezos, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen while he was alive.
But no one has reached the stage that Musk’s SpaceX has. The Crew-1 mission to the ISS will be launching this November 14. This will be the first-ever complete mission to the ISS by a private company.
Musk is known primarily for his two companies – SpaceX and Tesla Inc. He was the founder of the former and a co-founder of the later company.
Back in 2010, SpaceX had yet to send its Dragon supply ship to the ISS. By 2020, it had successfully sent Bob Behnekein and Dough Hurley to the ISS and returned them safely to Earth. The Dragon crew module can carry a crew of four humans.
Back in 2010, Tesla Motors – as it was known back then – had yet to start serial manufacturing of any of the models it now sells. The only product it had back then was the Tesla Roadster – one owned by Mr Musk himself. Mr Musk’s Tesla Roadster is now in orbit around the Sun beyond the orbit of Mars launched there on the first flight of Falcon Heavy.
Now, Tesla’s product lineup looks like this — models S, 3, and X.
Other companies Musk is involved with include SolarCity, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, and Neuralink.
With Tesla Inc’s share price reaching dizzying heights Musk’s wealth has gone past $100 billion at times. It is the most valuable automobile company in the world in terms of market capitalization.
Current net worth — 92 billion dollars.
Back in 2010, the movie The Social Network was causing some reputation problems for Zuckerberg as it portrayed him in a somewhat negative light.
By 2020, Zuckerberg has been asked to appear in – and has appeared in – several Congressional investigations.
Like other billionaires with interests in space exploration, Zuckerberg is a co-founder of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative. Breakthrough Starshot researchers are researching a solar sail-powered spacecraft to be sent to the Alpha Centauri star system 4.37 light-years away.
Back in 2010, Facebook was not a public company though Zuckerberg was still a billionaire. In September 2020, his net worth rose to more than $100 billion.
Current net worth — 100 billion dollars
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Both co-founders of tech giant Google are somewhat secretive – they are the opposite of a founder/CEO like Virgin’s Richard Branson.
After co-founding Google with funding from Stanford University while being PhD students there, the duo has climbed to dizzy heights of success.
Back in 2010, Larry Page was preparing to be the Google CEO for the 2nd time replacing Eric Schmidt. Page spent five years as CEO and then handed over the CEO role to Sundar Pichai in the restructuring in which Alphabet was formed.
In 2019, Page resigned from the role of CEO of Alphabet and became even less visible than he was during his time as the Google CEO. Other tech founder-CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg have to make the trip to Washington and appear before Congress. By relinquishing executive posts such as CEO, Page is no longer required to be in the media spotlight while he is grilled by members of Congress. Many will remember the photo of Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos on either side of Trump. Google’s founders get to avoid those meetings as well.
Page is reportedly spending more time on his private island.
Sergey Brin is also no longer holding any executive positions at Alphabet. He also maintains a low profile. Back in 2010, he was an evangelist for moonshot ventures like self-driving cars.
Both are about the same age – 47 years old as of 2020 and about equally wealthy.
Current net worth — 64 billion dollars
In 2010, while Mr Jobs was still alive and CEO of Apple, Mr Cook was the Chief Operating Officer. Cook was a key executive back then but was not in the media spotlight.
Mr Cook had been misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis has donated a part of his liver to Jobs. Mr Jobs chose Cook to be his successor.
In many years of running Apple, Mr Cook has grown Apple into the first company to have a market capitalization in excess of two trillion dollars. Apple’s market value has soared from $350 billion in 2011 to $1.9 trillion in 2020. As the company’s stock price has soared, Mr Cook himself has grown wealthier and became a billionaire in August 2020.
Current net worth — more than one billion dollars
Sundar Pichai’s journey from southern India to Silicon Valley is the stuff of dreams for several million youngsters in India. It is what they aspire to do. Mr Pichai was Google’s vice president of product management dealing with Google Chrome development. Back then, his job was to push Google Chrome usage to as many internet users as possible.
He became the CEO of Google in 2015 and the CEO of Alphabet since 2019.
With Google continuing to make tidy profits from digital advertising, cloud services and app store revenue, Pichai’s wealth has also grown.
The future is uncertain with the US Justice Department targeting Google in an antitrust suit. He has testified before the US House Judiciary Committee and been subpoenaed by the US Senate Commerce Committee. He has been as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world.
Current net worth — more than 500 million dollars
Nadella is another South-India-to-Silicon-Valley success story. Though, to be precise, Satya made the journey from South India to Seattle. He has spent his career mostly at Microsoft. Soon, he will be reaching 30 years of working at Microsoft.
Mr Nadella has been mostly a product manager involved with Microsoft’s enterprise offerings. Within Microsoft, these are known as the Online Services Division and Business Division inside Microsoft.
In 2010, Nadella was the senior vice president of the Online Services Division.
Nadella became the CEO in 2014 – only the third CEO of Microsoft after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer and continues to remain the CEO today.
He has spearheaded Microsoft’s move away from products such as Windows and towards cloud-based services such as Azure and Office 365. Microsoft is even beating Amazon in winning multi-billion dollar Pentagon contracts. Under Nadella, Microsoft competes with but also works with companies such as Apple, IBM, Salesforce, and Dropbox. He even proclaimed that “Microsoft ❤️ Linux.”
Current net worth — less than 500 million dollars
All these tech CEOs have several decades of working life ahead of them with Tim Cook being the ‘elder statesman’ in this cohort at a year shy of 60.