Banking & Finance and Executives and Wealth Management

Gayle Cook tops list of richest Hoosiers

September 22, 2011

The widow of medical device pioneer Bill Cook is the top Hoosier on the latest Forbes 400 list of the nation's wealthiest people.

Gayle Cook of Bloomington ranks 96th with a net worth of $3.4 billion, according to the list released Wednesday. Her husband, founder of medical device giant Cook Group Inc., died April 15 at the age of 80.

Bill Cook finished No. 101 on last year's list with a net worth of $3.1 billion.

The next-wealthiest Indiana resident this year was again hotelier Dean White, 88, of Crown Point. He came in at No. 242 with $1.8 billion.

Simon Property Group co-founder and Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon, 76, rose in the rankings from No. 330 last year to No. 273. His wealth increased from $1.25 billion to $1.6 billion.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, 52, also rose in the rankings from No. 330 to No. 312, though his net worth remained unchanged at $1.4 billion.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates kept the top spot with $59 billion. He was followed by Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffet ($39 billion), Oracle's Larry Ellison ($33 billion) and Charles Koch of Koch Industries ($22 billion).

Political activist George Soros, ranked No. 7, joined the top 10 for the first time and was one of several hedge fund managers on the list, the magazine said.

Forbes also said entrepreneurs comprised an all-time high of 70 percent of the list.

The combined wealth of America's 400 richest people is $1.5 trillion, the magazine said. The average net worth was $3.8 billion, up 12 percent from 2010.

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