Cook Group CEO leads smaller list of Indiana billionaires

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Indiana’s richest man got much wealthier over the past year, according to calculations released Monday by Forbes magazine.

Cook Group Inc. CEO Carl Cook has a net worth of $7.4 billion, Forbes said, placing him 186th on the magazine’s annual list of the world’s billionaires. That’s up from $4.8 billion and 298th on last year’s list.

Cook, 54, is among only three Hoosiers on the latest list. He’s joined, as usual, by real estate tycoon and Indiana Pacers owner Herbert Simon and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Hotel and billboard magnate Dean White, who had been a fixture in the rankings for years, fell from the list after his death in September at 93. White ranked 722nd on the year-ago list, with a fortune of $2.4 billion.

Simon, 82, the co-founder of Simon Property Group, has a net worth estimated at $2.8 billion, the same as last year, Forbes said. He ranked 717th on the latest list, down from 612th a year ago.

Irsay, 57, saw his net worth rise from $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion, but his position on the list dropped from 771st to 814th.

Forbes’ 30th annual list included a record number of billionaires, with the number jumping 13 percent, to 2,043. The total net worth of those on the list rose 18 percent, to $7.67 trillion.

Bill Gates, with an estimated $86 billion fortune, topped the list for the 18th time in the past 23 years.

Warren Buffett was second after his net worth rose by nearly $15 billion, to $75.6 billion.

And Amazon’s Jeff Bezos jumped from fifth to third after adding $27.6 billion to his fortune, giving him a net worth of $72.8 billion.        

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