The 15 Richest Billionaires in Illinois this year

There are about 748 billionaires living in America as of 2022. The majority of them come from New York, California, Texas, and Florida, with the rest living in other states. Below is a list of the 15 richest billionaires in Illinois and how they became wealthy.

15. Jennifer Pritzker

Net worth$2 billion
Source of wealthHotels, investments
Global rank#1513
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

With a fortune of $2 billion, Jennifer Pritzker is the second wealthiest woman in the Prairie State. She’s a member of the Pritzker family, which owns the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The corporation owns and operates more than 1,000 hotels and resorts in over 60 countries around the world. The Pritzker family is one of the wealthiest families in the United States.

Jennifer is a retired lieutenant colonel and is the founder and chief executive of Tawani Enterprises, a private equity firm that has interests in property development and management as well the hospitality sector. She also created the Tawani Foundation and the Pritzker Military Library.

14. Steven Sarowitz

Net worth$2.8 billion
Source of wealthPayroll software
Global rank#1096
ResidenceHighland Park, Illinois

Sarowitz is the founder and chairman of Paylocity which provides cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. He founded the company in 1997 and took it public in 2014. He owns about a quarter of the company — which generates more than $600 million in annual revenues. Prior to starting his own payroll company, the billionaire worked at a couple of payroll firms. Last year he was ranked #300 on Forbes 400 with a net worth of $2.6 billion.

13. Sheldon Lavin

Net worth$3 billion
Source of wealthMeat processing
Global rank#1012
ResidenceHighland Park, Illinois

According to Forbes, Sheldon Lavin has a net of $3 billion and is one of the richest billionaires in Illinois. He owns the meat processing company OSI Group which supplies meat products to MacDonalds, Impossible Foods, and other restaurants around the world. The billionaire joined the company in 1970 as a consultant and later became a full-time employee. He bought stakes in the meat processor while working for the firm, ultimately owning a 90% stake and taking over the company in the 1980s.

Last year, Forbes ranked OSI Group the 67th largest private company in the United States. The Group generated about $6.1 billion in revenues in 2020.

11. Penny Pritzker

Net worth$3.2 billion
Source of wealthHotels, investments
Global rank#951
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Penny Pritzker is the wealthiest woman in the state of Illinois. She served as the 38th United States secretary of commerce from 2013 to 2017. Penny is one of the 11 heirs to the fortune of the Pritzker family, which owns the Hyatt Hotels Corporation that was co-founded by her father, Donald Pritzker.

Apart from her stakes in her family’s hotel business, Penny also founded the private investment firm PSP Partners which she chairs. She also sits on the board of Microsoft. She’s the 52nd richest woman in the United States.

Related: The richest people in Texas

11. Joseph Grendys

Net worth$3.2 billion
Source of wealthPoultry processing
Global rank#951
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Grendys owns Koch Foods, a company that slaughters, sells, and ships chicken. The billionaire joined the firm as an employee in the 1980s when it had only 13 workers. He bought out his boss Fred Koch in 1992 and transformed the company into one of the largest poultry processors in the United States.

Koch Foods slaughters more than 10 million chickens every week and is a supplier to Kroger, Walmart, and Burger King. It generates about $3 billion in annual sales revenues.

10. J.B Pritzker

Net worth$3.6 billion
Source of wealthHotels, investments
Global rank#822
ResidenceSpringfield, Illinois

He’s the current governor of Illinois. His fortune comes from the stakes his family owns in the Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The family also owned the Marmon Group which was sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 2013. The Group had more than 50 companies. The governor is one of the richest billionaires in Illinois.

9. Eric Lefkofsky

Net worth$4.1 billion
Source of wealthGroupon, investments
Global rank#709
ResidenceGlencoe, Illinois

Eric Lefkofsky co-founded the online deal marketplace Groupon alongside Andrew Mason in 2008. The billionaire serves as the chairman of the company — which had $1.4 billion in revenue in 2020. Eric also co-founded Lightbank, a venture capital firm that has invested in over 100 companies including the payment platform Paytient, Udemy, and Tempus. He also has stakes in the analytics company Uptake.

Together with his wife, Liz, the billionaire runs The Lefkofsky Family Foundation. The couple joined the Giving Pledge in 2013.

7. Ty Warner

Net worth$4.3 billion
Source of wealthPlush toys, real estate
Global rank#665
ResidenceOak Brook, Illinois

Warner dropped out of Kalamazoo College in his freshman year. He tried a career in acting but was not successful. He then worked as a salesman for a toy-making company before getting fired. Years later he started his own toy-making company Ty Inc using his life savings.

Today Ty Inc makes and sells stuffed toys including Beanie Boos, Beanie Balls, and sea sequins among others. He used profits earned from his toy company to acquire several high-end hotels and resorts including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, the Four Seasons Resort as well as the Las Ventanas al Paraiso Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico — which rents its Ty Warner Mansion for $35,000 a night.

Related: The richest person in every state

7. Mark Walter

Net worth$4.3 billion
Source of wealthFinance
Global rank#665
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Mark Walter is the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, a multinational financial services firm that he co-founded in 1999. He has a net worth of $4.3 billion making him one of the richest billionaires in Illinois. Guggenheim Partners has more than $300 billion worth of assets under management.

According to Forbes, the billionaire also has stakes in other companies including Carvana and Beyond Meat. Walter owns the Major League Baseball franchise Los Angeles Dodgers which he acquired in 2012 for $2.2 billion. In May 2022, the billionaire together with three other partners acquired Chelsea F.C for $5.3 billion.

6. Thomas Pritzker

Net worth$5 billion
Source of wealthHotels, investments
Global rank#552
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Sixth on the list is Thomas Pritzker, the executive chairman of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation and the CEO of the Pritzker Organization which manages the various business assets of the Pritzker family. His father, Jay Pritzker co-founded the Hyatt Hotel chain alongside his uncle Donald Pritzker.

Thomas also inherited his father’s stake in Marmon Group, a portfolio of over 60 diversified industrial corporations. In 2007 Berkshire Hathaway acquired a majority stake in Marmon for $4 billion and bought the rest of the company in 2013.

Thomas is also the founder and chairman of North America Western Asia Holdings (Nawah), an investment firm doing business in the Middle East and Central Asia.

5. Neil Bluhm

Net worth$5.5 billion
Source of wealthReal estate
Global rank#480
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Bluhm is the second wealthiest real estate billionaire in the Corn State after Sam Zell. He owns several properties in Chicago including 900 North Michigan as well as the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons Hotels. Neil owned the Real estate company JMB Realty which he cofounded in 1970 with his college roommate Judd Malkin.

The billionaire also owns the online gaming company Rush Street Interactive as well as a number of casinos in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Neil cofounded the private equity real estate investment firm Walton Street Capital. He’s a minority owner of the Chicago White Sox of the MLB and the Chicago Bulls of the NBA.

4. Joe Mansueto

Net worth$5.7 billion
Source of wealthInvestment research
Global rank#460
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

With a net worth of about $5.7 billion, Joe Mansueto is one of the richest billionaires in Illinois. He is the chairman and majority owner of Morning Star, Inc. — an investment management and research firm that he founded in 1984 from his one-bedroom apartment in Chicago with about $80,000.

Morning Star manages more than $230 billion in assets. It generated about $1.7 billion in revenues last year. The billionaire owns Chicago Fire FC of the MLS. As a member of the Giving Pledge, Mansueto has pledged to give away more than half of his wealth in the course of his lifetime.

Related: The richest people in New York

3. Sam Zell

Net worth$5.8 billion
Source of wealthReal estate, private equity
Global rank#438
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

The state’s third-richest individual Sam Zell is the founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment company that invests in the energy, healthcare, real estate, and logistics sectors among other industries.

The billionaire first ventured into the real estate business while studying law at the University of Michigan. His apartment management business was making him about $150,000. He worked as a lawyer for a week after graduation before quitting the legal profession to do what he loved, the real estate business.

He founded the Equity Group Investments in 1966 and by 2006 the company was the largest office owner in the United States through its subsidiary, Equity Office Properties. Sam Zell sold Equity Office to Blackstone in 2006 for $36 billion.

2. Patrick Ryan

Net worth$8 billion
Source of wealthInsurance
Global rank#284
ResidenceWinnetka, Illinois

Patrick Ryan has a net worth of $8 billion which makes him one of the richest billionaires in Illinois. He’s the former CEO of Aon Corporation which was founded in 1982 after his insurance company Ryan Insurance Group merged with Combined Insurance Company of America. The billionaire’s first business venture was selling personalized scrapbooks at Northwestern University.

He then worked as a life insurance agent before starting his own insurance company using borrowed money. He also founded Ryan Specialty Group, a wholesale brokerage, and specialty insurance company after leaving Aon where he served as the chief executive for four decades. Ryan was ranked #120 on Forbes 400 last year.

1. Ken Griffin

Net worth$27.2 billion
Source of wealthHedge funds
Global rank#53
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

He’s the richest billionaire in Chicago and in Illinois, a title he has held since 2019. Griffin is the founder, CEO, and co-chief investment officer of the hedge fund Citadel. He owns about 85% of the firm — which manages more than $39 billion worth of assets.

Griffin, who’s $19 billion richer than any other individual in the Prairie State, was the 4th highest paid hedge fund manager in 2019 according to Forbes, taking home an estimated $870 million. He’s the 25th richest person in the United States.

The billionaire owns private residences valued at about $1 billion. In 2019 he bought 24,000 square feet across four floors at 220 Central Park South for $238 million, the most expensive residential sale in the history of the United States.

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