Australian mining mogul Gina Rinehart may have just snagged on Wednesday the title World's Richest Woman, but her earning more than $1 million every 30 minutes was not impressive enough to gain her a seat in Fairfax Media board.
The board of directors of the newspaper where the billionaire acquired a few months ago a 12.6 per cent stake, chose former Ernst & Young Chief Executive James Millar to replace Fairfax Board Director Robert Savage, who retires on June 30.
Ms Rinehart, in a span of few months progressed ranking in the exclusive billionaire's club by moving up from Australia's richest woman to Asia's, and now as the world's richest woman.
With the publication of the list, Ms Rinehart easily unseated Christy Walton, the widow of Wal-Mart founder John Walton. Ms Walton used to hold the title World's Richest Woman based on her estimated wealth of $25 billion.
The basis by BRW Magazine in bestowing onto the controversial billionaire that title is her estimated wealth of $29.17 billion which ballooned by $18.87 billion in just 12 months. By riding on Australia's resources boom, the 58-year-old mining magnate earns $598 per second or over $1 million every 30 minutes or almost $52 million a day.
In the same period, her personal woes also multiplied several times with details of her family feud with three of her estranged adult children publicised as the kids continue with their legal battle to remove her as head of the family trust.
The publication of BRW's annual rich list of Wednesday is expected to worsen Ms Rinehart's rift with her children who want to get their hands on their share of the fortune built by Lang Hancock, Ms Rinehart's father, and multiplied several times over by the controversial billionaire.
At the pace she is accumulating wealth, observers said they would not be surprised if in a span of a few years Ms Rinehart would unseat Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim, who has $69 billion to his name, and become the world's richest person.
BRW Rich List editor Andrew Heathcote, in a fearless forecast, said Ms Rinehart could be worth $100 billion within a few years. His basis is that forecast is the fact that Hancock Prospecting, the company of Ms Rinehart, has three projects in the top 10 out of 400 mining projects evaluated by Citigroup. These are projects currently not in production but expected to generate billions of dollars over the next 10 years.
Her fast-paced rise on the rich list is also considered impressive given that she multiplied her wealth 386 times in a span of two decades. In 1992 her net wealth was then estimated at $75 million.
Even if Ms Rinehart failed to gain a seat in the Fairfax Media board, she still sits on the board of Ten Network due to her 10 per cent stake in the media firm. However, the door to Fairfax's BOD is not totally closed to the richest woman in the world yet because the Fairfax constitution permits the appointment of a maximum of 12 directors. Fairfax has only eight which means the company could add four more directors even if current BOD members would not resign from their posts.
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