A FAMILY that owns one of Europe’s leading oil and gas companies has gone straight to the top spot of the Driving millionaires with a fortune of £5.556bn.
This year’s Sunday Times Rich List, published today, puts the Perrodo family above Sir Henry Keswick and Bernie Ecclestone, who topped the Driving Rich List last year.*
Carrie Perrodo, 66, and her eldest son François (pictured), 41, jointly run and own London-based Perenco. The business was built up by Hubert Perrodo, Carrie’s late husband, who was killed in an Alpine climbing accident in 2006.
Oxford-educated François is a racing driver who competes in the World Endurance Championship, a series that includes the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race. He is taking part this year in the LMP2 class with TDS Racing. In 2016 he won the GTE amateur class overall with teammates Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas, in a Ferrari 458 GTE run by AF Corse.
Former model Carrie hails from Singapore, while London-based daughter Nathalie runs the family’s wine operations, including Château Labégorce. Her brother Bertrand owns part of 31Dover.com, a London-based wine delivery service.
The Perrodos enter the Driving millionaires list this year after researchers of the Sunday Times Rich List went into finer detail than before concerning people’s interests outside their business activity.
They come in above another new entry, Sir Henry Keswick and family, which has seen wealth rocket by 1.5bn this year to £4.763bn. Keswick, 79, chairs Hong Kong conglomerate Jardine Matheson, which is heavily involved in cars sales but also has interests spanning hotels, food and property.
Bernie Ecclestone, the motor racing tycoon who built Formula One into a global phenomenon, was first in the Driving Rich List 2017 but has dropped to third place this year.
The 87-year-old remained in control of F1 until last year’s £6.5bn Liberty takeover last year. He retains a 2.1% stake, while Bambino Holdings, his family trust, has another 5.4%. The family’s total fortune is unchanged from last year at £2.48bn.
Second in the Driving Rich List last year was John Bloor, whose fortune has increased by £404m but stays behind Ecclestone and now sits in fourth spot, according to Rich List 2018. Profits at his two businesses, Triumph motorcycles and Bloor Homes, rose by nearly 50% in 2016-17 to a record £1.85bn. Defunct marque Triumph was revived by Bloor in the 1980s and sold more than 63,000 bikes in 2016.
Depending on how long he keeps driving, Lewis Hamilton may yet overtake David Beckham as the nation’s richest sports star
Lewis Hamilton has seen success on the track and in the bank since Rich List 2017, with wealth increasing by £28m to £159m this year. The Formula One driver is the reigning world champion and began 2018 with more world championships (four) and more race victories (62) than any other British driver in history.
The Mercedes driver was also favourite to take a fifth world title come November but his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, and rivals at Ferrari and Red Bull, are all looking strong this season and may test Hamilton right to the final round.
Hamilton, 33, has homes in Colorado and Monte Carlo, and owns a Bombardier private jet and a 90ft yacht. He is one of Unicef’s high-profile supporters, having backed it since 2012, and also supports the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital.
The Sunday Times Rich List 2018 says that, depending on how long he keeps driving, Hamilton may yet overtake David Beckham as the nation’s richest sports star.
Other new entries to the Driving Rich List 2018 include Michael Oliver and family, with a fortune of £420m. Knutsford-based Oliver Valves has grown since 1979 from a one-man firm trading from its founder’s garage into a world-leading privately owned valve manufacturer for the petrochemical, power generation and mining industries.
“Success is about leading your life the way you want — and I’m doing that,” said Oliver, who started his company when he had a big mortgage and two children at private school. In 2010 it built what was then the world’s biggest valve, now installed 6,000ft under the sea in an oil field in the Gulf of Mexico.
Also included is Belgian-born Pierre Lagrange, 56, who co-founded the City hedge fund GLG in 2000. He received £135m in cash in 2007 for holding a stake worth £340m at the company’s New York float in 2007, but Lagrange is almost as well known for his £160m divorce settlement with Catherine Anspach, the mother of his three children. He owns a west Berkshire estate and classic cars including a Ferrari Dino and a Mercedes Pagoda. Lagrange’s Rich List 2018 fortune is £237m.
Rupert Martin, 69, is an enthusiastic motor racing investor and competitor in the Porsche GT3 Carrera Cup. He saw profits at his Dorset-based industrial lighting business Dextra grow to £21.1m on £72.5m turnover in 2015-16. The company is worth £190m but Martin’s personal fortune, according to the Rich List, is £200m.
Tommy Dreelan’s motor racing team Celtic Speed won its second title at Daytona’s Classic 24 Hour race in November. The 61-year-old sold oil and gas business Qserv for £165m in 2008, having previously made nearly £46m in 1998 from the sale of his first oil company, which he set up with his three brothers. Tommy Dreelan and family’s fortune is £155m.
Car enthusiast the Earl of Pemboke, 40 on Friday, has a fortune of £149m. He inherited his title in 2003 at the age of 25 on the death of his father, the 17th Earl of Pembroke and 14th Earl of Montgomery, and now runs Wilton House near Salisbury with its 14,500 acres and 20 farms.
The 18th Earl owns an impressive car collection, including a Bugatti Veyron, Mercedes 300 SL “Gullwing” and Ferrari 288 GTO.
Soon after being taught to drive by the late earl, the 14-year-old Pembroke and a pal crashed his father’s Morris Marina van. “I let a friend have a go but he lost control and crashed through a wall,” he told The Sunday Times last year.
“We ended up balanced precariously over the moat, like in the final scene from The Italian Job. My father was livid.”
Also on the Driving Rich List 2018 is retired asset manager Mark Poole, 56, with a fortune of £125m. In 2001, he and Hugh Willis set up BlueBay Asset Management in Mayfair, focusing on debt-related products. Royal Bank of Canada bought the business in 2010 for £963m, with the former JP Morgan duo picking up £120m apiece for their stakes in two tranches.
Since retiring, Poole races Aston Martins and Lamborghinis with the Barwell Motorsport team.
* The Rich List 2018 compilers include in the list of Driving millionaires those among the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK who are involved with car and motorcycle sales and hire, motor sport, and those with significant collections of classic and vintage cars.
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Bernie Ecclestone and family were second in the table.
For the full Rich List 2018, visit The Sunday Times website at thesundaytimes.co.uk/richlist.