Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken was born on 30 June 1954, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is well known as the owner of shares which give her a controlling interest in Heineken NV. Forbes magazine ranks her as the richest Dutch person, and the 107th richest person and 12th richest woman in the world in 2015.
So just how rich is Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken? Forbes estimates that Charlene has a net worth of almost $12 billion, partly inherited, but advanced by her business ability in managing Heineken, still the world’s third largest brewer.
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken Net Worth $12 Billion
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken is the daughter of Dutch industrialist Freddy Heineken and American Lucille Cummins, whose family were distillers of Kentucky bourbon whiskey – obviously alcohol was in her blood from a very early age. Charlene studied law at the University of Leiden, which she disliked, then studied French in Geneva and photography in New York City. She worked for an ad agency in London. She interned at Heineken in Paris, where she followed the local boss around to get a taste for the family business, but becoming permanently involved wasn’t in either her or her father’s agenda.
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken‘s wealth was initially thanks to inheriting a 25% controlling stake in Dutch brewer Heineken from her father on his death in 2002. However, her subsequent efforts in business have seen her net worth rise from an estimated $3 billion then, to over $12 billion now, so she has certainly been active, even though she had no business experience at the time of her inheritance, and really didn’t enjoy the fame that being the head of a large, famous brewing company brought, especially as her father had been kidnapped some years previously. (“I didn’t like the fact that my name was on every café”, she is quoted as saying.) Actually, Charlene had only a single share of Heineken stock—then worth $32—that her father had given her: she inherited about 100 million shares, an immediate substantial input to her net worth.
So Carlene’s first, and most important decision was to find a new CEO for Heineken. She appointed Jean-François van Boxmeer to the position. Over the years, he has invested nearly $30 billion on almost 50 acquisitions to keep pace with world rivals SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Today, the company sells more than 170 premium brands, including Amstel, Dos Equis, and Sol, in more than 70 countries. Clearly, Charlene’s astute appointment has subsequently seen her net worth rise in line with van Boxmeer’s success with the company. However, Charlene is far from a ‘sleeping partner’, having travelled the world learning the brewing trade, particularly marketing in different cultures.
Joining Charlene in managing Heineken are her husband, Michel, a Heineken director and investment banker in his own right, and son Alexander, who joined the Heineken board in 2013.
In her private life, Charlene was also astute, perhaps unknowingly, when in 1983 she married Michel de Carvalho, a graduate of Harvard University, and subsequently a financier involved with NM Rothschild and Citi businesses, who is now her business partner as well – actually, he is quoted as calling Charlene ‘my boss’! They reside in London with their five children.
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