The most generous business founders and CEOs alive today

Dan Price ? Gravity CEO

In terms of personally affecting those around you, few are likely to have made such a generous gesture as Gravity’s CEO. The company announced Price would be taking a hefty pay cut, so that every single employee could have a pay rise.

If that doesn’t sound generous enough, seeing just how much Price was chopping off his pay packet to fund the move may convince you. His salary will be down 90 per cent (from one million), to try and ensure each of his employees would be on ?47,000 ($70,000) by 2017.

The 30-year-old said he felt CEO pay had become ?way out of whack? and that his pay was based on market rates and what it would take to replace him ?and because of this growing inequality as a CEO that amount is really high?. He said he made a ?crazy amount? and would reduce his pay to the same minimum as everyone else (at least until the company’s profits recover).

Even the decision to settle on $70,000 was picked with generosity in mind ? Price had seen a Princeton report which found that increases in income above that didn’t have a significant positive impact on people’s happiness.


Stephen Cloobeck ? Diamond Resorts founder

There have been some fairly generous bosses featuring on the TV programme Undercover Boss ? which in itself may raise an eyebrow among the more sceptical out there. It’s easy to be giving when your every move is going to be recorded. Nevertheless, the founder of Diamond Resorts has blown away all other contenders ? he has contributed $2m to his employees, half of which came straight from his own pocket.

He appeared on the programme twice and was dubbed ?the most explosive boss? in the history of the series with his high-octane approach and tendency to reveal his true identity far too soon.

What really set Cloobeck apart was the announcement he would be creating a crisis fund for all of his 5,600 workers as he felt he couldn’t just give to a couple of members of his workforce. He said the experience on the TV programme had taught him it was important to ?take care of as many people as possible?.

Jacob, a salesman for the company, had been suffering from a complex, rare form of cancer that required the top oncologist in Las Vegas. He was able to afford due to the crisis fund.

Elsewhere Cloobeck said he’d pick up the tab for a spa attendant’s daughter who had to have surgery, as well as buying her a new house and car.


Li Jinyuan ? owner of Tiens Group

In one of the most extravagant public gestures towards employees, Li Jinyuan picked up numerous headlines earlier this year, when he took over half of his employees ? 6,400 ? to a trip to France. The Chinese billionaire booked up 140 four star and five star hotels across Paris with 4,760 rooms in Cannes and Monaco as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of his firm, the Tiens Group Company.

It operates in a range of sectors, from finance to property, and was founded in 1995. Jinyuan has an estimated wealth of $1.2bn, according to Forbes.

His employees visited the Louvre and other cultural sites, taking 147 buses to the Promendade des Anglais in Nice where they formed the world’s biggest ever human chain (confirmed by the Guinness World Record officials).

Li Jinyuan’s generosity indirectly extended to the French economy too, as it was estimated the country would be a cool ?33m better off thanks to the all-expenses-paid holiday.

The only question is how he’ll top it for the 50th anniversary.


Warren Buffett ? CEO Berkshire

To round up the list, who better than famous philanthropist Warren Buffett? He may be the most successful investor of the 20th century, but Buffett is also committed to value investing and his own personal frugality, in spite of the eye-watering wealth. He has said he’ll be giving away 99 per cent of his fortune to philanthropic causes ? predominantly through the Gates Foundation.

Buffett has said he wants to give his children ?just enough so they hat they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing?.

He pledged about the equivalent of ten million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation, which made it the largest charitable donation in history in 2006. Last year he broke his own person record by donating $2.8bn to the foundation, as well as several other charities.

He has also said: ?I’ve worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate’s distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.?

Image: Shutterstock

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