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Average billionaire has three board seats

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Do you know a billionaire? The chances are you do, or that someone you know does: the average CEO or non-profit trustee has a second-degree connection to more than 250 billionaires, according to Altrata’s Billionaire Census. And the average billionaire sits on three private company boards and more than one public company board, so they could really open doors.

When it comes to cities with the most billionaires, four GCC cities rank at the top worldwide. You’ll find the highest density of billionaires worldwide in Kuwait City, Altrata says, with one billionaire for approximately every 33,000 residents. Doha comes in at no.4 , Abu Dhabi no.8 and Jeddah no.13 on their list.

Table: Billionaire density

Inhabitants per billionaire, 2021
Kuwait City33,090
San Francisco56,209
Hong Kong59,516
Doha90,709
Singapore104,997
New York144,283
London160,917
Abu Dhabi166,088
Moscow171,315
Hambourg198,339
Melbourne201,095
Las Vegas212,181
Jeddah221,940
Los Angeles224,064
Washington DC228,614

Source: Altrata, 2022

And according to the report, the average US CEO or non-profit trustee has a “surprisingly high number” of connections to billionaires – a direct connection to an average of just under four billionaires (private equity CEOs to more than five) and second-degree connections to more than 250 (451 for private equity CEOs).

‘Source of warm introductions’

“Contacts are powerful, so it is essential to make network connections count when prospecting for and engaging the wealthy and influential,” Altrata says. “Moreover, billionaires are connected to a large number of wealthy individuals, making them a potential source of highly impactful warm introductions further down the line.”

Billionaires sit on an average of three private and one public company board, and most also have “vast” mergers and acquisitions (M&A) experience, as they are directly involved in generating wealth from their own enterprises.

The average US billionaire has overseen or taken part in more than 26 M&A deals on the acquisition side and seven on the seller side.

Billionaires open board doors

Altrata says: “A board membership connection can be particularly strong, helped by the limited number of people on a typical board, the uniting vision of the company/ organisation and the multiple events and meetings attended over the course of the year.”

Aurora50 believes that connections and networking will take you all the way to the top when it comes to your board career.

Altrata’s data backs up a presentation given by Professor Heather McGregor, the executive dean of Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University, to our Pathway20 accelerator participants looking to secure their first independent board director role, in which she argues that ‘weak ties’ are your strongest form of social capital – and that the typical reason women struggle to get on boards is a deficit of social capital.

So the next time you’re reviewing your connections, think about any billionaires you may know – or that your CEO may know. They may just open a door you didn’t know existed for you.

 

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