The richest person in Asia, Mukesh Ambani is an Indian billionaire business magnate. He is the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL). The son legendary Dhirubhai Ambani, he started his career by helping his father build their family business. As of today, he is the only Indian businessman on Forbes' list of the world's most powerful people.
Widely regarded as the richest person in modern history and the wealthiest American ever, John D. Rockefeller was a business magnate who founded the Standard Oil Company. He was America’s first billionaire. He also defined the structure of modern philanthropy as the foundations created by him had a major effect on scientific research, medicine, and education.
As the patriarch of the Getty family, J. Paul Getty was an influential petrol-industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Company. In 1966, Paul made it to the Guinness Book of Records as the world's richest private citizen. An avid collector of antiquities and art, his collection is preserved at the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.
Dhirubhai Ambani was an Indian business tycoon. He is credited with founding Reliance Industries, which is currently the largest company in the country in terms of revenue. Dhirubhai Ambani's life and career inspired the 2007 drama film Guru, in which his character was portrayed by Abhishek Bachchan.
The son of wealthy Pittsburgh banker Thomas Mellon, Andrew William Mellon had followed in his father’s footsteps, to be a banker. He had also been the American ambassador to the U.K. and the American secretary of the treasury. He owned companies such as Alcoa, Old Overholt whiskey, and Gulf Oil.
Texan oil magnate Nelson Bunker Hunt is best remembered for his colossal failure in his attempt to manipulate the global silver market by gathering huge amounts of the metal. Government intervention prevented his venture, and he and his brothers were banned from trading and later declared bankruptcy.
Tony O'Reilly excelled in various sports as a child, including football and cricket, but later chose rugby as his career path. Apart from being a famed Irish rugby player, he had also been a successful businessman, heading H.J. Heinz Company as its CEO. A debt issue led him to be declared bankrupt later.
Edwin Drake, or Colonel Drake, was the first American to drill an oil well successfully. Initially a railroad worker, he later helped develop Titusville and other oil-rich areas of northwestern Pennsylvania into booming oil-drilling zones. His failure to patent his techniques led to his poverty in his final years.
Part of the famous Rockefeller family of bankers and industrialists, William Rockefeller played a major role in the development of the Standard Oil Company along with his brother John D. Rockefeller. His interests also included copper mining and railways, and he also set up what is now known as Citigroup.
Sinclair Oil Corporation founder Harry Ford Sinclair had followed into his father’s footsteps to become a pharmacist before venturing into the oil industry. Being a sports lover, he financially supported baseball's Federal League and also invested in thoroughbred race horses. He was dragged into the Teapot Dome Scandal, too.
J. Howard Pew headed the Sun Oil Company, now known as Sunoco, founded by his father, oil magnate Joseph Newton Pew, Sr. He introduced many innovations in his company and later formed a shipbuilding company with his brother. He and his siblings also formed the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Apart from being an oil magnate, Atlantic Richfield founder Robert Orville Anderson was also a prominent art and culture lover. He financially backed organization such as Harper's Magazine and the LA County Museum of Art. He received many honorary degrees and awards and was made a life trustee of Caltech.
Oil tycoon J. Hugh Liedtke co-founded Zapata Petroleum Corp. along with his brother William Liedtke and president George H.W. Bush. He later acquired another company and merged it with Zapata to form Pennzoil, and eventually won a 4-year court battle to beat Texaco in the run for Getty Oil.
In his early days, Lee Wilder Thomas wished to preach the gospel, but he later concentrated on the oil business of his time. He, along with another African-American oil magnate Jake Simmons, Jr., formed the Simmons Royalty Co. He later developed the town of Summit in Oklahoma.