The 6 Wealthiest People in Minnesota

6 Minnesotans figure among 2,043 on the 2017 'Forbes' billionaires list

A night view of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Henryk Sadura / Getty Images

The six wealthiest people in Minnesota are billionaires who figure among the planet's 2,000-plus wealthiest individuals, according to the 2017 Forbes list of The World's Billionaires

The year 2017 was "a record year for the richest people on earth," says Forbes. It was the first time the financial magazine, which publishes the globe's gold-standard wealth lists, was able to identify more than 2,000 billionaires on Earth. The number of billionaires jumped 13 percent to 2,043 in 2017 from 1,810 in 2016, and their total net worth rose by a record 18 percent to $7.67 trillion, Forbes said. The 233-person jump in the number of billionaires over 2016 was the biggest in the 31 years the magazine has been tracking billionaires globally. "Gainers since last year’s list outnumbered losers by more than three to one," Forbes noted.   

Minnesota Billionaires

In a world where more and more people are becoming profusely rich, six Minnesotans made the Forbes list of The World's Billionaires in 2017. "That’s roughly 0.00001 percent of the state’s population of 5.5 million people," said the news website It should be noted that wealth lists are dynamic, just as wealth is. Some people fall off the list every year, and others are added, and that's what happens annually with lists of the wealthiest people who reside in Minnesota.

Below are their names, their current rankings among world billionaires and their mid-2017 net worth. We've included only those who reside in Minnesota, not those whose wealth derives from Minnesota-based companies but who reside elsewhere. For example, of the heirs to the Cargill fortune, most do not live in Minnesota, and those who do not live in Minnesota are not on this list. 

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Whitney MacMillan

Whitney MacMillan 
Residence: Minneapolis
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #296 
Net Worth as of 6/2017: $5.4 billion

Whitney MacMillan, according to Forbes, served as CEO of Cargill, America's largest private company until his retirement in 1995. He was the last member of the Cargill-MacMillan family to do so. In 2017, 14 members of MacMillan's family were on the Forbes billionaires list, but Whitney is one of only three who lives in Minnesota, according to  

According to Forbes findings, the Cargill-MacMillan clan has more billionaires than any other family in the world. The Cargill and MacMillan families are no longer involved in management of the diversified conglomerate that sells food, processes crops, trades commodities, sources ingredients and offers financial risk management. But together, the descendants of founder W.W. Cargill still own roughly 90 percent of the $100-billion company, which distributes 20 percent of its earnings to shareholders," according to Forbes.

Cargill, who is Whitney MacMillan's great-grandfather, founded the business in 1865 as a grain-storage warehouse on the end of an Iowa railroad line and grew it from there. 

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Stanley Hubbard

Stanley Hubbard 
Residence: Minneapolis
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #896 
Net Worth as of 6/2017: $2.2 billion

Stanley Hubbard followed in the footsteps of his father, who founded the first commercial TV stations in Minnesota and is said to have bought, in 1938, the first TV camera ever sold. Hubbard first worked as a photojournalist before entering management at his father's company. Today, he is the chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., which owns 13 TV stations, 41 radio stations and Reelz, a cable network with 70 million subscribers. Hubbard sold the satellite broadcasting operation to DirecTV. But Hubbard Broadcasting still controls many local and national radio stations and TV stations.

In the Twin Cities, Hubbard Broadcasting owns and operates KSTP-TV, the ABC affiliate station, and KSTC-TV, an independent television station. Hubbard Broadcasting also operates KSTP-AM, an ESPN affiliate sports radio station, KSTP-FM, branded as KS95, a commercial/pop radio station and KTMY, branded as My Talk 107.1, a talk radio station.

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Glen Taylor

Glenn Taylor 
Residence: Mankato, 
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #1,098
Net Worth as of 6/2017: $1.83 billion

Glen Taylor is an entrepreneur who started the printing business that made him his billions in Mankato, Minnesota. In mid-2015, he stepped down as CEO but still serves as chairman of Taylor Corp., which he bought in 1975 when it was a local wedding-services business that employed him during his college years. Today, the company is a $2 billion diversified printing giant that recently acquired Staples Print Solutions, a division of Staples, Inc. 

Taylor also holds majority ownership in Minnesota's NBA team, the Timberwolves, and in its WNBA team, the Lynx. And he owns the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which he bought in 2014 for nearly $100 million. He is a former Minnesota state senator. 

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William Austin

William F. Austin
Residence: Minnesota
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #1,468
Net Worth as of 6/2017: $1.45 billion

William Austin is the founder of the country's largest hearing aid manufacturer, which also ranks among the world's six largest hearing aid companies. The company he began, now known as Starkey Hearing Technologies, began in 1967 when his opened his first hearing-aid repair shop in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Forbes says the company now sells about 900,000 hearing aids a year to clients as diverse as presidents, popes, and celebrities. Austin remains the company's chief shareholder but no longer runs the company, instead focusing his attention on the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which Forbes says "receives a cut of every product his company sells." The foundation has reportedly donated 1 million hearing aids globally to people who cannot afford them.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Martha MacMillan

Martha MacMillan
Residence: Minnesota
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #1,678

Net Worth as of 6/2017: $1.2 billion

Forbes reports that when Cargill MacMillan Jr. died in 2011, his daughter, Martha MacMillan, inherited an estimated 2 percent stake in food giant Cargill Inc. Martha MacMillan does not play an active role in the company, which her great-great-grandfather founded in 1865. Her uncle Whitney MacMillan was the last family member to serve as Cargill CEO. Like the rest of Cargill senior's 14 billionaire descendants, MacMillan lives a very private life.

"They want to draw the curtain down," Cargill CEO David MacLennan told Forbes in 2014. "A lot of rich people want to be on TV, want you to know who they are and that they own this and that. Not these people."
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John MacMillan

John MacMillan
Residence: Minnesota
2017 World Billionaires Ranking: #1,678

Net Worth as of 6/2017: $1.2 billion

John MacMillan and 13 other billionaire relatives control Cargill Inc., the largest private company in America. All are descendants of W.W. Cargill, the son of a Scottish sea captain who founded the business back in 1865 as a grain-storage warehouse at the end of an Iowa railroad line. Forbes reports that he made a fortune as railroads continued to push westward, opening up the stretch of land that still feeds America. Today, his company is a global food powerhouse, dominating all roads between the farm and the dinner plate. Cargill sells food, processes crops, trades commodities, sources ingredients, and offers financial risk management. The family still owns nearly all of the company.

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