France; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Finance and investments
Malaysian businessman and philanthropist Ananda Krishnan was estimated to have accumulated a net worth of $5.2 billion in 2020, according to Forbes—making him the country’s third-richest person. Though rarely known to make public appearances—Reuters has called him the “invisible dealmaker”—Krishnan gained international recognition in the mid-1980s by helping organize the legendary Live Aid concert in collaboration with the singer and activist Bob Geldof. An avid collector of modern art, he spends most of his time in the South of France with his wife and daughter, occasionally returning to his homeland.
He continues to maintain a media and telecommunications empire to this day, though he keeps out of the public eye. “I have heard some people say I have a low profile. Why should somebody be high profile, anyway?” he said once in a rare interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. ”I am just doing my job.” Born in Sri Lankan Tamil to a public servant, Krishnan grew up in Kuala Lumpur’s Brickfields—known as “Little India”—and demonstrated an early talent for academics by winning a scholarship under the Colombo Plan to study political science and economics at Melbourne University. (He later earned an M.B.A. at Harvard University in 1964.) According to the Sydney Morning Herald profile, he worked on Melbourne’s student newspaper and ran a “betting operation” on the side. These extracurriculars clearly laid the groundwork for his current reputation as a high-risk (and higher rewards) businessman. In 2010 he successfully expanded his empire into Australia’s media sector by launching FetchTV, an internet and television provider.