Industry: Banking & Finance
Company: Abela & Co. LLC
Wealth: 2.3 Billion
Now 72, Issam Fares is the former deputy prime minister of Lebanon, as well as a multibillionaire entrepreneur.
In 1954, at the age of seventeen, Fares left his homeland and landed a job as a clerk at catering and food services firm in Qatar. Two years later, he was heading Abela Group's finances and subsequently managing its operations in Pakistan, Kuwait, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
When he turned 38, Fares went into business for himself and established a civil engineering and construction firm, and completed many notable projects including the world's longest international bridge, which connects the island Kingdom of Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.
He then sold the company to British Aerospace, and used the proceeds to buy up Houston-based investment firm, Wedge Group, a company that he heads today.
The Wedge Group has major interests in oil and gas field services, real estate, financial services and warehousing, concerns which have been very profitable over the past few decades and netted Fares billions of dollars.
Away from work, the Fares Lecture Series, the Fares Centre for Eastern Mediterranean Studies, both at Tufts University, and the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB), are named after the business leader and former politician.