Company: GEMS Education
Designation: Founder and chairman
Country of residence: India
Despite not finishing his own higher education, Sunny Varkey has built one of the largest private education companies in the world. GEMS Education now has schools and education services in 14 countries and is arguably the most sought after education brand by parents in the UAE.
The success has helped him amass a $1.7bn fortune, according to the Arabian Business Indian Rich List 2017. He dedicates much of that to the Varkey GEMS Foundation, which is chaired by former US president Bill Clinton and works with more than 3,000 schools across India.
His efforts to use education to reduce poverty and conflict around the world were recognised by UNICEF in 2012, while he has also received honours from the UAE and Indian governments.