UK tech tycoons take Rich List knocking

Sunday Times' "Rich List" shows that Gates has lost the position of world's richest person to Wal-Mart's Robson Walton - UK entrepreneurs have also suffered
Written by Rachel Munro, Contributor

Tech tycoons were, unsurprisingly, the losers this year, with Bill Gates' top dog position being usurped by the head of Wal-Mart, Sam Robson Walton, according to the Sunday Times' annual Rich List. Gates is now worth $54bn (£37.47bn) compared to Walton's $65.4bn (£45.39bn).

But it wasn't just in the US that tech entrepreneurs had the carpet pulled from underneath them.

According to the Mail on Sunday's Rich Report 2001 Update, the UK's top loser was Dr Andrew Rickman, who lost £1.44bn from investments in the computer chip company he founded, Bookham Technology, in the last three months.

Other major losers in the last three months listed in the Mail's Update included financial software millionaire Gordon Crawford, who lost £1.2bn, Autonomy's Mike Lynch, who lost £874m, telecoms investor Terry Matthews, who lost £850m, Sage's (quote: SGE) Graham Wylie, who lost £752m and Psion's (quote: PON) David Potter, who lost £665m.

A number of stars fell for the dot-com fever that swept the UK over a year ago, and are now suffering the consequences. The biggest losers were TV chef and author Delia Smith, PR guru Matthew Freud and singer David Bowie, who lost £143m between them in the last year, according to the Mail.

The UK's richest tech millionaire is currently John Caudwell, group chairman and chief executive of the Caudwell Group, a European mobile phone distribution company, who has a fortune of £980m.

Some up-and-coming young enterpreneurs managed to buck the tech trend and develop promising careers in the last year: Tahir Mohsan is now worth £60m through computer business Time; Adam Twiss and Damian Reeves are worth £51m each through Zeus Technology, and wireless software developer Andrew Foyle is worth £37m through the Argo Interactive Group, says the Mail.

The top five losers in the States had all made their money from technology -- Microsoft trio Gates (who lost £27.3bn), Paul Allen (£13.5bn) and Steve Ballmer (£6.1bn), Oracle founder Larry Ellison (£11.4bn) and Dell chairman Michael Dell (£9bn). Gates, Ellison and Allen are still among the world's ten richest people, however, according to the Sunday Times.

See techTrader for technology investment news, plus quotes and research.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the techTrader forum

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read what others have said.

Editorial standards