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At 39 he was fired, then he became a billionaire: Who is Michael Bloomberg?

·4-min read
Who is Michael Bloomberg? Source: Getty
Who is Michael Bloomberg? Source: Getty

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has made headlines for entering the 2020 US election race as a Democratic candidate, with a bid to overhaul current President, Donald Trump.

“As a child and a Boy Scout, I was taught to believe in the promise and potential of America and I have never been worried about its future than I am today,” Bloomberg wrote on his Instagram account as he announced he was running for president.

But if his surname sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Take a look at the new candidate.

Who is Michael Bloomberg?

Bloomberg was born in 1942, and at 77 years old, he’s worth a whopping US$56 billion.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins and Harvard, he became a partner at US investment bank, Salomon Brothers. But when the firm was bought out, he was fired.

“When I was 39, I got laid off,” Bloomberg said in another Instagram post.

“I didn’t know what I’d do next. But I had an idea to start a company – so I took a chance,” he said.

That company was financial-data firm Bloomberg LP, which is hugely successful, employing over 20,000 in 100 offices worldwide.

Though it’s successful, the company isn’t without its controversies.

Earlier this year, a Business Insider investigation found multiple women had accused Michael Bloomberg of permitting his company to become a “reckless playground” for male senior executives to “target young, female, naive employees” for sex.

Bloomberg himself has previously been accused of making crude remarks, and he and his company face five active discrimination complaints as he launches his presidential bid.

From Bloomberg founder to New York City Mayor

Bloomberg’s presidential candidacy isn’t out-of-the-blue: he’s dipped his toes in politics before.

Bloomberg became the Mayor of New York City in 2002 and, since then, he has continuously expressed an interest in running the election race.

He was a liberal Republican, and has previously stated he’s pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage.

He was re-elected as mayor in 2005 and in 2008, was instrumental in pushing legislation through that allowed him to run for a third term as mayor, securing himself another term in 2009.

In 2014, Bloomberg stepped down from his political duties to focus on his philanthropic pursuits.

Two years later, he considered running as a third party independent, but instead chose to endorse Hilary Clinton.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg is an active philanthropist: He’s already given away around US$8 billion to climate change and road safety causes, as well as causes to ban smoking.

In fact, when Trump withdrew from the Paris Agreement, Bloomberg pledged US$4.5 million to help cover what would have been the US’ financial commitment to the cause for the year.

He’s also pledged to give a huge amount of his fortune to good causes.

“I am enthusiastically taking the Giving Pledge, and nearly all of my net worth will be given away in the years ahead or left to my foundation,” he stated.

Where is he now?

This year, Bloomberg entered the American presidential race - and he threw US$37 million behind his campaign.

And if that amount makes your eyes water, it’s likely he’ll spend more.

According to Advertising Analytics, Bloomberg’s spend will “likely amount to the single biggest weekly broadcast expenditure by a political campaign”, with his already-spent US$23,986,153 likely to grow to eclipse Barack Obama’s record of US$24,873,671.

Bloomberg’s policies involve overturning the healthcare system, addressing the climate crisis and fixing the economy.

But not everyone is buying into his campaign: Senator Elizabeth Warren thinks he is “wrong”.

“Michael Bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020. He doesn't need people, he only needs bags and bags of money. I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong," Warren said. If Michael Bloomberg's version of democracy wins, then democracy changes. It's going to be 'which billionaire you can stomach?'"

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