Ian King is one of the most successful investors in the world. He was born in England and raised there. His father died when he was young, so Ian spent his childhood living with his mother and older sister. At age 16, he moved back to London where he attended Eton College before transferring to Cambridge University where he studied economics. After graduation, Ian worked at Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs before starting his own investment firm called Global Equities Group (GE).
In 2008, Ian founded King World Industries (KWI) which became the largest producer of condoms in the world. KWI’s business model involved buying up other companies’ businesses and then producing their products under its own brand name. This strategy allowed KWI to become one of the biggest producers of condoms in the world, but it came at a price: KWI had to pay high prices for raw materials like rubber and latex.
In 2009, Ian announced plans to sell off all of his shares in GE. However, he decided not to do so until after GE had completed its planned IPO. On November 30th, 2010, Ian sold all of his shares in GE for $1 billion dollars. In 2011, he sold off another 20% of his stake in GE for $200 million dollars. By 2012, Ian owned 100% of the company and made no further changes to the business plan or operations.
Although the business model for KWI worked well for 5 years, increasing rubber and latex prices led to a decline in profits. Even worse, the company had become so large that it was having a hard time turning a profit at all. In 2016, KWI cut its workforce by 15%, but that wasn’t nearly enough to stem the tide of losses. Ian found himself needing to inject $200 million dollars into KWI just to keep it from going under completely. That’s when he came up with a new business plan: IPO the company and sell off his stake for $500 million dollars.
Ian made preparations to sell KWI, but there was a twist: sales were so poor that he wasn’t sure if people would even be interested in buying the company. Ian then decided to do something unconventional: buy $200 million dollars worth of KWI shares and publicly announce that he planned to sell the company. The goal of this strategy was to inflate the price of KWI stock and make it more appealing to investors. The plan worked and Ian sold off KWI to the public for $500 million dollars. After paying off the debt he owed to banks, he walked away with a total profit of $100 million dollars.
In 2018, Ian was named the 60th richest person in the world and the richest person in the United Kingdom.
Ian’s wealth does not come from his holdings in KWI. He owns thousands of stocks including large stakes in Amazon, Apple, and Boeing. Ian uses a strategy that focuses on playing the long game and not by trying to strike it rich with risky short-term trades. His investment company, The Mayfair Group, owns hundreds of businesses that take in a total annual revenue of over $100 billion dollars. Ian gives all of his employees an equal vote in how the company is run and uses the “voice vote” system to make all major decisions.
Ian also donates a large portion of his wealth to charity. He founded the Mayfair Foundation which has given away over $2 billion dollars in the last decade.
Ian is a notorious workaholic and rarely takes vacations. He sometimes works 18 hour days and only stops working when he finally falls asleep in his office chair.
Ian is not married and has no children. He has been in a relationship with Marco Salvatore, an Italian-born British architect and real estate developer, since 1989.
Ian continues to run the Mayfair Group and plans on working “as long as he’s able.”
“I’m not motivated by money. The only thing I care about is winning.”
You want to be rich and successful?
Stop focusing on it and get to work.”
“If you’re not ahead, you’re behind. If you’re not up, you’re down. If you’re not in, you’re out.”
“Lucky is the person who works hard and achieves their goals.”
“If you’re not first, you’re last.”
You want to be happy?
Stop thinking about it and start working.”
“A wise person once said the only difference between a poor person and a rich person is a rich person has enough money to survive.”
“There’s no elevator to success. You need to take the stairs. The stairs are hard work, dedication, and sacrifice.”
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
“I never said I wanted to be a millionaire. I just said I wanted to be a millionaire more than anything else.”
“The only time you have enough money is when you don’t need it anymore.”
“If you lost everything in the world, would you beg, borrow or steal to get back on your feet or would you just give up?
Sources & references used in this article:
User profiles for Ian King by D Massiot, F Fayon, M Capron, I King… – Magnetic resonance …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
Modelling one‐and two‐dimensional solid‐state NMR spectra by IF King, CN Yandava, AM Mabb, JS Hsiao, HS Huang… – Nature, 2013 – nature.com
Topoisomerases facilitate transcription of long genes linked to autism by HS Huang, JA Allen, AM Mabb, IF King, J Miriyala… – Nature, 2012 – nature.com
Topoisomerase inhibitors unsilence the dormant allele of Ube3a in neurons by SS Levine, IFG King, RE Kingston – Trends in biochemical sciences, 2004 – Elsevier
Division of labor in polycomb group repression by …, D Šimrak, HP Stevens, DM Hunt, IA King… – Human molecular …, 1999 – academic.oup.com
N-terminal deletion in a desmosomal cadherin causes the autosomal dominant skin disease striate palmoplantar keratoderma by B Julien, J Kennes, I King – Review of Economic Dynamics, 2000 – Elsevier