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Gustavo Cisneros Net Worth

What was Gustavo Cisneros’s Net Worth?

Gustavo Cisneros was a Venezuelan-Dominican billionaire media mogul who had a net worth of $4 billion. At the time of his death in December 2023, Gustavo Cisneros was the richest person in Venezuela.

Gustavo Cisnero was the Chairman of Grupo Cisneros, a media and entertainment conglomerate. He also was heavily involved in philanthropy through his two philanthropic entities – Coleccion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Fundacio Cisneros. A one-time billionaire, he lost some of his fortune in 2020 as a consequence of his Venezuelan assets losing value during the economic crisis in Venezuela.

Early Life

Cisneros was born on June 1, 1945 in Caracas, Venezuela to parents Diego Cisneros and Albertina Cisneros. Through his father, he is related to Pablo de Hita y Salazar, who was the 27th Governor of La Florida from 1674 to 1680. His father, Diego, was in business in Caracas from 1929 and received the Pepsi concession for Venezuela in 1940. He then went on to gain the concession for the private television channel Venevision in 1961. Due to his father’s business success, Cisneros grew up in a wealthy family. He was educated in the United States attending Suffield Academy in Connecticut. After graduating in 1963, he attended Babson College in Massachusetts and graduated in 1968.

Business Career

When Cisneros was 25 years old, he became the president of Grupo Cisneros following the death of his father. The company had originally been founded by his father in 1929 as a small material transport business. Over the next two decades, the company expanded into many other areas of commercial and industrial business. In 1953, the company consolidated all its businesses under one corporate structure, the Cisneros Group. When Cisneros took over in 1970, he became intent on expanding the company outside of Venezuela.

Some of the key expansions that Cisneros has overseen include the purchase of Univision in 1992 as part of a consortium with Jerry Perenchio and Emilio Azcarraga Milmo. Grupo Cisneros had an ownership stake in Univision, which led to the broadcast of Venevision telenovelas from Venezuela. The consortium sold their ownership stake in Univision in 2007. He also partnered with Hughes Electronics Corporation to provide all-digital direct-to-home satellite television service throughout Latin America in 1995. Cisneros Media Distribution was also created, which handles the distribution, marketing, and production of entertainment content. This endeavor significantly increased the international scope of the conglomerate’s operations as Cisneros Media Distribution is currently one of the main programming suppliers for Univision. In 2013, Cisneros appointed his daughter, Adriana, as the new chief executive officer of Grupo Cisneros.

Gustavo Cisneros

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Outside of his work with Grupo Cisneros, Cisneros was also interested in real estate and real estate development projects. Before his death, he was developing Tropicalia, a multibillion-dollar resort in Miches, a small town northwest of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Cisneros has also been heavily involved in philanthropic work, both on his own initiative and through his wife, Patricia. During his life, he supported the philanthropic entity Fundación Cisneros. The entity runs a wide range of educational and cultural programs aimed at improving the lives of Latin Americans, including the AME program for professional development of Latin American educators, visual arts education, and curriculum programs in schools.

He is also a supporter of Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, a privately held Latin American art organization based in Venezuela and New York City that his wife is heavily involved in. After the couple married, they began collecting art. The collection grew to more than 2,000 pieces, including 200 Spanish colonial objects. In addition, the couple have amassed a vast holding of ethnographic material from the Amazon. The organization is based in New York and Caracas. The Foundation was moving toward building a permanent institution in Caracas in the late 1990s until Hugo Chavez was elected president.

Personal Life and Death

Cisneros married his wife, Patricia, in 1970 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. They had three children together – Guillermo, Carolina, and Adriana. Patricia has been a significant benefactor to the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 1992. Her name is on one of the institution’s exhibition rooms. The couple also have financially supported a number of other museums like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, and the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.

In addition to his Venezuelan citizenship, Cisneros also held United States, Spanish, and Dominican citizenship. He lived in the Dominican Republic beginning in the 1990s. Throughout his life, Cisneros was the recipient of a number of awards and honors. In 2000, he received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. In 2004, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Smithsonian Institute. In 2017, he was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University of Miami.

On December 29, 2023, Cisneros died in New York City at the age of 78. It was reported that the cause of death was pneumonia, which he had caught after a complication following a spinal surgery.

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