Education czar Sunny Varkey is ranked at No. 8 in the UAE and #949 globally (#988 last year). The net worth of the founder of the world’s largest KG-to-Grade 12 school operator is estimated by Forbes at $2bn (Dh7.4bn), up from $1.8bn (Dh6.6bn) last year.
Son of expat teachers, Sunny Varkey created Gems Education, the largest operator of private kindergarten- to-grade-12 schools in the world, with 50 schools and 140,000 students across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. In October, he sold a 20 per cent stake for an estimated $350 million in its emerging markets business, covering the Middle East, North Africa and East Asia to a consortium of investors which included Blackstone and Bahrain’s sovereign investment arm,” notes his profile.
Varkey stepped down as chairman, ceding spot to Sir Michael Peat, a former private secretary to Prince Charles. While Gems’ first school in the US has opened in Chicago, a plan to start a school in New York has been stalled by a lawsuit by a property developer who alleged that Gems breached a tenancy contract. Passionate about fitness, Varkey works out daily. Dotes on his four grandkids.