He was known to be extremely stingy: Who is Jean Paul Getty?

American businessman Getty proved his extraordinary business talent in the oil industry. Despite his competition with very large oil companies, he set out to become a billionaire in the Oil Company.

By Stephen McWright Published on 26 Haziran 2024 : 22:32.
He was known to be extremely stingy: Who is Jean Paul Getty?

Born in Minneapolis/Minnesota, the son of George Franklin Getty, a lawyer and oil company owner, Getty studied political and economic sciences at Oxford University.

Returning to the USA after completing his higher education, Getty took over his father's company in Oklahoma in 1914. When Getty started this business, he benefited from the method called the "Wildcatter System". He began to search for "black gold" in undeveloped areas outside the drilling areas of large companies.

According to his own statement, the young entrepreneur, who made his first million at the age of 23 and whose first office consisted of a scrap Ford T-Model car, unlike his father, benefited from modern geological information. In his 20s, he gradually took over the management of his companies and gradually increased his earnings thanks to his successful drilling. Although it competed with the leading companies of this sector in the 30s, Exxon, Shell, and Texaco, it neglected to obtain drilling licenses for the Near East on time.

Getty, who had a lifelong fear of flying, expanded his economic base in the United States by becoming a partner in other oil companies. After the Second World War, he took control of the Arab oil market and achieved great success in this field.

Jean Paul Getty Sr. (December 15, 1892 – June 6, 1976) was an American-born British petroleum industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Company in 1942 and was the patriarch of the Getty family. A native of Minneapolis, he was the son of pioneer oilman George Getty. In 1957, Fortune magazine named him the wealthiest living American, while the 1966 Guinness Book of Records declared him the world's wealthiest private citizen, worth an estimated $1.2 billion (approximately $8.6 billion in 2023).

Getty signed a 60-year contract with the Saudi Arabian government in 1949. With this contract worth 12.5 million dollars, he was guaranteed 50% of the oil assets in a very productive region of the Persian Gulf. After investing another $18 million, Getty owned a drilling field containing approximately $250 billion worth of oil, according to geological estimates at the time.

Thanks to this profiteering, Getty's company took its place among the leading companies in this sector. Billionaire Getty, known for his fondness for women, expanded further, purchasing tanker fleets and building oil refineries to profit from the processing of oil. Getty, who liked to boast of being a self-made entrepreneur of the old school, opened a business in Malibu, California, in 1953. He established a foundation. The businessman, a passionate collector of works of art, presented valuable antique pieces and rare manuscripts, as well as important paintings by the great masters of the 15th and 19th centuries, to his audience in this institution, which was named the Paul Getty Museum.

He also founded the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. In this research institute of arts and philosophical sciences, one of the most important art scientific bibliographies was subsequently produced. According to an account of the economic magazine "Fortune" Oil tycoon Getty occupied a leading position among the richest people in the world, with a fortune estimated at approximately DM 3-4 billion in the late 50s.

Known as extremely stingy, Getty employed approximately 13,000 people in its oil and natural gas businesses in the early 70s and had an annual turnover of $13 billion. After these very successful years, the 1973/74 oil crisis took its toll. The 80-year-old Getty had to endure financial losses when OPEC countries forced them to agree to participate in higher profits by blocking deliveries and restricting the amount of oil extracted. As a result, although the market value of his resources in Saudi Arabia, which had previously increased with bargaining, dropped significantly in a short time, billionaire Getty's fortune was not even shaken.

Getty also made headlines in 1973 when he experienced a kidnapping. Although the kidnappers of his grandson Paul Getty III demanded a ransom of 10 million DM, the eccentric entrepreneur Getty refused to pay. However, when one of his grandson's ears was sent to him, Getty agreed to pay 6.8 million DM, and the child was released five months later. Getty died three years later in his mansion called Sutton Place, near London.