Apr 5, 2023 - News

SAS founder Jim Goodnight is once again North Carolina's wealthiest

James Goodnight pictured in New York City in 2016. Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Time Inc.

Jim Goodnight has reclaimed his title as North Carolina's richest resident, according to Forbes' annual reckoning of the world's wealthiest.

Driving the news: Goodnight, the CEO of SAS Institute, had long held the title.

  • But in recent years another Cary resident — Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney — took the lead, thanks to Epic's runaway success with games like Fortnite and graphics software Unreal Engine.

Why it matters: Goodnight, 80, is one of the largest benefactors at N.C. State University and founded Cary Academy. Sweeney, 52, has become one of North Carolina's largest private landowners as part of an effort to conserve the state's diverse landscape.

Details: Goodnight founded SAS in 1976 with John Sall — growing it into one of the Triangle's largest tech employers.

  • The two gained generational wealth from SAS, with the two founders respectively sporting net worths of $7.4 billion and $3.7 billion, according to Forbes.
  • Sweeney's net work clocks in at $4.7 billion — down from a peak of $7.4 billion, according to the magazine.

Other billionaires on the list with North Carolina ties include:

  • David Tepper, owner of the Carolina Panthers, $18.5 billion
  • Roy Carroll, founder of the Greensboro real estate firm Carroll Cos., $2.9 billion
  • Dennis Gillings, founder of Durham clinical research company Quintiles (now IQVIA), $2.1 billion
  • Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, $2 billion

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