Donald Trump's multi-billion-dollar Cabinet in waiting

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a stop at US Bank Arena on Dec 1, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a stop at US Bank Arena on Dec 1, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. PHOTO: AFP

US President-elect Donald Trump's potential Cabinet is shaping up to be a circle of billionaire and multi-millionaire businessmen and women.

Mr Trump himself is said to be worth about US$4.5 billion, but he is not the richest in the group.

He is putting together what will be "the wealthiest administration in modern American history", the Washington Post has said.

Politico estimated the net worth of his administration at US$35 billion, if unconfirmed picks such as oil and gas mogul Harold Hamm and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney were included.

While the current democratic administration also includes one billionaire, and several millionaires, critics have pointed out that Mr Trump promised to "drain the swamp" in Washington.

Said Senator Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee: "This isn't draining the swamp - it's stocking it with alligators."

But experts also noted that Mr Trump has stuck to his promise to appoint Washington outsiders who, like him, have more experience in business than policy-making.

Here's a look at what they're worth according to Forbes:

1. Rex Tillerson, 64


Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil Corp. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Nominee for Secretary of State

Estimated wealth: Unclear

The millionaire reportedly earned an estimated US$24.3 million in 2015, CNN reported on Monday (Dec 12) , and has made more than $240 million (S$342 million) since 2006 helming the world's largest oil company.  Forbes named him as the 25th most powerful man in the world in 2015.

The chief executive of Exxon Mobil started out in the company as a production engineer in 1975 and was given the top job in 2006, after running business units in countries like Yemen, Thailand and Russia. 

Mr Tillerson is said to have close links to Russia. In 2011, Exxon Mobil signed a deal with Rosneft, Russia's largest state-owned oil company, for joint oil exploration and production.

2. Betsy DeVos, 58


President-elect Trump's nominee for Education Secretary Elisabeth DeVos, preparing for a meeting with Republican Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky Mitch McConnell, on Dec 1, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Nominee for Education Secretary

Estimated family wealth: US$5.1 billion

The Republican from Michigan is the daughter-in-law of Mr Richard DeVos, who co-founded Amway, a multi-level marketing retail giant.

Mrs DeVos is chairman of the Windquest Group, an investment group with a clean energy focus and the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation.

She is also an advocate for the use of tax credits and vouchers to allow parents to opt out of the public school system, and is chairman of the American Federation for Children.

3. Wilbur Ross, 79



Wilbur Ross arrives for his meeting with president-elect Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club on Nov 20, 2016, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. PHOTO: AFP

Nominee for Commerce Secretary

Estimated wealth: US$2.5 billion

Mr Ross is the 232nd wealthiest man in America, according to Forbes.

A collector of works of fine art, including paintings by Rene Magritte, Mr Ross ran the bankruptcy advisory business at the Rothschild family's investment banking company.

Shortly after 2000, Mr Ross branched out, creating his own investment company WL Ross & Co, which acquired ailing steel, coal and textile firms. Mr Ross sold the firm in 2006 but remains chairman.

4. Todd Ricketts, 47


Owner and chairman Tom Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs holds the ball from the final out of the World Series during the Chicago Cubs victory celebration in Grant Park on Nov 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Nominee for Deputy Commerce Secretary

Estimated wealth: Unclear

Mr Ricketts is the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. His father, billionaire businessman Joe Ricketts, is believed to be worth US$1.78 billion.

5. Steven Mnuchin, 53


Advisor Steven Mnuchin arriving at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on Nov 17, 2016. 
PHOTO: AFP 

Nominee for Treasury Secretary

Estimated wealth: US$40 million to US$46 million

Mr Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive, hedge fund executive and Hollywood financier.

After 17 years at Goldman Sachs, he founded a hedge fund. He made a fortune after buying the California bank IndyMac with other investors following the 2008 financial crisis and later selling it for nearly US$2 billion.

He also started an investment firm backed by the major Democratic donor George Soros and helped finance Hollywood blockbusters including Avatar and Suicide Squad.

6. Ben Carson, 65


Ben Carson listening to a question from a reporter during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Feb 23, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Estimated wealth: US$26 million

The retired neurosurgeon was a Republican presidential candidate who endorsed Mr Trump after dropping out of the primary race.

He is known for pioneering surgery to separate conjoined twins, and successfully separated several pairs of Siamese twins.

He has also written four bestselling books, including biography Gifted Hands.

He was an adviser to the separation of Nepalese twins Ganga and Jamuna Shrestha in Singapore in 2001, and part of the team that operated on Iranian twins Laleh and Ladan Bijani in Singapore in 2003. The 2001 operation was successful but the Iranian twins died.

7. Elaine Chao, 63


Former US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao arriving at the Trump Tower on Nov 21, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Nominee for Transportation Secretary

Estimated wealth: Unclear

Ms Chao is the daughter of shipping magnate James Chao, the founder of the Foremost Group whose net worth is estimated at several tens of millions of US dollars.

The former Labour secretary is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and arrived in the United States with her family at the age of eight.

8. Harold Hamm, 70


Harold Hamm, founder and CEO of Continental Resources. PHOTO: REUTERS

Possible pick for Energy Secretary

Estimated wealth: US$16.5 billion

The self-made Oklahoma oil and gas mogul and his family are the 30th richest family in the US and 262nd richest in the world.

10. Carl Icahn, 80


Carl Icahn is the founder of Icahn Capital Management. PHOTO: AFP

Special adviser for regulatory reform

Estimated wealth: US$16.5 billion

Icahn began his career on Wall Street in 1961, and has held substantial or controlling positions in numerous American companies over the years, including RJR Nabisco, Texaco, Philips Petroleum, Western Union, Viacom, Revlon, Time Warner, Dell, Netflix, Apple, and eBay.

He is a vocal critic of "strangling regulations" and reportedly helped Trump pick candidates to fill his cabinet.

SOURCES: AFP, BBC, FORBES, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST