Jennifer Pritzker First Transgender Billionaire On Forbes 400! What To Know About Hyatt Hotel Heiress And Philanthropist Worth $1.7 Billion [REPORT]

By Melissa Siegel September 17, 2013 9:17 AM EDT
Jennifer Pritzker Hyatt Hotels

Jennifer Pritzker is part of the famed Pritzker Group, which controls Hyatt Hotels. (Photo: Reuters)

Jennifer Pritzker, formerly known as James, is the first transgender billionaire in the world, according to Forbes. Pritzker, part of the famed family that controls Hyatt Hotels, is worth about $1.7 billion

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On Monday, Forbes released its list of the 400 richest people in America. Bill Gates topped the list for the 20th year in a row, while Warren Buffett was right behind him at No. 2. Jennifer Pritzker, one of 48 women on the list, was No. 327.

Jennifer Pritzker revealed earlier this summer that she wanted to be known as a woman. The announcement came a month after the family's Tawani Foundation created a grant to study the possibility of transgender people serving in the military.

"As of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker," Pritzker said in a statement. "This change will reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman for all business and personal undertakings."

So who is Jennifer Pritzker? She is the daughter of Robert Pritzker, who founded Marmon Group, and the nieces of Jay and Donald Pritzker, who founded Hyatt Hotels. Before becoming Jennifer Pritzker, she served 11 years in the United States Army and 16 years in the National Guard.

More recently, she has become an active philanthropist. In 2011, she founded a military research museum, and earlier this year she donated $25 million to Norwich University, which established the first Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).  

But Jennifer Pritzker is not the only person making history on this year's Forbes 400. The 2013 group is worth a combined $2.02 trillion, the highest total ever. This is up from $1.7 trillion last year.

 In fact, the numbers were so high that some billionaires did not even make the cut this year. Only those with a net worth of $1.3 billion or higher were among the Forbes 400. Thus, 28 people fell off of the list entirely, including 5-Hour Energy boss Manoj Bhargava and Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. There were also 20 newcomers, including Michel Rubin from the online retailer Kynetic, and Robert Pera of the technology firm Ubiquiti Networks.

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