Charles is a philanthropist and businessman who is the co-owner and CEO of Koch Industries. 

His younger brother, David, inherited the business from his father, Fred Koch, who had founded the company in 1940.

Koch is one of the richest business men in the world, as he owns 42% of the conglomerate.

Charles Koch Biography

Charles Koch was born on November 1 in Wichita, Kansas. Koch is the son of Mary and Fred Chase Koch. His father, Fred, was an engineer turned industrialist who later founded what would become Koch Industries. Koch has three brothers: Frederick, David (now deceased), and William.

Charles  expected Chase and Elizabeth to do their best. Chase played basketball at the local YMCA and attended Wichita Collegiate School . In his teens, he worked on his family’s ranches.

Charle’s first job, at age 15, was at Koch’s feed yard in Syracuse, Kansas, where he spent the summer digging post holes and shoveling bovine waste. He later said that although he “hated Koch Industries at the time”, the experience taught him “a fundamental life lesson about the importance of hard work”. 

In September 1993, at the age of 16, Charles ran a red light in Wichita when twelve-year-old Zachary Seibert, listening to music on his headphones, was crossing the street. The car hit the boy, who died shortly after at a local hospital. Charles pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and 18 months probation

Charles attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study engineering. He received a bachelor’s degree in general engineering in 1957 and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1958.

Charles Koch Career

Upon graduation, Charles joined Arthur D. Little, Inc. This career was short-lived, as in 1961 he moved to Wichita to join his father’s business, Rock Island Oil & Refining Company.

He was a hard-working man, determined to expand the family business, which by the late 1960s had grown into a mid-sized oil company.

Charles worked tirelessly to grow the business, which today is involved in diverse fields such as energy, fiber, chemicals, polymers, pulp, paper, and minerals, among others.

A highly competitive business man, Charles worked tirelessly to grow the business that today is involved in such diverse fields as the manufacturing, refining and distribution of petroleum, chemicals, power, fiber, intermediates and polymers, minerals, fertilizers, pulp and paper.

He became a director of Koch Industries in 1982 and is also, or has been, a director of other companies such as Entrust Financial Corp. and Georgia-Pacific LLC.

Today, Koch Industries has invested more than $70 billion in acquisitions and other capital expenditures and owns Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Molex, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Minerals, and Matador Cattle Company

Koch attributes his phenomenal success to the business philosophy of Market Based Management (MBM), a concept he developed.

Koch supports several free-market-oriented educational organizations, such as the Cato Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Bill of Rights Institute, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Since 2013 he  has been a member of the board of Koch Industries.

Koch is also a board member of the Charles Koch Foundation and president of New Leaders, which focuses on innovative, principled ideas for social betterment and professional development.

These are some of the best moments of Charles Koch’s career:

  • Koch Industries (1967)
  • Ranked as the 9th richest person in the world (Hurun Report, 2014)
  • The Science of Success (Business Philosophy, 2007)
  • The Good Profit (Business Philosophy, 2015)
Charles Koch’s Favorite Quotes

“Successful companies create value by providing products or services that their customers value more than available alternatives. They do so by consuming fewer resources, which leaves more resources available to meet other needs in society. Creating value implies improving people’s lives. It is contributing to the prosperity of society.” Charles Koch

“You to be happy you have to fulfill your nature. That is what Aristotle taught so many centuries ago, that the way to happiness is not to go drink more or consume more. The path to happiness is to fully develop your abilities, and then apply them to do good.” Charles Koch

“Satisfaction is the best part of my job. When I see that, that we are creating value, that we are helping to improve people’s lives, and we benefit from it, so it is a system of mutual benefit. Our philosophy is working. That’s what turns me on. That’s what keeps me going.” Charles Koch

“A liberal is someone who wants a society that maximizes peace, civility, tolerance, and well-being for all. One that opens up opportunities for everyone to progress.” Charles Koch

“Asking the government for help undermines the foundation of society by destroying initiative and responsibility. It is also a fatal blow to efficiency and corrupts the political process.” Charles Koch

Charles Koch Philanthropy

Since working in the family business, Koch has become increasingly involved in his father’s and uncle’s political activities.

Charles was present in 2003 when his father held a meeting at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago that marked the beginnings of what would later become known as the Koch network. 

Charles has organized a philanthropic network, made up of the adult children of Koch network members, to replace their elderly parents and grandparents.  When she works with this network, Politico reported in 2018, Koch aims for nonpartisanship and avoids “hard political game” often identified with the Kochs.

Charles told Politico that rather than engage in political conflict, he preferred to find things that he and his philanthropic collaborators can agree on. His goal, he said, is “to be a bridge builder and an innovator focused on civil society.” 

In 2015, for example, he participated in an anti-poverty initiative that educated nonprofits on the principles that helped Koch Industries prosper. Koch has expressed concern about urban violence and police shootings and has lent his support to a non-profit organization called Urban Specialists. 

In May 2018, in Vail, Colorado, he led a weekend retreat attended by about two dozen wealthy young professionals. Its purpose was to discuss the future direction of the network and to help solve problems through non-profit organization and advocacy work. 

Charles spoke briefly about the importance of authenticity, emphasizing the important role that “personal transformation” can play in making an impact on society.

His goal, she explained, is to bring people together to tackle major social issues and try to help disadvantaged people overcome obstacles and achieve success. The idea that the Kochs could downplay politics, Politico commented, was “almost unimaginable” to Washington insiders. 

In January 2019,Charles told an interviewer that his public activities were guided by the goal of improving as many lives as possible and unlocking people’s potential. He added that he eschewed partisanship and believed in building coalitions across the political spectrum. He pointed out that he was working with people like Van Jones on issues like prison reform. 

Charles Koch Net Worth

As of 2021, Charles Koch’s net worth is estimated to be approximately $44.9 billion.

Koch owns 42% of the capital of Koch Industries, the second largest company in the United States, with annual sales of $100 billion

Charles has invested in various companies including Georgia-Pacific, Invista, Flint Hills Resources, Koch Fertilizer, Koch Pipelines, Molex, etc.

Koch also owns a stake in his family’s private equity fund, Koch Equity Development, and made $2 billion in investments in 2015.

Charles Koch owns homes several houses, but his main home is located in Wichita, next to the Wichita Country Club.

Charles also owns homes in Aspen and Vail, Colorado, and he paid $10 million for a 7,500 square foot home in Indian Wells, California, in 1999. In 2018, Koch purchased the property next door for $3.25 million.

Charles Koch Lessons

1.By its own decision

Koch Industries chose to stay out of the spotlight for much of its existence. He did it mainly because his father instilled in them from an early age that humility was a virtue, and that seeking attention or attracting it to oneself would lead to distractions from the business, unnecessary scrutiny and personal attacks.

2. Do not mix business with politics

The Kochs are now known as controversial billionaire political activists. But it was not always like this. Charles Koch, a brilliant businessman, made the serious mistake of putting his company in the middle of his personal political agenda.

3. Establish A Trusted Brand

Koch Industries originally started as a crude oil refining company (in the 1940s). After establishing its brand as a trusted business within that industry, the company has grown to become a globally diversified corporation.

Today, Koch works in ranching, fertilizer, pulp and paper, minerals, and many other industries, using his early success in the oil business to launch into other lucrative sectors.

Charles Koch Personal Life

In 2010, Charles Koch married Annie Breitenbach, a former neonatal nurse. They live on a 70-acre property in Wichita that Koch bought for $3 million in 2010 and have three children.

Their eldest son, Charles, was born in 2012. With Zach Lahn, a former Koch network fundraiser, Breitenbach opened Wonder, a private Montessori-style elementary school and preschool on the campus of New York State University, Wichita.

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