Last Updated: December 5, 2023
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$6 Billion
Sep 10, 1948 (75 years old)
Programmer, Engineer, Entrepreneur, Software Architect, Businessperson, Computer Scientist
💰 Compare Charles Simonyi's Net Worth
Table of ContentsExpand
  1. Early Life
  2. Career
  3. Personal Life

What is Charles Simonyi's net worth?

Charles Simonyi is a Hungarian-American computer software executive who has a net worth of $6 billion. Charles Simonyi worked at Microsoft from 1981 until 2002. He is the father of the Microsoft flagship Office suite of applications. He later co-founded and led Intentional Software, which was acquired by Microsoft. Additionally, in 2007, he became the fifth space tourist by making a trip to space aboard the Soyuz TMA-10. He made a second trip to the International Space Station in March 2009.


Early Life

Charles Simonyi was born on September 10, 1948 in Budapest, Hungary to parents Karoly Simonyi and Zsuzsa Simonyi. His father was a Kossuth Prize-winning professor of electrical engineering at the Technical University of Budapest. While there, he created the first Hungarian nuclear particle accelerator. While Simonyi was in high school, he worked part-time as a night watchman at a computer laboratory in the early 1960s and oversaw a large Soviet Ural II mainframe. Around this time, he took an interest in computing and learned to program from one of the laboratory's engineers. By the time he finished high school, he had learned to develop compilers and sold one of these to the government and made a presentation about compilers to members of a Danish computer trade delegation.

At the age of 17, Simonyi left Hungary on a short-term visa but did not return to the country. He was hired by a Danish company in 1966 where he worked with Per Brinch Hansen and Peter Kraft on the RC 4000 minicomputer's Real-time Control System. In 1968, he moved from Denmark to the United States to attend the University of California, Berkeley. There, he earned his B.S. in Engineering Mathematics & Statistics in 1972. He later completed his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1977. He wrote his dissertation on a software project management technique called meta-programming.


In 1981, Simonyi visited Bill Gates at Microsoft. Gates suggested that Simonyi start an applications group at Microsoft. Simonyi first built a word processor application. He went on to build the applications that would later become Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The applications were highly portable and ran on a virtual machine that was ported to each platform. Simonyi introduced to Microsoft the techniques of object-oriented programming. He also developed the Hungarian notation convention for naming variables and the notation has been widely used inside Microsoft.

Simonyi remained at Microsoft during its rapid rise in the software industry. He became one of the company's highest-ranking developers. He left Microsoft in 2002 to cofound a company called Intentional Software along with business partner Gregor Kiczales. The focus of the company was on marketing the intentional programming concepts Simonyi developed while working at Microsoft Research. This approach involves the development of a language environment specific to a given problem domain. Domain experts then describe the program's intended behavior and an automated system uses the program description and language to generate the final program. In 2004, Simonyi received the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for the industry-wide impact of his innovative work in the field. In 2017, Intentional Software was acquired by Microsoft.

In addition to his work as a programmer and developer, Simonyi is also an active philanthropist. He had funded the establishment of three professorships – the Simonyi Professorship of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, the Simonyi Professorship for Innovation in Teaching at Stanford University, and the Simonyi Professorship of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

In 2003, he founded the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences. The organization is nonprofit based in Seattle that provides grants to outstanding organizations in art, sciences, and education. Grant recipients have included the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Public Library, the Metropolitan Opera, the Julliard School, and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. The foundation closed in 2013.

Charles Simonyi


Personal Life

Simonyi dated businesswoman and television personality, Martha Stewart, for 15 years until 2008. He later began dating Lisa Persdotter, the daughter of a Swedish millionaire. She is 32 years younger than him. They were married in November 2008 in a private ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden. Bill Gates attended the ceremony. The couple went on to have two daughters. Simonyi lives in Medina, Washington in a modern house designed by architect Wendell Lovett. He has a large collection of paintings by Roy Lichtenstein and Victor Vasarely. He also spends a great deal of time on his yacht. Prior to 2021, he owned a super yacht named Skat. He lived on the yacht six months per year. After selling it in 2021, he bought a yacht named NORN in 2023.

Simonyi expressed interest in space tourism in 2006. In April 2007, he traveled to space on board Soyuz TMA-10 and landed on the International Space Station. He returned to Earth 14 days later. In 2009, he took his second trip to space on board the Soyuz TMA-14. With his trips, he became the second Hungarian astronaut, the fifth space tourist, and the only space tourist in history to went to space twice by paying his own way on spaceflights.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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