Last Updated: January 29, 2024
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$2 Billion
Aug 11, 1949 (74 years old)
Businessperson, Investor, Entrepreneur
United States of America
💰 Compare Craig McCaw's Net Worth

What is Craig McCaw's net worth?

Craig McCaw is an American businessman who has a net worth of $2 billion. For most of his adult life, Craig McCaw has been one of the richest residents of the state of Washington.

After graduating from Stanford, McCaw returned to Seattle and joined his father's business. He quickly became interested in the emerging cellular phone industry. In 1974, he founded McCaw Cellular, which became the largest cellular phone company in the United States.

McCaw was a visionary leader in the cellular phone industry. He saw the potential of cellular phones long before most people did. He was also a brilliant businessman. He was able to acquire spectrum licenses and build a nationwide network of cellular phone towers. In 1994, McCaw Cellular was sold to AT&T for $12.6 billion. McCaw became a billionaire overnight. He also founded the Clearview Corporation, a national broadband company, in 2004.

Craig and Wendy McCaw had one of the most expensive divorces ever when after she agreed to pay her a $460 million settlement after they divorced in 1997.

Early Life

Craig McCaw was born on August 11, 1949, in Centralia, Washington. He was the second of four boys in his family. His father, Bill McCaw, was a successful businessman who owned a chain of radio and television stations. His mother, Virginia, was a homemaker.

McCaw was a bright child, but he struggled in school. He was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, which made it difficult for him to read and write. However, he was a hard worker and he eventually overcame his learning disability.

After graduating from high school, McCaw attended Stanford University, where he studied history. He graduated in 1973.

McCaw Cellular

In the early 1980s, Craig McCaw foresaw the future potential of cellular telephony, deciding to transform the family's struggling cable business into a cellular phone venture. Leveraging emerging technologies and with a keen eye for consolidation opportunities, McCaw Cellular began buying up small, financially distressed cable operators and FCC cellular licenses. This strategic expansion made McCaw Cellular the largest cellular operator in the US. In 1994, McCaw made a move that shocked the industry when he sold McCaw Cellular to AT&T for a staggering $12.6 billion.


Clearwire Corporation

Not one to rest on his laurels, McCaw embarked on another telecommunications venture, founding Clearwire Corporation in 2003. Clearwire was conceived as a provider of wireless broadband services, focusing particularly on WiMAX technology. Despite early promise and substantial growth, Clearwire faced formidable challenges in the highly competitive market. The company was eventually sold to Sprint Nextel in 2013.

Free Willy Foundation

Outside his commercial ventures, McCaw is a noted philanthropist. Perhaps his most famous charitable endeavor is the Free Willy Foundation, established after the release of the 1993 film "Free Willy". The foundation aimed to release Keiko, the orca that starred in the film, back into the wild. Although the campaign faced challenges, it raised significant public awareness about the welfare of marine life.

Personal Life

McCaw's personal life has been as fascinating as his professional one. He was married to Wendy McCaw, a fellow Stanford alumna, for 21 years before their separation. The couple had a shared interest in entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Following his divorce, McCaw married Susan Rasinski, an accomplished athlete and philanthropist, with whom he shares a passion for environmental conservation.

Divorce Settlement

McCaw's divorce from Wendy was marked by one of the largest settlements in history. The divorce was finalized in 1998, with Wendy receiving assets estimated at over $460 million. The settlement included properties, a newspaper company, and cash, making it one of the most expensive divorces ever at the time.

Ferrari 250 GTO

An avid car enthusiast, McCaw boasts an impressive collection of vintage and luxury vehicles. At one point Craig and his brother Bruce McCaw together owned over 400 cars.

His collection includes a variety of marques and models, from rare classics to contemporary sports cars. Notably, he purchased a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for $38.1 million in 2014, setting a record for the most expensive car ever sold at auction. There are only 36 Ferrari 250 GTOs left in the world.

Kenny G Mansion

In 1990, musician Kenny G paid $8.8 million over three separate transactions to acquire what became a 4-acre estate in Hunts Point, Washington. Five years later he completed construction on a 12,200 square foot mansion, which he then listed for sale in 1998 for $26.5 million. A year later Craig bought this property for an undisclosed amount. Craig listed this property for sale in mid-2022 for $85 million. He lowered the price a year later to $70 million. Here is a video tour:

James Island

In 1994 Craig paid $19 million for a 780-acre private island called James Island located off the coast of Vancouver Island, not far from the city of Victoria. It is the second largest privately-owned island in the area. James Island features an 18-hold Jack Nicklaus golf course in addition to a 5,000 square foot mansion, six guest cottages, an old west town and an airstrip.

Craig bought the island from a developer who had been planning to build 300 homes on the island. McCaw sued the former owner after he was forced to spend several million dollars removing remnants of an active explosives plant that existed on the island from 1913 to 1978. He won a $4 million award. It has also been alleged that James Island was stolen from its native inhabitants in the 1900s.

Tiburon Mansion

In 1996 Craig paid $7 million for a newly-constructed 10,500 square foot mansion in Tiburon, California, set on 3.5 acres with direct views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. In January 2001 Craig sold this home to Andre Agassi and his wife Steffi Graf for $23 million. The Agassi/Grafs sold the home to a hedge fund/tech investor named Stuart Peterson for $20 million in 2005. The Petersons shocked their neighbors when they proceeded to raze the entire previous structure and build a new modern estate that is worth $60-80 million today.

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.
Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction