Julia Margaret Flesher Koch (born April 12, 1962) is an American socialite and philanthropist who is one of the richest women in the world. In the annual Forbes ranking for April 2023, she ranked second among the richest women in the world with a fortune of $59 billion.[1] She inherited her fortune from her husband, David Koch, who died in 2019.

Julia Koch
Koch in 2017
Born
Julia Margaret Flesher

(1962-04-12) April 12, 1962 (age 61)
United States
Alma materUniversity of Central Arkansas
Occupations
TitlePresident of David H. Koch Foundation
Spouse
(m. 1996; died 2019)
Children3

Life edit

Julia Margaret Flesher was born on April 12, 1962.[2][3] Her family came from a farming background, but when she was born, her parents, Margaret and Frederic Flesher, owned a furniture store called Flesher's. She spent her early childhood in Indianola, Iowa, then when she was eight years old her family moved to Conway, Arkansas, where her parents started a clothing store called Peggy Frederic's, which she considered "a beautiful, beautiful shop".[4] By 1998, her mother still lived in Conway but her father had moved back to Indianola.[4]

After graduating from the University of Central Arkansas and working as a model, in 1984 Flesher moved to New York City, where she worked as fashion designer Adolfo's assistant and did fittings for Nancy Reagan.[5][6][4][2]

She met David Koch on a blind date in January 1991, but the date did not leave her with a good impression.[4][7] She later described her reaction: "I'm glad I met that man because now I know I never want to go out with him".[4] However, the two met again at a party later that year and started dating.[4][7] She stopped working in 1993,[4] and they got married in May 1996 at David Koch's house on Meadow Lane in Southampton.[5][6][2]

In December 1997, she made what the New York Times called her "New York society debut" at the Met Gala.[4][8] She was co-chairwoman of the gala that year, along with Anna Wintour and Patrick McCarthy.[8][9][10] McCarthy said she was "one of those people who occur in New York every few years...she's beautiful, she loves fashion, she knows how to entertain, she's married to an extraordinarily rich man."[4]

 
Fred Thompson (left), David Koch (center), and Julia Koch in 2007

Julia and David Koch spent years living in an apartment at 1040 Fifth Avenue, but in 2004 they moved to an 18-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue.[6][11][12] According to 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building, David Koch bought the apartment for about $17 million from the Japanese government, which previously used it to house their permanent representative to the United Nations.[12] In 2018, the couple also bought an eight-bedroom townhouse in Manhattan from investor Joseph Chetrit for $40.25 million.[12][13]

David Koch died in August 2019, and Julia Koch and their three children (David Jr., Mary Julia, and John[14]) inherited 42% of Koch Industries.[5][15] As a result, she was listed by Bloomberg as the richest woman in the world[16][6] and was included on Forbes' list of the 10 richest women in the world in 2020.[17]

In 2022, Koch put the apartment at 740 Park Avenue on the market; a spokesperson said that she wanted to sell it because she was spending more time at houses in Southampton and Palm Beach.[12]

Koch is on the board of directors of Koch Industries.[3] She tends not to seek public attention.[7]

Philanthropy edit

Koch serves as the David H. Koch Foundation president. She was formerly on the board of directors of the School of American Ballet.[6]

During her husband's lifetime, they made donations to institutions such as the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.[18]

References edit

  1. ^ "The World's Richest Women Billionaires 2023". Forbes. March 10, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c "Julia M. Flesher, David H. Koch (Published 1996)". The New York Times. May 26, 1996. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Julia Koch". Julia Koch. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bumiller, Elisabeth (January 11, 1998). "Woman Ascending A Marble Staircase (Published 1998)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Julia Koch & family". Forbes. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Warren, Katie. "Meet Julia Flesher Koch, the Iowa-born socialite who's now one of the world's richest women after inheriting a chunk of her late husband David Koch's $53 billion fortune". Business Insider. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "How Oil Heir and New York Arts Patron David Koch Became the Tea Party's Wallet". New York Magazine. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  8. ^ a b White, Constance C. R. (December 11, 1997). "At the Met, a Golden Melting Pot (Published 1997)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "Inside the sold-out Costume Institute gala". Observer. December 15, 1997. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  10. ^ Gerhart, Annie Groer; Ann (December 9, 1997). "The Reliable Source". Washington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Gross, Michael (March 11, 2004). "Where the Boldface Bunk". The New York Times. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  12. ^ a b c d Solomont, E. B. (February 11, 2022). "David Koch's Widow Looks to Sell Manhattan Apartment for $60 Million or More". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  13. ^ Clarke, Katherine (January 23, 2020). "The Koch Brothers Are Sitting on a Real Estate Empire Worth Hundreds of Millions". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  14. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (August 23, 2019). "David Koch, Billionaire Who Fueled Right-Wing Movement, Dies at 79 (Published 2019)". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  15. ^ Çam, Deniz. "More Money, More Problems: Inside The Bitter Family Feuds Of America's Richest Billionaire Clans". Forbes. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Who is Julia Margaret Flesher Koch and why should you care?". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  17. ^ Stoller, Kristin. "The Top 10 Richest Women In The World 2020". Forbes. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  18. ^ "Celebrating David Koch's life and legacy". news.kochind.com. Retrieved February 23, 2021.

External links edit