Newcastle United chairman Mike Ashley has seen his personal fortune rise by £500m in the last year, according to the Sunday Times rich list.
With the club flying high and his business booming, it has been a good year for the magnate.
His stake in Sports Direct, the sportswear retail company, is worth £1.2bn, which along with other assets including Newcastle United, means he is worth around £1.75bn, up £482m on 2011, and making him 36th in the national list which is published this weekend.
And the Sports Direct tycoon could be in line for another big bonus.
New targets aiming for earnings of £270m in the next financial year, up to £340m in 2015 would see Ashley get further shares worth nearly £24m.
And it is not just Ashley who could benefit from a generous share scheme. More than 2,000 staff will get an average of 5,000 shares this year with another 12,000 the following year. That would be worth a huge £50,000 at the current share price of 291p.
It is the second year running that Ashley has been named as the North East's richest, while second is a newcomer Anita Zabludowicz, wife of property tycoon Poju Zabludowicz.
The couple are worth £1.5bn and are joint 42nd in the national wealth rankings. Anita grew up in Newcastle and attended Newcastle College, where she studied fine art and the history of art.
Her interest in art endures – the couple have a modern art collection that runs to 5,000 pieces. They have recently commissioned a £60m pair of his and hers mansions in London with an adjoining art gallery and one of the biggest basement developments ever to be dug in Britain .
The Fenwick family, whose department stores bear their name, once again feature strongly, adding £34m to their fortune in the past year. Mark Fenwick, 63, used to be manager of Roxy Music but now chairs the business which is worth its £452m net assets. A further £20m of other assets makes up the family's £472m valuation, putting them in 190th place nationally.
The boss of Walker-based Pearson Engineering, Alan Reece, has seen his fortune rise by £120m following huge profits for his company, which develops combat engineering systems and counter-mine equipment for Britain and American armed forces. The 85-year-old, who owns and runs the company, gave £20m to charity last year.
Wallsend-born musician Sting and former Sage computing boss Graham Wylie tie for seventh place in the North East, with fortunes of around £180m each, pretty much unchanged from last year.
Sir Peter Vardy, the Sunderland car company boss and philanthropist behind the Emmanuel College in Gateshead and other academies in the region, is 10th in the North-east list, with a family fortune rising by £5m to £155m.
Margaret Barbour, whose clothing business bears the family name, has seen her fortune rise by £20m to £130m, putting her in 12 place alongside Tyneside clothing bosses Raj Seghal and Sanjeev Meehan.
The Sunday Times' Rich List 2012 is compiled by Philip Beresford , the leading authority on British wealth, and edited by Ian Coxon.
To see the full regional list click here.
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