He enjoys a life of luxury and a generous net worth estimated at £3.8billion – yet a Norwegian fishing farm heir has insisted he’s just ‘a normal guy’ and is ‘very happy and grateful he grew up without money’.
Gustav Magnar Witzøe, 29, was named by Forbes as the world’s youngest male billionaire in 2018 after his father Gustav Witzoe senior gifted almost half of fishing farm Salmar ASA to his son in 2013.
The model grew up on Frøya, a tiny island off the north-west coast of Norway, with his mother Oddny working as a carer, while in 1991, Gustav Snr founded his firm, which would later become one of the world’s largest salmon producers.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Gustav Junior, who lives alone in the city of Trondheim, stressed how happy and ‘grateful’ he is to have enjoyed a simple childhood without money.
But the heir is not shy about sharing glimpses of his lavish lifestyle on Instagram, from first-class trips to the Cannes Festival to holidays to Lake Como and drives down the coast in his father’s vintage Aston Martin.
He enjoys a life of luxury and a generous net worth estimated at £3.8billion – yet a Norwegian fishing farm heir has insisted he’s just ‘a normal guy’ and is ‘very happy and grateful he grew up without money’ (pictured in Venice earlier this summer)
Gustav Magnar Witzøe, 29, was named by Forbes as the world’s youngest male billionaire in 2018 after his father Gustav Witzoe senior gifted almost half of fishing farm Salmar ASA to his son in 2013
The Norwegian heir likes to delight his Instagram followers with snaps of his holidays, like this trip to Lake Como earlier this summer
‘Maybe it would have been different if I’d grown up with money, but since we didn’t when I was a kid, I’m very happy about that. It was just a normal, down-to-earth family, and I think those are values I’ll take with me,’ he told the publication.
The heir, who describes himself as an investor, a model and a philanthropist, said he is a ‘normal guy, who likes football, likes working out, who parties every now and again, likes hanging out with friends.’
In spite of his life of luxury, Gustav still visits his parents each week and still sees his childhood friends on the small island of Frøya, where he grew up.
Gustav’s father founded Salmar ASA in 1991 with 11 employees and a few boats, and profits exploded when the company went public in 2007.
It is now the second largest producer of Atlantic salmon in the world, and harvested 198,200 tonnes of fish just last year.
When he turned 18, Gustav senior made his son the company’s main shareholder for inheritance tax reasons, but the model still considers Salmar’s his father’s company, and is not involved in the day-to-day running of the operations.
The model grew up on Frøya, a tiny island off the north-west coast of Norway, with his mother Oddny working as a carer, while in 1991, Gustav Snr founded his firm, which would later become one of the world’s largest salmon producers
With a penchant for vintage cars, Gustav likes to take his father’s Aston Martin for drives along the coast
He has no plans to take over the family business anytime soon, and said he has other things going on at the moment.
But it has not always been glitz and glamour for the wealthy heir, who had to earn first-hand knowledge of the family business.
After high school, Gustav revealed he skipped university and instead put himself to work on salmon farms for two years to learn the trade.
While he said he loved the physical work of the farms, nowadays, his Instagram account is full of holiday snaps to Italy, France, Dubai and more, mixed with Vogue Scandinavia photoshoots and photos other modelling gigs.
He was encouraged to start modelling by a friend, and is currently signed by Idol Looks and Next Models Worldwide, saying the work is fun and helps to get himself out of his shell.
While he documents his luxury lifestyle on Instagram, Gustav said he is happy he had a modest childhood away from the limelight
While he said he loved the physical work of the farms, nowadays, his Instagram account is full of holiday snaps to Italy, France, Dubai and more, mixed with Vogue Scandinavia photoshoots and photos other modelling gigs
He said that while he doesn’t hide who he is, few of the people he has worked on on fashion shoots recognise him.
Work-wise, on top of posing for the cameras, Gustav likes to invest in start-ups through his company Wiski Capital, and seemingly values his parents’ advice more than he does his actual advisors.
He also runs a charitable foundation, the W Initiative, a philanthropic foundation he set up last year, which focuses on children’s health and education.
The non-profit’s first project is to provide access to clean water and sanitary facilities to more than 4,000 children in Uganda.
During his free-time, Gustav said he works out nine times a week, and has put his partying days behind him.
He said he prefers wholesome down-time with his loved ones to dancing the night away in clubs, and doesn’t go out much anymore.
Gustav used to be a party boy, but now prefers some quality down-time with his family and friends
This is a far cry from his late teenage years, where he served two weeks in prison aged 19 after driving at 180kph in a 60kph zone.
Speaking of his father’s company in 2018, aged 25, Gustav already showed he didn’t feel entitled to the family’s fortune.
Speaking to Norwegian newspaper Dagblade, he explained: ‘You can’t just demand to be the boss of such a big organisation. You have to be suited to it. If there are alternatives, the best man or woman must get the job. There is so much at stake — values, jobs, crucial factors.’
Instead he has invested in start up companies including Norwegian Snapchat-challenger Gobiand and Airbnb host service Keybutler.
According to Business Insider, Gustav’s father previously addressed the ‘long discussions’ his family had about putting his then 19-year-old son in charge of his shares.
Witzøe, who still runs the company, reportedly said: ‘There are pluses and minuses. It can affect you in many ways, good and bad. It could affect relationships with friends.’
Along with pictures of his luxury travels, Gustav has also shared his plush forms of transport, which include a Porsche, a private plane and a boat and snaps of his dog.
Gustav previously told Dagbladet of his fortune: ‘They [my parents] believe they should have taken more time to think it over. That’s due probably to my being shoved out into the public limelight. It was very strange at first. It makes you a bit nervous about what people think.’