-By Daniel Fisher
December 24, 2012- A man who, by FORBES’ careful measure, is one of the 50 most powerful people in the world, one of the 20 wealthiest–and one of the dozen most vilified–is perpetually in a position to reflect. But given it’s Charles Koch’s 77th birthday, the calendar demands it. Especially with the presidential election that Charles has called “the mother of all wars” less than a week away, and with Koch Industries, the firm he has built into the second-largest private company in America, considering several more big acquisitions, including an 18,000-employee automotive glassmaker, Guardian Industries.
Yet despite all these momentous events swirling around his wood-paneled Wichita office, decorated with seascapes and looking out on to the prairie to the north, the legacy he wishes to initially address comes via a piece of paper with a color photograph of his first grandson. The baby’s name: Charles. “My proudest accomplishment,” he smiles.