By Marc Basham, Post Register
Forbes named a local man the richest person in Idaho for the second straight year, but he is modest about the distinction.
Melaleuca president and CEO Frank VanderSloot was recently recognized as Idaho’s richest individual, with an estimated net worth of $3.4 billion. His worth nearly doubled from the 2017 total of $1.9 billion.
But VanderSloot is not celebrating the recognition.
“I wouldn’t say it’s an honor at all,” he said. “I’m always worried about lists like that. At the end of the day, I don’t think it says much for our society that we put value on things like that. And it’s certainly not what I want to be remembered for.”
The Idaho Falls businessman instead wishes to credit Melaleuca’s employees for helping him achieve this honor.
“I think this list is a tribute to Melaleuca’s success,” VanderSloot said. “The only reason I’m on this list is because I’m a shareholder of Melaleuca. And I’m really proud of what the company has accomplished.
“It’s not my accomplishment, it’s the accomplishment of literally thousands of people who have worked together. And I’m really proud to be a member of that team.”
Melaleuca recorded a record $2.04 billion in annual sales in 2017. That helped VanderSloot overtake Scott Simplot, CEO of Boise-based J.R. Simplot Company, at the top of the rankings last year.
VanderSloot hopes the recognition will be paid forward to Melaleuca employees, and focus will be placed on his personal achievements, rather than the rankings.
“I’d like to be remembered for being someone who’s honest and somebody who cares about people and deals fairly with people,” he said. “I think the true nature of the value for a man or woman has to do with whether they live in the boundaries of what they believe are right and wrong. That’s the real test in our life.”