Carlos Slim Helu is the wealthiest person in the world. The Mexican business tycoon has a net worth of $73 billion as of March 2013. He has earned his wealth through his conglomerate ‘Grupo Carso’. Currently he is the CE0 and chairman of ‘Telmex’ and ‘América Móvil’.
Slim was born on 28th January 1940 in Mexico City. He was taught the fundamental business dealings by his father. By the time he turned 12, Slim had bought shares in a bank. At 17 he started working for his father’s company earning 200 pesos per week. He studied civil engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico while taught linear programming and algebra there. He started his career in trading and then opened his brokerage firm called ‘Inversora Bursatil’. That firm expanded in the coming years. Slim remembered the lesson his father had taught him and as his firm grew, he lived in a modest way with his family. He used his profits to re-invest in other businesses. In the following decades, Slim acquired companies that he thought were underrated and astutely renovated their management. He expanded very systematically. His first investments consisted of real estate, a construction equipment company and then mining. His number of companies owned by him included a printing company, tobacco firm and several retail stores.
1982 was not a good year for Mexico as it saw a severe economic crisis but that did not falter Slim’s confidence. He acquired more firms during this time and as the economy stabled his fortune grew enormously. He bought even more companies including some U.S brands such as Hershey’s Chocolate, Firestone Tires and Denny’s coffee shops. He also purchased some insurance companies and merged them to form ‘Seguros Inbursa’. Slim did not let a single opportunity to expand pass by. He grabbed onto whatever he thought was profitable for him. In 2008 he shocked the business world by buying a 6.4 percent stake in the New York Times which was going in a loss at the time. However with a pleasant turn of events due to his action, the company’s stock prices rose dramatically. His company ‘América Móvil’ became one of the biggest providers of wireless service in Latin America. His companies were worth $150 billion by 2007. According to Fortune magazine his personal wealth at the time was close to 60 billion dollars making him the wealthiest person on earth. Carlos Slim Helu also initiated several philanthropic foundations including the ‘Carso Foundation’, ‘Museo Soumaya’ and the ‘Telmex Foundation’.
He has been the richest man of the world since 2007. His staggering success has earned him many awards and recognition. He got the Entrepreneurial Merit Medal of Honor from Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce in 1985. He was made ‘Gold Patron’ of the American Academy of Achievement. He was termed ‘CEO of the Year’ in 2003 and ‘CEO of the Decade’ in 2004 by Latin Trade magazine. In 2008 he was given the ‘The National Order of the Cedar’ by the Lebanese government to honor his philanthropic efforts. Slim received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from the George Washington University.