Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican business tycoon, investor and philanthropist. Consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world, Slim’s conglomerate consists of real estate, retail, manufacturing, telecommunication, media, energy, sports and so on. The son of Lebanese immigrants, Carlos Slim’s business interests have touched nearly every aspect of Mexico’s economy. He has currently devoted about $4 billion of his personal fortune to his charitable foundation.
Slim’s father, Julián Slim Haddad was a successful businessman who established a dry goods store which flourished even during Mexico’s economic downturns. He would later branch his business interests into real estate and stocks which made him a millionaire. Carlos was always interested in owning a business himself and acquired the necessary skills from a young age. He attributes his success to his exposure to management practices that he learnt from his father. Additionally, Slim’s father also taught him to read financial statements and keep financial records, something which he does to this day.
Slim began working as a stock broker and after some initial success, started laying the foundations for what was to become a massive conglomerate called Grupo Carso. As the portfolio of businesses grew to include tobacco, mining, construction, airlines, chemicals and soft drinks, Slim decided to branch further out into hotels, telecommunications, and financial services among others.
With the snowballing of a plethora of businesses, Slim started getting noticed by leading media organizations as one of the richest men in the world. He briefly became the world’s wealthiest man, surpassing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, once in 2007, 2010 and once in 2014. He was the first person in 16 years who was not from the United States to top that list and the first individual from a developing country to do so.
His philanthropic efforts support health care, education, arts, sports and urban restoration. He believes that entrepreneurs and businessmen should come together and solve problems.