Carlos Slim Helu is a Lebanese business magnate, philanthropist, the chairman and CEO of Telmex, America Mobil. His extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso, SA de CV, amassed interests in the fields of communications, technology, retailing, and finance. As of April 2010, he is the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of around $60.6 billion.
Carlos's father, Julián Slim Haddad, an assyrian Maronite Catholic, immigrated to Mexico in 1902 from Lebanon, alone at 14 years of age, speaking no Spanish. He fled the Ottoman Empire, which at the time conscripted young men into forced labour. Carlos Slim's mother, Linda Helú, was born in Parral, Chihuahua. She was the daughter of José Helú and Wadiha Atta, Lebanese immigrants who arrived in Mexico at the end of the 19th century. They founded one of the first magazines for the Lebanese community in the country. In 1911, Julián established a dry goods store called La Estrella del Oriente (The Star of the Orient) and purchased real estate in downtown Mexico City. In August 1926, Julián Slim and Linda Helú married in Mexico City. They had six children, of whom Carlos was the youngest son. Julian died in 1952.
Slim studied engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. By the time he was 26 years old, his net worth was $40 million, due to successful speculation in real estate and stocks.He married Soumaya Domit Gemayel, a Lebanese-Mexican, in 1967. They had six children and were married for 32 years until Domit died of a kidney ailment in 1999. The youngest of their three daughters, Johanna, is married to Arturo Elías Ayub, a board member of some of Slim's companies.
In March of 2010 he was named the world's richest man by Forbe's Magazine with an estimated wealth of $53.5 billion. On August 4, 2007,The Wall Street Journal ran a cover story profiling Slim. The article said, "While the market value of his stake in publicly traded companies could decline at any time, at the moment he is probably wealthier than Bill Gates.
On March 29, 2007, Slim surpassed Warren Buffett as the world's second richest person with an estimated net worth of US$53.1 billion compared with Buffett's US$52.4 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, Slim credits part of his ability to "discover investment opportunities" early to the writings of his friend, futurist author Alvin Toffler.
On August 8, 2007, Fortune reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest man. Slim's estimated fortune soared to US $59 billion, based on the value of his public holdings the end of July. Gates' net worth was estimated to be at least US$58 billion.
On March 5, 2008, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's second-richest person, behind Warren Buffett and ahead of Bill Gates. On March 11, 2009, Forbes ranked Slim as the world's third-richest person, behind Gates and Buffett and ahead of Lawrence Ellison.
On March 10, 2010, Forbes once again reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world's richest man, with a net worth of US$53.5 billion. Gates and Buffett now have a net worth of US$53 billion and US$47 billion respectively. He was the first Lebanese to top the list. It was the first time in 16 years that the person on top of the list was not from the United States.
Slim gained notoriety when he led a group of investors that included France Telecom and Southwestern Bell Corporation in buying Telmex and Telnor from the Mexican government in 1990 in a public tender during the presidency of Carlos Salinas. Slim was able to raise money for a telecommunications company by purchasing standby letters of credit which enabled him to obtain guaranteed loans which provided the capital. Today, 90% of the telephone lines in Mexico are operated by Telmex.The mobile company,Telcel, which Slim also controls, operates almost 80% of all the country's cellphones. These operations have financed Slim's expansion abroad. Over the past five years, his wireless carrier América Móvil has bought cellphone companies across Latin America, and is now the region's dominant company, with more than 100 million subscribers. Slim was once MCI Inc. 's largest shareholder, with 13% ownership. On April 11, 2005, The Wall Street Journal announced that he had sold his stake in MCI to Verizon Communications.
Slim has been awarded the Entrepreneurial Merit Medal of Honor from Mexico's Chamber of Commerce. He is a "gold patron" of the American Academy of Achievment, a Commander in the Belgian Order of Leopold II, CEO of the year in 2003 by Latin Trade magazine, and one year later CEO of the decade by the same magazine.
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