Friday, October 8, 2010

1. Carlo Slim Helu

Carlos Slim Helú (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkarlos eˈslim eˈlu], known simply as Carlos Slim (born January 28, 1940), is a Mexican business magnate and the chairman and CEO of Telmex, Telcel and América Móvil . As of April 2010, he is the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of around US$60.6 billion. His sons Carlos, Marco Antonio and Patrick Slim Domit run the day-to-day operations of Telmex, Telcel, and América Móvil.

Early life

Slim was born in Mexico City, Mexico.His father, Julián Slim Haddad, an Syriac-Maronite Christian, 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 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. By the time he was 26 years old, his net worth was $40 million.He married Soumaya Domit Gemayel, also 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.

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 Mexican 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. It was also the first time the person at the top of the list was from an "emerging economy."

Achievements and directorships
Slim has been vice-president of the Mexican Stock Exchange and president of the Mexican Association of Brokerage Houses. He was the first president of the Latin-American Committee of the New York Stock Exchange Administration Council, and was in office from 1996 through 1998.

He was on the Board of Directors of the Altria Group (previously Philip Morris; he resigned in April 2006) and Alcatel. Slim currently sits on the Board of Directors for Philip Morris International. He was on the Board of Directors of SBC Communications until July 2004 to devote more time to the World Education & Development Fund, which focused on infrastructure, health and education projects. In 1997, just before the company introduced its iMac line, Slim bought three percent of Apple Computer's stock, which has skyrocketed over the years.

He built the large Mexican financial-industrial conglomerate Grupo Carso which controls, among other companies, Sanborns (a prestigious food chain in Mexico), Mixup (music retail), Sears Mexico, Cigatam, Condumex and Grupo Hotelero Hostam and had indirect control over the CompUSA electronics retail chain.

On December 8, 2007, Grupo Carso announced that the remaining 103 CompUSA stores would be either liquidated or sold, bringing an end to the struggling company.After 28 years he became the Honorary Lifetime Chairman of the business. He is also Chairman of Teléfonos de Mexico, América Móvil, and Grupo Financiero Inbursa.

Slim is said to have shown an interest in buying the Honda Formula One team. Slim would overtake the owner of Force India, Vijay Mallya, to become the richest team owner in a sport famous for being a playground for the super wealthy. Slim made it known in the Mexican press that he will soon announce his intentions to acquire a Major League Soccer franchise to be located in Queens, New York that will initially be set up in the second-tier United Soccer Leagues.

Telecom leadership
Slim gained notoriety when he led a group of investors that included France Télécom 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 percent of the telephone lines in Mexico are operated by Telmex. The mobile company, Telcel, which Slim also controls, operates almost eighty percent 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.

On September 10, 2008, Slim announced that he had purchased a 6.4% common-stock stake in The New York Times Company, making him the largest shareholder not related to the company's owners, the Sulzberger family.

On January 19, 2009, the financially troubled New York Times Company announced that it had accepted a $250 million loan from Slim. While the loan will help ease the company's cash-flow problems, it does not come close to eliminating the Times Company's $1.1 billion debt. The company's continuing financial problems and Slim's ongoing interest in its work, as evidenced by his two interventions in the course of five months, has led to speculation that he might be contemplating an outright takeover of the Times Company. A spokesman for Slim told reporters in January 2009 that the Times loan was an investment opportunity "that makes financial sense".

Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo
He leads Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en America Latina SAB de CV (IDEAL – roughly translated as "Promoter of Development and Employment in Latin America"), a Mexico-based company primarily engaged in infrastructure development. IDEAL is active in transportation, crude oil and gas, power, water, real estate and technology. Within these sectors, the company performs as a concessionaire of highways, hydroelectric plants projects, electronic toll collection systems and ports. It is also engaged in the exploration, production, transport, refinement and distribution of crude oil and gas mainly through offshore oil platforms for deep waters. Additionally, it is engaged in the construction and operation of water treatment plants, investments and development of the urban and rural properties, primarily in the commercial, health and education sectors. The company's main subsidiaries are Desarollo de America Latina SA de CV and Promotora del Desarollo de America Latina SA de CV.

The Mexican magnate's rising fortune has caused a controversy because it has been amassed in a developing country where per capita income does not surpass $14,500 a year, and nearly 17% of the population lives in poverty.Critics claim that Slim is a monopolist, pointing to Telmex's control of 90% of the Mexican landline telephone market. Slim's wealth is the equivalent of roughly 5% of Mexico's annual economic output. Telmex, which is 49.1% owned by Slim and his family, charges among the highest usage fees in the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

According to Professor Celso Garrido, an economist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Slim's domination of his country's conglomerates chokes off growth of smaller companies, resulting in a shortage of good jobs and driving many Mexicans to seek better lives north of the Rio Grande.

"When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered". He also claims indifference about his ranking and says he has no interest in becoming the world's richest person. When asked to explain his sudden increase in wealth at a press conference soon after Forbes annual rankings were published, he reportedly said, "The stock market goes up ... and down", and noted that his fortune could quickly drop.

Cultural businesses
In 2000, Slim organized the Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México A.C. (Mexico City Historic Downtown Foundation), whose objective is to revitalize and rescue Mexico historic downtown to enable more people to live, work and find entertainment in this area. He has been Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Restoration of the Historic Center since 2001.

The Carlos Slim Foundation sponsors the Museo Soumaya with the most extensive Rodin and Dalí collection in Latin America and one of the largest in the world, as well as renowned religious artworks from colonial times.

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 Achievement, 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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