Slim is a Mexican tycoon of Lebanese descent, whose family emigrated from Lebanon in the early 1900s when the country was part of the Ottoman Empire. Born in Mexico Slim, began working for his father before going on to form his own brokerage firm and then expanded his operations into construction, real estate and mining businesses.
As the price of oil plunged during the 1980s, Slim made shrewd and calculated investment decisions, taking up stakes in various companies in Mexico and also entered new industries like finance and food retailing. His conglomerate, Grupo Carso, SA de CV, went public in 1990 and now includes a diverse portfolio with holdings in communications, technology, retailing, and finance. Slim currently is the chairman and chief executive of telecommunications companies Telmex and America Movil, which operate in eighteen countries across Latin America, the US and the Caribbean.
Slim also has stakes in Philip Morris, New York Times, Saks and Caixabank and is a majority shareholder of the Spanish football club Real Oviedo. As Arabian Business goes to press Slim’s estimated net worth is $73.3bn, making him the world’s richest person ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Bernard Arnault of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury-goods company.
The small kingdom is among the most economically vulnerable of the GCC states, with high debt levels, low reserves and slow GDP growth. But it has identified jewels in its accelerating non-oil economy that will help it forge a new path for the future.