Photo: Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México from México / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Born: January 28, 1940 (age 81)
Born Place: Mexico City, Mexico
Education: Civil engineering
Alma mater: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Known for: CEO of Telmex, América Móvil, and Grupo Carso
World’s richest person, 2010–13
Net worth: US$ 51.7 billion (As of 25 March 2021)
Spouse(s): Soumaya Domit (m. 1967–1999; her death)
Children: 6, including Carlos
Relatives: Alfredo Harp Helú (cousin)
Carlos Slim Helú (Spanish pronunciation: [ born January 28, 1940 in Mexico City) is a Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist. From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world by the Forbes business magazine. He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. As of February 2020, he is the fifth-richest person in the world according to Forbes’ listing of The World’s Billionaires, with him and his family having a net worth estimated at $68.9 billion. He is the richest person in Latin America.
His conglomerate includes education, health care, industrial manufacturing, transportation, real estate, media, energy, hospitality, entertainment, high-technology, retail, sports and financial services. He accounts for 40% of the listings on the Mexican Stock Exchange, while his net worth is equivalent to about 6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product. As of 2016, he is the largest single shareholder of The New York Times Company.
Slim was born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City, to Julián Slim Haddad (born Khalil Salim Haddad Aglamaz) and Linda Helú Atta, both Maronite Christians from Lebanon. He decided at a young age that he wanted to be a businessman, and received business lessons from his father, who taught him finance, management and accounting, teaching him how to read financial statements as well as the importance of keeping accurate financial records.
At the age of 11, Slim invested in a government savings bond that taught him about the concept of compound interest. He eventually saved every financial and business transaction he made into a personal ledger book, which he still keeps. At the age of 12, he made his first stock purchase, of shares in a Mexican bank. By the age of 15, Slim had become a shareholder in Mexico’s largest bank. At the age of 17, he earned 200 pesos a week working for his father’s company. He went on to study civil engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where he also concurrently taught algebra and linear programming.
Though Slim was a civil engineering major, he also displayed an interest in economics. He took economics courses in Chile once he finished his engineering degree.Graduating as a civil engineering major, Slim has stated that his mathematical ability and his background of linear programming was a key factor in helping him gain an edge in the business world, especially when reading financial statements.
On March 29, 2007, Slim surpassed American investor 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.
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”. 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 magazine reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world’s richest person. Slim’s estimated fortune soared to US$59 billion, based on the value of his public holdings at 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 Larry Ellison.
On March 10, 2010, Forbes once again reported that Slim had overtaken Gates as the world’s richest person, with a net worth of US$53.5 billion. At the time, Gates and Buffett had 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”. Between 2008 and 2010, Slim more than doubled his net worth from $35 to $75 billion.
In March 2011 Forbes stated that Slim had maintained his position as the wealthiest person in the world, with his fortune estimated at US$74 billion.
In December 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Carlos Slim Helú remained the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of US$75.5 billion.
On March 5, 2013, Forbes stated that Slim was still maintaining his first-place position as the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$73 billion. On May 16, 2013, Bloomberg L.P. ranked Slim the second-richest person in the world, after Bill Gates.
On July 15, 2014, Forbes announced that Slim had reclaimed the position of the wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune of US$79.6 billion.
In September 2014, Forbes listed Slim as number 1 on its list of billionaires with a net worth of US$81.6 billion.
As of December 2016 his net worth was US$48.1 billion.
In 2017, his net worth was reported to be $54.5 billion.
In 2019, his net worth was said to be at least $58.1 billion, making him the richest man in Mexico.
In October 2020, his net worth was estimated at $53.7 billion.
- Entrepreneurial Merit Medal of Honor in 1985 from Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce.
- Commander in the Belgian Order of Leopold II
- Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement in 1994
- CEO of the year in 2003 by Latin Trade magazine
- CEO of the decade in 2004 by Latin Trade magazine
- Fundacion Telmex received in 2007 the National Sports Prize of Mexico for sports promotion
- In 2008 his philanthropy was recognized with the award of The National Order of the Cedar by the Lebanese government.
- In 2011 the Hispanic Society of America awarded Fundacion Carlos Slim the Sorolla Medal for its contribution to the arts and culture
- On May 20, 2012. Slim was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from George Washington University.
- On March 21, 2020, he was awarded the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Sophia Award for Excellence at an awards luncheon.