Carlos Slim Helú (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaɾlos esˈlim eˈlu]; born January 28, 1940) is a Mexican business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. From 2010 to 2013, Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world. He derived his fortune from his extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. As of 31 July 2016 he was #7 on Forbes list of billionaires, with a net worth estimated at US$50 billion.
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.
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 Catholics of Lebanese descent.
Slim always knew he wanted to be a businessman, and he began to develop his business and investment acumen at a young age. He received business lessons from his father Julian, who taught him finance, management and accounting, teaching him how to read financial statements as well as the importance of keeping accurate financial records, a practice that Slim carries on to this day.
At the age of 11, Carlos 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 keeps to this day. At the age of 12, he made his first stock purchase, by purchasing 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 because of his fascination with numbers, 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 prowess 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.[
CriticismSlim's growing fortune has been a subject of controversy, because it has been amassed in a developing country where average per capita income does not surpass US$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, of which 49.1% is 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. The average Mexican spends 1.50 pesos per day on Slim's goods and services for a total of roughly US$140 million a day and the Federal Telecommunications Institute, a new Mexican government anti-monopoly watchdog said in April 2014 that Slim's telecom businesses are monopolies. Slim's business presence in Mexico alone is so broad that many Mexicans find it appropriate to call the country "Slimlandia" as it is almost impossible to go a day in Mexico without contributing to Slim's wealth.
According to Celso Garrido, economist at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Slim's domination of Mexico's conglomerates prevents the growth of smaller companies, resulting in a shortage of paying jobs, forcing many Mexicans to seek better lives in the U.S.
In response to the criticism, Slim has stated, "When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered" by Mexican people claiming indifference about his position on Forbes list of the world's richest people. He has said 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 said, "The stock market goes up ... and down", and noted that his fortune could quickly drop.
Slim was criticized by the Dutch minister of economic affairs, Henk Kamp, in 2013 for attempting to expand his telecom empire beyond the Americas by América Móvil's buy-out offer to KPN, a Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company privatized in the 1990s, by stating "an acquisition of KPN by a "foreign company" could have consequences for the Netherland's national security". Two years after Slim's failed bid to take over the company mainly due to political intervention and Slim's paucity of interest in purchasing the company, Slim's America Movil SAB began offering 2.25 billion euros of bonds that can be converted into shares of Royal KPN NV. America Movil now controls a 21.1 percent stake of KPN with a market value of 3.1 billion euros as of May 20, 2015. Slim has been slowly decreasing his holdings since he was forced to withdraw a 7.2 billion euro bid for the Dutch phone line carrier in 2013 after negotiations broke down and KPN's preference share foundation blocked the takeover attempt.