The World’s Richest Man On Fixing The Global Economy – Forbes
This story appears on the March 26, 2012 cover of Forbes.
Amid the threat of a Greek debt default and a recession in Europe, Carlos Slim Helú has some words of advice for political leaders: You’re doing it wrong. Slim, a Mexican entrepreneur who built a $69 billion fortune over nearly five decades, thinks governments should stop trying to shrink budget deficits by shortchanging education. “I am very concerned about the world in general. I think the solutions that [political leaders] are looking at are not the right solutions,” he says. “They are not looking for a different way to solve the problem.”
The world’s richest person, it turns out, has time these days to ponder weightier issues than where he should invest next. Since 2004 Slim, who recently turned 72, has stepped down from the boards of three of his largest companies. He wants nothing more than to tell me, when we meet at his Mexico City office in late January, how he would solve the challenges facing Europe, the U.S. and Mexico. He likes to talk and likes to revisit his roots. We are sitting in heavy wooden chairs against the wall of books in his office when he gets up to grab a notebook he kept when he was 17. In it he had recorded his pay, 200 pesos a week, for working at his family’s company. Another entry noted that his mother had lent him 5,000 pesos to buy stocks.
Slim’s business empire is dominated by telecommunications but also includes finance, mining, real estate, infrastructure, retailing and heavy industry. His biggest success by far began with the $1.76 billion privatization of state-owned phone company Telmex in late 1990, led by his industrial conglomerate, Grupo Carso, alongside France Telecom and Southwestern Bell now AT&T. Last year Telmex became part of América Móvil, a much expanded version of Telmex’s onetime cellular arm. Slim’s 43% stake in the pan-Latin American company clocks in at nearly $39 billion—more than half of his current net worth.
Video: Carlos Slim’s Museum
Strange Random Billionaire Quote:
Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world. – Sergey Brin
- Carlos Slim Named World’s Richest Man (usnews.com)
- Despite Dip in Fortune, Slim Still the World’s Richest Man (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- Forbes Billionaires: Who Are The Top 5 Richest People On The Planet? (ibtimes.com)
- Mexico’s Slim is world’s richest man (news.com.au)
- Carlos Slim tops Forbes list of world’s wealthiest (latino.foxnews.com)
- Carlos Slim Helu remains world’s richest man (cbc.ca)
- Yanai, Japan’s wealthiest man, ranks 88th on Forbes’ list of world’s richest (japantimes.co.jp)
- Telecom monopoly overcharging Mexicans billions (news.cnet.com)
Posted on March 11, 2012, in Article and tagged América Móvil, Carlos Slim, Forbes, Forbes list of billionaires (2011), Grupo Carso, Mexico, Sergey Brin, Southwestern Bell, Telmex. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.