Carlos Slim Helú – the World’s Richest Man

February 12th, 2014 by Alisa Sava

Carlos Slim Helú has become the first person from a developing country to top the world’s richest people listed in Forbes Magazine. Today, Carlos Slim is worth approximately $69 billion. He also has a stake in the New York Times and owns numerous financial, banking and real estate companies.

World's Richest Man

World’s Richest Man 

A native of Mexico and of Lebanese descent, Carlos Slim loves his fellow Lebanese people and is actively involved in charity work: he has launched several social and educative projects in Lebanon, especially in the south and Jezzine to “support locals in their struggle.” He is a family man and had a successful marriage with his late wife, Soumaya Domit. Carlos, focused on the future, has started to delegate his business responsibilities among his three sons and three sons in law.



Carlos Slim Helú was born to a family of Lebanese immigrants in Mexico City on January 28, 1940. His father, a self-made businessman, managed to buy property in downtown Mexico City and started his own real estate business. Carlos’s mother was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. She was the first journalist publishing in Arabic and established the first Lebanese printed media.


My parents weren’t artistic, but I was always surrounded by beautiful things. And Mexico is a country which has experienced thousands of years of art and culture.”


Carlos made his first investment in early childhood, when he opened his checking account and bought first shares in a Mexican bank:


“Well, when I was very young, maybe 12 years, I began to make investments.”


In 1961 Carlos Slim graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico where he studied civil engineering. At the same University he also worked as a professor teaching Algebra and Linear Programming.


In the 60s and 70s Carlos Slim’s portfolio was very diverse: his interests in real estate were linked to mining, tobacco and retail businesses. The economic crisis of 1982 in Mexico, did not break Slim’s confidence: he acquired the Mexican affiliates of Reynolds Aluminum, General Tire and Sanborns’ retail stores and cafeterias.


At his 25 Carlos Slim became a stake holder in the stock brokerage company Inversora Bursátil. Then, a year later, he established another holding company Inmobilaria Carso (“Car” stands for Carlos Slim and “So” – for Soumaya Domit, the name of Carlos’s late wife). The resulting company became a prototype of the current global conglomerate company Grupo Carso Sanborns (SAB).


A few years later, Slim purchased the state’s telephone company – Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex). He understood the market and felt, early on, that the future would belong to cellular service. Slim’s company managed to make cell phones affordable for the majority of Mexican residents. Carlos Slim sold the cell phones with a prepaid monthly service and enabled customers to buy prepaid phone cards and use the minutes as needed. This prepaid service grew by 66% every year during the next 15 years.


In 2000 Slim merged the separate telecoms companies to form a new one – America Movil, the fourth largest mobile network operator in terms of equity subscribers in Mexico.


In 2007 Slim’s group of companies was valued at $150 billion. And that was the year, when Carlos Slim first passed Bill Gates and become the richest person in the world with $59 billion.


Along with the telecoms business, Carlos Slim owns a stake 6,9% in The New York Times Company. Last year he saved the company from financial collapse and gave the struggling publisher $250 million.There were also rumors that Slim might buy a controlling stock in the company, however, Slim denies this fact.

The New York Times

The New York Times

Carlos Slim’s Keys for Success:


  • Work hard:


“All times are good times for those who know how to work and have the tools to do so.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes)


  • Be optimistic: 


“Do not allow negative feelings and emotions to control your mind. Emotional harm does not come from others; it is conceived and developed within ourselves.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes)


  • Maintain austerity:


“Maintain austerity in prosperity.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes)


  • Reinvest profits: 


“Courage taught me no matter how bad a crisis gets… any sound investment will eventually pay off.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes)


  • Work together: 


“It’s very important for leaders in business to work to create human capital, a team that has the same sense of purpose and alignment.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes) 


  • Commitment to traditional business model:


“I think one of the big errors people are making right now is thinking that old-style businesses will be obsolete, when actually they will be an important part of this new civilization. Some retail groups are introducing e-commerce and think that the “bricks” are no longer useful. But they will continue to be important.”(Carlos Slim’s quotes)


  • Think differently:


“When you live for others’ opinions, you are dead. I don’t want to live thinking about how I’ll be remembered.” (Carlos Slim’s quotes)


The Billionaire’s Hobbies


  • Car racing: Carlos Slim showed his passion for car racing when he bought the Honda Formula One team and in 2011 sponsored the Sauber F1 team


  • Art collection: the billionaire has 380 art works of Auguste Rodin, which is the biggest private collection in the world


  • Wine glass collection: Carlos has a collection of wine glasses which was owned by Porfirio Díaz, the President of Mexico in 1876-1911

Carlos Slim’s Owns Different Types of Properties

Museo Soumaya

Museo Soumaya

Museo Soumaya


Named after Carlos Slim’s wife Soumaya Domit, the Museum was opened in 2011. It includes more than 60,000 works of art by Rodin, Leonardo da Vinci and other famous European artists as well as by Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Designed by Fernando Romero, the museum has a unique architectural layout, incorporating 28-column steel sinuous lines. Carlos Slim spent $34 million to build the museum, while the art collection’ value is $ 800 million,

The Duke-Semans Mansion


The Duke-Semans Mansion is the only private mansion left in Manhattan. The Duke Family owned the house until 2006. Tamir Sapir put it on the market in January 2010 for $50 million.

The Duke-Semans Mansion

The Duke-Semans Mansion

In July 2010 Carlos Slim bought the Duke-Semans mansion, a beaux-arts townhouse, for a record-breaking price of $44 million. The historical building is perfectly located on Fifth Avenue of Manhattan stretching up 82nd street — the most luxurious area of Manhattan with such residents as Donald Trump, Harrison Ford, Ralph Lauren and Jennifer Lopez, etc.


“A residence for the ages – a home whose history-filled past is a wonderful prologue for the next era in its remarkable existence,” notes the real estate agency Brown Harris Stevens.


Being built in 1901, this 20,000-square-foot red-brick mansion has a charming mansard roof and balustrade balconies. When Carlos Slim bought the mansion, it had a doctors’ office in the basement, five-story residence and one penthouse duplex on top.

The Fifth Avenue Office Building


In 2010 Carlos Slim paid $ 140 million for the office building on the fabled Fifth Avenue, New York. The building is situated at the southeast corner of East 38th Street and provides 380,000 square feet of work space and 23,500 square feet of retail space. The deal for this building was inked by Cushman & Wakefield.

The Fifth Avenue Office Building

The Fifth Avenue Office Building

Lomas de Chapultepec Home


In spite of being the richest person in the world, Carlos Slim lives in a modest house in the “Lomas de Chapultepec.” There he spent almost 40 years of his life. The house features 6 bedrooms and is located just 3 miles from Carlos Slim’s childhood home and 3 miles from his office.


Carlos prefers to drive his Mercedes from his place to the office by his own. The house is designed in colonial architectural style.


 The story of success sometimes could be the deciding factor when choosing your path. Being the prosperous investor is not an easy task, but following Carlo’s keys to success may help out in making the right choice and become closer to your very own story of the world’s richest men.



Alisa Sava

Alisa Sava is an experienced journalist and translator of Spanish and English languages. She has studied in Spain and Poland. In her articles she is focusing on the financial analytics and real estate perspectives. She loves travelling and is passionate for Basque culture and baking.

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