Last Wednesday Forbes magazine names Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu,the son of Lebanese immigrants,the world’s richest person for the third year in a row. Although Slim lost $5 billion last year,Slim still holds a net worth of around $69 billion,which puts the 72-year-old in front of fellow billionaires Bill Gates,who has $61 billion,and Warren Buffet,who holds claim to $44 billion.
Although Slim has reportedly retired to focus on his philanthropic efforts,he is still watching his business affairs closely. But his current goal is to spend more time with the Carlos Slim Foundation and the Telmex Foundation,focusing on philanthropy that encourages the development of human ability.
The $5 billion loss suffered by Slim’s fortune over the last year was largely the result of a lower share price for his America Movil telecom corporation,which is responsible for supplying a little more than half of his entire fortune. Slim’s fortune is self-made and he is also currently serving as chairman of Mexico’s Telmex,which provides telecommunication products and services and his headquartered in Mexico City.
58 countries were represented on this year’s list,which boasted a record 1,226 billionaires with an average fortune of $3.7 billion. This included 128 new billionaires,including Spanx founder Sara Blakely,who is also the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
In recent years Slim has also expanded into commodities,energy,finance and retail,owning parts of Saks,Inc.,the New York Times Co.,and BlackRock,Inc. In addition,last June Slim sold his ownership in the Bronco Drilling oil company for a profit,which may have helped keep him in the number one spot despite the losses associated with America Movil. Slim built the majority of his fortune by focusing on selling services to underserved parts of the Latin American market,including prepaid cell phone service for as low as $2 or $3.