Carlos Slim Helú

Major Leaguer

  • 07 Oct - 13 Oct, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Panorama

Carlos Slim Helú is a Mexican entrepreneur and one of the wealthiest people in the world. His extensive holdings in a considerable number of Mexican companies through his conglomerate, Grupo Carso, SA Bde CV, amassed interests in the fields of communications, insurance, construction, energy, mining, retailing, publishing, and finance.

Slim graduated with a degree in engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and was investing in and founding a variety of businesses that became the foundation for Grupo Carso, by the mid-1960s. He attained the billionaire status in the aftermath of the economic crash of 1982, when the Mexican government, defaulting on foreign debts in light of a devalued peso, began nationalising banks and scaring away business investors. Having purchased at bargain prices controlling interests in a variety of companies, Slim managed them so effectively that within the span of a decade their aggregate value soared.

For more than a dozen years, Slim’s key holding and the anchor of his success was his ownership of the former national telephone monopoly, Teléfonos de México (Telmex), which allowed him to broaden his investment portfolio into American technology and telecommunications firms such as Prodigy Inc. and SBC Communications Inc.

A noted art collector and philanthropist, Slim founded a not-for-profit art museum, Museo Soumaya, named for his wife, in Mexico City. In 2011, the museum moved to a larger building in the city.

Slim also received several awards for his philanthropic efforts, which included establishment of the Carlos Slim Foundation, focusing on areas of health, sports, and education through such organisations as the Carlos Slim Institute of Health, which funds research projects on public health in Mexico. In 2009, the Carlos Slim Foundation partnered with Grameen Trust – a non-profit venture of Grameen Bank, the Bangladeshi bank founded by economist Muhammad Yunus as a means of providing small loans to poor individuals – to launch the Grameen-Carso microcredit programme in Mexico.