Carlos Slim Helú is a Mexican billionaire who controls phone companies and has major investments in retailing, construction, banking, insurance, railroads and mining. Mr. Slim has been ranked by Forbes as the world’s richest man. In the two decades that Mr. Slim spent turning a crumbling Mexican phone monopoly into a continental telecom giant, he has successfully fought off competitors and challenged authorities who wanted to limit his companies’ control.
Carlos Slim Helu began with a focus on construction, real estate and mining after receiving a degree in engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Helu grew a substantial amount of wealth from this and when the Mexican economy stumbled during the 1980’s he took advantage and bought up a number of companies including the telecommunications company Telemex. By the late 1990’s Telemex controlled aproximently 90 percent of the phone lines in Mexico. From here he continued to expand the business into areas of South America and North America. In 2010 Slim had overtaken Bill Gates as the richest man in the world with $53.5 billion.
Beside his telecommunication businesses Carlos Slim is also known for his charity work. In 1995 he established Fundación Telmex, a broad-ranging philanthropic foundation. This followed the creation of his eponymous non-profit philanthropic foundation, Fundación Carlos Slim Helú in 1986. In 2007 it was announced that the latter body had an asset base of $4 billion and that it would be establishing Carso Institutes for Health, Sports and Education. Furthermore, it was to work in support of an initiative of Bill Clinton to aid the people of Latin America. The Fundación Carlos Slim Helú sponsors the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City which has the most extensive Rodin and Dalí collection in Latin America and one of the largest in the world, as well as religious artworks from colonial times. Slim is very generous with his money and was named one of the world’s biggest givers by Forbes Magazine after donating $4 billion.
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