Carlos Slim Biography
Carlos Slim Helú is the son of Julián Slim Haddad who arrived in Mexico from Lebanon fleeing from the Ottoman Empire and his obligatory instruction to belong to the army at the age of 15. In Mexico, he would meet Dona Linda Helú, originally from Mexico, but with Lebanese parents. Linda Helú’s father, José Helú, was the one who brought the first Arabic printing press to Mexico and founded one of the first community magazines focused on Lebanese immigrants.
Carlos Slim was born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City, where his parents had already built a great deal of business and recognition. Surrounded by his brothers, he grew up among entrepreneurial teachings because it is said that his father gave them money and helped them to administer it, making him carry his own balance sheets from a very young age. For this reason, with only 12 years old, he opened his first check and bought stocks of the National Bank of Mexico.
In 1953, his father died and Carlos Slim was only 13 years old. His steps took him to the Faculty of Engineering of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) because he decided to study Civil Engineering and at the same time taught algebra and linear programming.
“We must impose our will on our weaknesses.” Carlos Slim
In 1965, he started to create the base of the Carso Group and the real estate firm Carso founded in 1966, at that time he married Soumaya Domit Gemayel. From that time on, a prominent position was established in the field of entrepreneurs, industrial, real estate, and commercial areas. In 1982, while the country was going through a critical period due to debts, the nationalization of the banking and the paralyzed economy, his group proposed to invest actively. Here is a list that Carlosslim.com put on his page: “In this period, various investments and acquisitions are made, including Cigatam, Hulera el Centenario, Bimex, Reynolds Aluminio; shortly after, the purchase of Seguros de México was completed, thus forming the Grupo Financiero Inbursa, composed of the Casa de Bolsa Inversora Bursatile, Seguros de México, and La Guardiana bonds.”
Around 1985, Grupo Carso acquired control of Artes Gráficas Unidas, Papel Factories Loreto, and Peña Pobre, as well as most of Sanborns and its subsidiary Dennys. In 1986, the company Minera FRISCO and Empresas Nacobre, as well as its different subsidiaries, was acquired. Control was also purchased from the Euzkadi tire company, the leader in the market at the time, and years later, the majority of General Tire was acquired. In 1991, he acquired the chain of Hoteles Calinda (today, OSTAR Grupo Hotelero) Bonding, as well as one of the biggest investors.
In the 90s, Carlos Slim bought TELMEX, which today has developed a worldwide reach and has invested a lot of money in the Latin American telecommunication infrastructure where his company operates. This was under the mandate of Carlos Salinas de Gortari who carried out a privatization policy, so Carlos Slim could buy Teléfonos de México, S.A. (Telmex) together with France Telecom of France and SBC Telecom of the United States.
Soumaya, his wife, died in 1999 leaving six children: Carlos, Marco Antonio, Patrick, Soumaya, Vanessa, and Johanna.
The Carso group that also owns América Telecom (América Móvil) revolutionized the market with the prepaid cell phone system that drove mobile sales like never before.
Thus, fluctuating between hotel groups, bakeries, construction and even actions of The New York Times, Carlos Slim has established himself as one of the most successful entrepreneurs at the moment and has also focused on other aspects such as philanthropy and the creation of Non-profit organizations. For instance, in 1986 he created the Carso A.C. Foundation, now the Carlos Slim A.C. Foundation, to contribute to the development and training of human capital in Mexican society, which focuses on health, sports and education.
Also, at the end of 1995, he constituted the Telmex Foundation dedicated to “programs of education, health, nutrition, justice, culture, human development, environment, sports and aid in natural disasters.” Therefore, he has not only done a good job with his business but also with the helping-other-people job, not only has created these foundations but has also supported others, in 2008 he donated 110 million dollars to the ALAS Foundation, created by the singer Shakira to support Latin American children.
“All times are good for those who know how to work and have what to do.” Carlos Slim
On this same side, but more specifically on a cultural level, he created the Soumaya Museum in 1994 which created more than 64,000 jobs that are also responsible for investigating and conserving the Mexican artistic heritage. Slim also created the Historical Center Foundation of Mexico City. On the other hand, he has focused on other branches such as ecology and sustainable development in the country.
As today he has received many recognitions for his great work as the Medal of Honor for Business Merit of the National Chamber of Commerce of Mexico City until the Medal of the President of George Washington University, the highest award of this institution, in recognition of his business and philanthropic leadership. It seems that in recent years he has been delegating functions to his three sons as one day his father did with him.