Carlos Slim Helú, CEO of Telmex and América Móvil, delivering a keynote speech at a business conference.

Carlos Slim Helú: The Visionary Behind Telmex and América Móvil

Carlos Slim Helú, renowned as the “Warren Buffett of Mexico,” is a business magnate celebrated for his influential role in telecommunications. As the CEO and Chairman of Telmex and América Móvil, he dominated the global rich lists from 2012 to 2013, securing the title of the world’s richest person.

Early Life and Education

Carlos Slim Helú was born on January 28, 1940, in Mexico City, Mexico, to Lebanese immigrant parents. He was one of six siblings in a family deeply involved in business. His father, a successful entrepreneur, instilled business acumen in his children from a young age. By the time Carlos was 12, he had already invested in national bank shares.

Carlos Slim Helú, CEO of Telmex and América Móvil, delivering a keynote speech at a business conference.

Following his father’s death in 1953, Carlos managed the family business until he was 17. He then pursued civil engineering at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Alongside his studies, he taught linear and algebra programming, showcasing his multifaceted talents.

Building a Business Empire

Carlos’s career commenced with the establishment of his brokerage firm, where he invested in various small businesses. By 1965, his investments had flourished, allowing him to acquire and incorporate other companies. His primary focus was on mining, construction, and real estate, amassing a fortune of approximately $40 million by 1966.

The 1980s marked a significant period for Carlos as he consolidated his interests under the umbrella of Grupo Galas. The economic downturn in 1982, triggered by plummeting oil prices, did not deter him. Instead, he expanded his investments internationally, acquiring a 50% stake in The Hershey Company.

In 1990, Carlos made a pivotal move by acquiring Telmex from the Mexican government. This acquisition laid the foundation for his telecommunications empire. He later developed a U.S. version of Telmex and invested in Tracfone, a U.S. mobile company. His strategic acquisitions and investments extended to other major companies, including The New York Times Company, Saks Fifth Avenue, Telekom Austria, and Volaris.

After undergoing heart surgery, Carlos gradually transferred daily business responsibilities to his children, though he remained an influential figure in the business world. By January 2015, he had become the largest individual shareholder in The New York Times Company.


Beyond business, Carlos Slim Helú is a dedicated philanthropist. He established three major foundations: Fundación Carlos Slim Helú, Fundación Telmex, and Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México A.C. These organizations focus on education, arts, healthcare, downtown restoration, and sports, primarily in Mexico City.


As of 2020, Carlos Slim Helú’s net worth stands at $56 billion, making him one of the wealthiest individuals in history. His strategic vision and philanthropic efforts continue to leave a lasting impact on both the business world and society at large.


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