Spanish retail giant Amancio Ortega leapfrogged Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates to become the richest person in the world, Forbes reported on Wednesday.
Shares of Inditex, Ortega’s business and parent company of the famous retail chains Zara, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, soared by 2.5 per cent to pump the company’s worth to $79.5 billion — $1bn more than Microsoft.
Ortega, the son of a Spanish railway worker, began his career as a store clerk. He launched Zara in 1975 with just $100 in his pocket. He and his wife Rosalia Mera kickstarted the fashion house by making lingerie, nightgowns and pyjamas at home.
Eight years later, Ortega had expanded to nine locations around Spain. In 1984, he opened a 10,000-square-foot logistics hub.
Ortega took the title of the world’s richest man for a short span last year when Inditex shares hit an all-time high and boosted his net worth to $80bn.
With a net worth of $6.6bn, Ortega registered Inditex as a public limited enterprise in 2001 when Gates was already termed as the richest man with a fortune of $58.7bn.