I have chosen Carlos Slim Helú for my Business Leader. The reason I have chosen him is that I admire his dedication, mentality and his commitment to philanthropy. I was curious to learn about the most successful man in the world, in terms of wealth. It was his giving nature that first peaked my interest in researching him. I was curious as to how he amassed such a great wealth and how he was using that wealth for the betterment of mankind. Another reason that I selected Slim was because I am very interested in Mexico and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the country from a new perspective. Slim certainly exemplifies all the characteristics of a business leader and it is for this reason that I am glad I have chosen him to research.
Carlos Slim is considered a leader due to the success of his endeavors and his commitment to humanitarianism. He has served on numerous boards for companies, including Altria and SBC Communications, Inc. Since 2004, Carlos Slim has retired from many of his board positions in order to focus more time and energy on his humanitarian efforts, such as his IDEAL (translates to, “Promoter of Development and Employment in Latin America”) project, which sought to greatly improve infrastructure, health and education. Carlos Slim has been one of the leading forces in the drive to close the health inequality gap faced by the poorest 20% of people living in Central America. It is clear that Slim’s actions have shown him to be a business leader in all definitions of the term.
Carlos Slim is different from other people in that he is one of the most humble billionaires imaginable. He was married to the same woman since their marriage in 1966 until her death in 1999. His six children are all responsible, respectful and successful in their own right. Slim’s philanthropy is unmatched in its scope and volume. From the Fundacíon Carlos Slim Helú, which he established in 1986, to the Funadacíon Telmex which was established in 1995 Slim has always been a gracious donor. In 2011, Slim was named one of Forbes’ World’s Biggest Givers after donating 4 billion dollars to his foundation to benefit Central American people. It is Carlos Slim’s humility and generous nature that separates him from other business leaders.
Carlos Slim Helú had an interesting childhood and it was through his childhood that he learned many of the things he still values greatly to this day. Carlos Slim was born on January 28, 1940 to parents, Julián Slim Haddad and Doña Linda Helú, both of Lebanese descent. His father was a self-made success in Mexico, through his hard work and forward thinking business decisions. Early on in life Slim learned the importance of family and business lessons which were instilled in him by his father. When he was only 12 years old, he opened a checking account and purchased shares of Banco Nacional de Mexico. Julián Slim Haddad passed away suddenly in 1953 when Carlos Slim was only 13 years old; this deeply affected both him and his family. Carlos Slim was hit hard by his father’s death and it inspired him to succeed in anything that he did. He finished college in 1961 and was ready to tackle the world as an eager and talented young man. Slim’s childhood set the foundations for his success and it also reminded him to stay grounded.
Slim built his corporation from the ground up, beginning in 1965 when he set the foundations for Grupo Carso, which later incorporated in January 1966. Through the years Slim created and added businesses to his Grupo Carso. The company had its IPO in 1990 which was then followed by mergers of the Grupo Carso’s companies and international IPOs. The most notable acquisition was Telemex in partnership with Southwestern Bell and France Telecom. The company which developed out of this was TELCEL, which in 1990 had 35,000 customers and today has 290 million customers in Latin America. Carlos Slim orchestrated the investing strategies which lead to Grupos Carso’s success. His wife’s death in 1999 was another trying experience in Slim’s life. Soumaya Domit Gemayel, his wife of 33 years, was an important part of his life and her loss deeply saddened him, but it was through this that Slim decided to put a greater focus on philanthropy than ever before. In 2004, after many years of success, Slim stepped down from many of his board positions to focus his efforts on giving back. Since then, he has donated vast amounts of money and time to humanitarian efforts, mainly in Mexico and Central America. Slim is an excellent example of how experience makes a man. It is through the trying times in his life that he has found the desire to go forth and succeed.
Carlos Slim is a good role model for any young man. He is a great success, both in the business world and in his personal life. Lessons I have learned from him are to learn from your experiences, but not to dwell on your failures. As he said, "Live the present intensely and fully, do not let the past be a burden, and let the future be an incentive. Each person forges his or her own destiny." He is inspirational in his ability to see opportunity and capitalize. The main lesson he has taught me is to never lose sight of the most important things in life. Success can be blinding and it is important to never lose sight of truly important things such as family.
Carlos Slim has made many contributions to the business world, both through the companies he has headed and through his past, present, and future humanitarian efforts in the Central Americas. Carlos Slim has created thousands upon thousands of jobs in some of Central America’s most impoverished areas. His companies provided services which would have otherwise been available to Mexico and Central America, such as the internet. Through his charities Slim has improved the lives of countless people throughout the years. His desire to see people involved in sports has led to a world record held by his charity Fundacíon Telmax for the most participants in an amateur sports tournament. Slim’s foundation donated over 100,000 computers to schools in Mexico in 2008 as an initiative to improve education in Mexico. In 2009 Slim made an initial donation of 100 million to the World Wildlife Fund to support the conservation of biodiversity and promote sustainable development practices in Mexico.
For his continued humanitarianism, Slim has received many awards. His first award dates back to 1985 when he was awarded a Medal of Honor to Merit Business. Slim continued accumulating many accolades and awards through the years, notably he received a lifetime achievement award in June of 2006 from the Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad. Slim continues to receive awards for his efforts to betterment of society, most recently receiving the Red Cross Badge of Honor and Merit in February 2012. The award was given to Slim for his long-standing humanitarian efforts worldwide.
I am glad that I was able to research Carlos Slim for this assignment. His life story is encouraging and his dedication to society is commendable. I would venture to say that Slim is one of the best examples of a modern day business leader in our world today.
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