Meet Amancio Ortega: The Fourth Richest Person in the World

A photo of a Zara clothing store.

Billionaire Amancio Ortega owns the Zara clothing enterprise.
pio3 / Shutterstock

Did you know that eight of the ten richest people in the world are from the U.S.? Perhaps that’s why not a lot of Americans know who Amancio Ortega is, despite the fact that he’s the fourth richest person in the world.

Ortega, who is originally from Spain, is worth a mind-boggling $71.3 billion. How did he accumulate all that wealth? For starters, he is the founder of Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer.

If you’ve never heard of Inditex, perhaps you’ve heard of Zara—a popular clothing and accessories chain based in Arteixo, Spain. Inditex owns Zara.

According to Bloomberg, Inditex operates more than 7,000 stores worldwide. In 2016, the company’s reported sales were at $25.7 billion.

Impressive, and yet, Ortega is worth more than double that. So where else does his wealth come from?

According to Forbes, Ortega earns more than $400 million in dividends a year, with the majority of his investments being in real estate. Cities he’s taken an interest in include Madrid, Barcelona, London, Chicago, Miami, and New York.

As for the secret to his success, Ortega has a formula that boils down to five key points:

  1. Outpace the competitor
  2. Focus on the customer’s want
  3. Control the supply chain
  4. Remain humble
  5. Never become complacent

It’s surprising that most Americans haven’t heard of Amancio Ortega, considering that his life is a true rag-to-riches story. Growing up, his father was a railroad worker and his mother was a housemaid.

At the young age of 14, Ortega dropped out of school to start working. Those closest to him describe him as being a highly motivated problem-solver who loves to explore new ideas.

According to CNBC, at 80-years-old, Ortega still goes to the office most days and is constantly trying to improve his business. In many ways, he embodies everything that is the American dream.

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