Zara Founder Overtakes Bill Gates as Richest Man in the World


Think of the world’s richest man and the term will be arguably synonymous with Bill Gates.

However, the Microsoft founder, who has topped the list of the world’s richest for a record 17 times in the past two decades, has since been surpassed. According to Forbes’ real-time billionaires list, Zara magnate and founder Amancio Ortega recently surpassed Gates to become the new world’s richest with a climb to $78 billion against Gate’s estimate of $77.4 billion.

Given his fluctuating net worth, Ortega has overtaken Gates on numerous occasions in the past, though briefly.

The famously frugal self-made billionaire, who left school at 13 to work in a clothes shop, is often spotted in the same blazer and shirt, which are not from his Zara clothing empire. Ortega, 80, whose father was a railway worker in La Coruña, founded the world famous clothing empire from his living room with Rosalia Mera, his ex-wife, before establishing the Inditex fashion group.

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Ortega is famously guarded about his personal life, rarely participating in press interviews. And despite being the richest person in the world, the Zara magnate is said to live a rather modest lifestyle, often buying coffee from the same café he’s frequented for years and dining with his employees in the staff canteen.

As for Gates, he would likely welcome Ortega’s overtaking. The Microsoft head famously said in a May 2006 interview that he was not fond of the attention that came with being the richest man in the world.

Gates, who once declared money to be of “no utility to me beyond a certain point” leads a pledge from among the world’s richest to donate much of their fortunes, and by 2013, has since donated some $28 billion through his foundation.

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