Amancio Ortega, ranked 14th among the world’s richest individuals, holds a staggering net worth of $85.4 billion (around Rs 7,10,288 crore). This Spanish business magnate sits between India’s Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani in the elite global wealth rankings, surpassing even Adani and Ratan Tata in riches.
Born on March 29, 1936, Ortega’s humble beginnings saw his father working in the railways and his mother as a homemaker. His journey into the clothing industry commenced at the tender age of 13 when he began working as a delivery boy in a clothing store. His path led him to an assistant role in a tailor shop, where he garnered valuable insights into the intricacies of the clothing trade.
This knowledge propelled him to establish a clothing store targeting affluent customers and later venture into the bathrobe business in 1963. The turning point arrived in 1975 with the opening of the first Zara store, marking the start of an extraordinary success story.
Expanding his business horizons, Ortega founded Inditex as a holding company in 1985. Within a decade, he expanded globally into Portugal, France, and the United States. Under his leadership, brands like Pull&Bear and Bershka were launched, while acquisitions included Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius.
In 2001, Inditex’s IPO raised an impressive $2.7 billion. By 2010, the company boasted over 5,000 stores across 77 countries. Ortega himself received dividends exceeding $10 billion by 2001.
With earnings from dividends, Ortega wisely invested in prime office spaces and retail properties in key cities of Spain, the United States, and Europe. His business acumen made Inditex a globally trusted entity, notably achieved without excessive spending on advertising. Stepping down as chairman in 2011, speculation arose regarding his daughter, Marta Ortega Perez, possibly taking the helm at Inditex. Marta’s journey within the company began as a salesperson, hinting at a potential dynastic shift in the company’s leadership.