Amancio Ortega, Inditex Co-founder

Amancio Ortega, World's Third Richest Man

Amancio Ortega, World’s Third Richest Man

Let’s start the year, the 3rd day of the month with the 3rd richest man in the world – Amancio Ortega. This Spanish fashion executive is said to have a net worth of $57 billion according to Forbes magazine, and that was still in early 2013. Well, it’s been a year now, so, surely things have changed then.

Yet how did Ortega accumulate such a fortune?

Ortega’s father was a railway worker. That alone tells that he was not born with a silver spoon. But obviously, this became a great motivation to move up in life. And so early into his teens, he got a utility job for Gala, a local shirtmaker. This perhaps is what influenced him into the textile or clothing business.

Since opening his first Zara store in 1975, today, Inditex has over 6,000 stores with brands like Massimo Dutti, Tempe, Zara, Kiddy’s Class, Oysho, and Bershka among others, and including 92,000 employees. To date, he is still active in the company’s design and production processes – a sign of passion present in every successful entrepreneur.

Even so, in spite of his stores’ omnipresence, Ortega never had any picture of himself published until 1999. His daily routine of going to the same coffee shop, wearing simple clothes instead of a suit, and eating lunch with his employees in the company’s canteen … was just something to behold of.

Ahh, low profile indeed, even only giving interviews to three journalists since. This desire for utmost privacy even extended to his family. Hmm… did you know that he reportedly paid $500,000 just to prevent the paparazzi from publishing photos of his daughter’s honeymoon? Hah, if only for money, certainly good for the paparazzi.

But then, respect. People even known personalities should also be given space, especially if they ask for it, they got a life too. Can’t be too curious if one is leading a “double life” or something, so long as there’s no harm done, it’s fine. Maybe funny but Ortega’s mysterious life did lead to books like  Amancio Ortega: de cero a Zara, the latter part meaning “from zero to Zara.”

Last year, Ortega was the biggest gainer, his wealth up by $19.5 billion according to Forbes – not to mention having other properties worth over $4 billion. Pretty good for one who just started as a store’s errand boy.

Truly, ambition without hard work is useless.

What’s your take?