Mexico’s Carlos Slim beat Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for the top spot on Forbes magazine’s annual list of billionaires, becoming the first person from outside the U.S. to lead the rankings in 16 years.
The net worth of Slim, 70, who built a telecommunications empire after buying Mexico’s state-run phone monopoly two decades ago, rose $18.5 billion to $53.5 billion. Gates, 54, chairman of Microsoft Corp., fell to second as his net worth increased $13 billion to $53 billion. Buffett, 79, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., was third with $47 billion, a rise of $10 billion.
Slim is the first person other than Gates, last year’s richest person, or Buffett to top the list since 1994, which was also the last time a billionaire from outside the U.S. led the ranking: Japanese real estate tycoon Yoshiaki Tsutsumi.
“We’ve been watching Slim for a while and kind of wondered when the stars would align and he would take over,” Forbes senior editor Luisa Kroll said in an interview today.
More than 80 percent of Slim’s holdings are held in five public stocks, she said. “His net worth really reflects how well those stocks are doing. Everything that he owns has done very, very well this year.”