Amancio Ortega, billionaire cofounder of Spanish retailer Inditex, best known for its Zara brand, became the world’s wealthiest person on Wednesday. Less than a day later, he was overtaken by Bill Gates.
Wednesday’s ascent marked the fourth time he had reigned as world’s richest. In each case, he has lost his spot to Gates within 48 hours.
Ortega, 81, was worth $82.4 billion as of 10:30 am Eastern Time on Thursday, according to Forbes’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires. That represented a $2.6 billion decline over his net worth a day earlier, thanks to a more than 3% fall in Inditex’ share price on Spain’s BME stock exchange.
He is now the third-richest person in the world, trailing Gates ($85.1 billion) and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($83.4 billion). Bezos’ net worth jumped $2 billion in the 24 hours through 10:30 am Eastern Time on Thursday; Gates’ swelled about $500 million. Both Gates and Bezos have held the top spot on Forbes’ billionaires list at some point this summer.
Ortega’s first stint atop the Forbes real-time list came in October 2015, after Inditex’ stock rallied to an all-time high. He next took the lead in September 2016, but he lost his spot two days later. On Tuesday of this week, he held the title for a few hours. Wednesday’s rally was the fourth, and latest, instance he has ranked as first.
More than 80% of Ortega’s fortune is tied up in Inditex shares, making his net worth particularly susceptible to stock market fluctuations. Jeff Bezos also holds the vast majority of his fortune in a public company, Amazon, which has resulted in major swings to his net worth as well, and to the Forbes billionaire rankings.
The son of a railway worker, Ortega cofounded Inditex—parent company to fashion chain Zara—with his late ex-wife, Rosalia Mera. They steadily grew the business into a global operation that now boasts a market capitalization north of $100 billion. – Written by ,