Amancio Ortega

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Person.png Amancio Ortega  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(billionaire, businessman)
Amancio Ortega 2015 Photograph.jpg
Born28 March 1936
SpouseRosalía Mera
One of the five richest men in the world, allegedly created fortune out of nothing.

Employment.png Inditex/Chair

In office
1975 - 2011
Succeeded byPablo Isla

Amancio Ortega Gaona is a Spanish billionaire businessman. He is the founder and former chairman of Inditex fashion group, best known for its chain of Zara clothing and accessories shops. As of April 2021, Ortega had a net worth of $71 billion, making him the second-wealthiest person in Europe after Bernard Arnault, and the thirteen-wealthiest in the world.[1] For a brief period of time in 2015, he was the richest man in the world, surpassing Bill Gates when his net worth peaked to $80 billion as Zara's parent company, Inditex's, stock peaked.[2]

The official narrative is that he left school and moved to the provincial town of La Coruña in Galicia, Spain at the age of 14, due to the job of his father, a railway worker[3]. Shortly after, he found a job as a shop hand for a local shirtmaker, and learned to make clothes by hand. In 1975, the first Zara store was opened in La Coruña, from where he eventually conquered the Spanish clothes market, before expanding massively internationally.

Ortega is very private about himself, as of 2012 he had only given three interviews to journalists. Until 1999, no photograph of Ortega had ever been published.


His career began at the age of 14 as a handyman in a clothing store in A Coruña. His activities as a textile entrepreneur began in 1963: Initially, Ortega was a manufacturer of bathrobes

In 1975, he opened his first Zara store with his wife Rosalía Mera.[4]

In 2009, Zara was part of the Inditex group (Industrias de Diseño Textil Sociedad Anónima), of which Ortega owned 59.29%, and aside from over 6,000 stores included the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti and others and has more than 92,000 employees.[5]

His public appearance in 2000, as part of the warm-up prior to his company's initial public offering on the stock market in 2001, made headlines in the Spanish financial press. However, he has only ever granted interviews to three journalists.[6]

In 2011, Ortega announced his imminent retirement from Inditex, parent company of the Zara chain, stating that he would ask Inditex vice-president and CEO Pablo Isla to take his place as head. In 2012 Ortega donated about €20 million to Caritas Internationalis, a Roman Catholic relief organisation.[7]

He purchased the Torre Picasso skyscraper in Madrid. He also purchased the Epic Residences and Hotel in Miami, Florida.[8]

In July 2017, for its second edition of the AEF awards, the Spanish Association of Foundations awarded Amancio Ortega in the 2017 Philanthropic Initiative category.[9] He also donated 300 million euros to fight cancer across Spain, which were invested in the purchase of 440 machines to detect the disease. As a result of this, the number of Spanish public hospitals equipped with stereotactic radiotherapy machines has risen from 20 to 70.[10] However, these decisions were not unanimously welcomed and were criticized by some political parties like Podemos.[11] Recently, news indicate that he has bought the Troy Block complex, known to the public as one of the buildings where Amazon Seattle has its headquarters.[12]

It was revealed in July 2020 that Ortega's property holdings, through his investment company Pontegadea, were worth $17.2 billion. Ortega is the executive chairman of Pontegadea, and real estate assets in his portfolio include Manhattan’s Haughwout Building and Southeast Financial Center. In 2019, the company completed a $72.5 million deal for a downtown Chicago hotel, which followed purchases of a building in Washington’s central business district and two Seattle office buildings.[13]

Ortega was reported to have lost $10 billion as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.[14]