Chair, TelMex and Carso Foundation
Slim's companies help Latin America work. His América Móvil wireless service operates in 16 countries and provides phone service to more than 137 million customers. In his home country, Mexico, Slim's TelMex controls more than 90% of the phone connections. His companies build roads and erect oil platforms, his banks loan money to businesses and consumers alike, and he even sells knickknacks through his Sanborn's retail chain.
The son of a Lebanese immigrant, Slim, 67, has a personal fortune of about $59 billion, making him the world's richest man; Slim-controlled companies make up one-third of the $422 billion Mexican stock exchange - a position of unique dominance. It is all but impossible for the average Mexican to function without interacting with a Slim-controlled company in some way every day. Slim shrugs off accusations he is a monopolist or an oligarch. With family members installed at various Slim companies, the billionaire is spending more time giving away some of his fortune. --Stephanie N. Mehta