Amancio Ortega is a Spanish billionaire businessman and the founder and former chairman of the Inditex fashion group. Inditex is a global fashion company that owns several well-known brands, including Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, and Stradivarius, among others. He is also known as the richest person in Spain.
Ortega was born in Busdongo de Arbas, León, Spain, to Antonio Ortega Rodríguez and Josefa Gaona Hernández. He spent his childhood in Tolosa, Gipuzkoa and was the youngest of four children. At the age of 14, he moved to A Coruña with his family, as his father was a railway worker, requiring them to relocate.
Due to the move, Ortega had to leave school, later securing a job as a shop hand for a local shirt maker, Gala, which is still located on the same corner in downtown A Coruña. There, he learned to make clothes by hand.
Ortega values his privacy and has only granted three interviews to journalists, as of 2012. He keeps a low profile and is known for being reclusive. Prior to 1999, no photograph of him had ever been published. However, it has been noted that Ortega has a simple style and prefers to dress casually. He often wears a blue blazer, white shirt, and gray trousers.
In 1966, Ortega married Rosalía Mera Goyenechea and they had two children, Marcos and Sandra Ortega Mera. However, the couple divorced in 1986. Ortega then married Flora Pérez Marcote in 2001, where they went on to have a daughter named Marta Ortega Pérez, who was born in 1984. Despite owning an extensive real estate portfolio, as of 2017, Ortega mostly resides with his wife in his apartment in A Coruña, Spain.
Ortega is often seen being chauffeured in a black Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W221) and a black Mercedes-Benz GL-Class (X166). He also owns two yachts, “Drizzle” and “Valoria B,” as well as private jets such as Gulfstream G650 and Bombardier Global Express.
In 1963, Ortega established Confecciones Goa to specialize in the sale of quilted bathrobes. Later in 1975, he and his wife Rosalía Mera opened the first Zara store. By 2009, Ortega owned 59.29% of Inditex, which is the parent company of Zara and other brands such as Massimo Dutti, Zara Home, Bershka, Pull & Bear, and more, with 6,000 stores and 92,000 employees.
In 2000, his public appearance during the warm-up for Inditex’s initial public offering made headlines, but Ortega has granted interviews to only three journalists.
In 2011, Ortega announced his intention to retire from Inditex and named the current CEO, Pablo Isla, as his successor. The following year, he donated around €20 million to Caritas Internationalis, a Roman Catholic relief organization. Additionally, Ortega has invested in real estate, including the purchase of the Torre Picasso skyscraper in Madrid and the Epic Residences and Hotel in Miami, Florida.
Ortega has also been recognized for his philanthropic efforts, including an award from the Spanish Association of Foundations for the 2017 Philanthropic Initiative category. He donated €300 million to purchase 440 machines for cancer detection in Spain, which increased the number of Spanish public hospitals with stereotactic radiotherapy machines from 20 to 70.
Ortega is known for being very private and reclusive, and he rarely gives interviews or appears in public. Despite this, he is one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of over $80 billion. He has been listed as one of the richest people in the world by Forbes magazine since 2001.
Ortega has been involved in several philanthropic projects throughout his life, including the creation of the Amancio Ortega Foundation, which supports education, social welfare, and scientific research. He has also donated millions of euros to healthcare organizations in Spain, including a $320 million donation to the public healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following his retirement as CEO of Inditex in 2005 and Executive Chair in 2011, Amancio Ortega continued to oversee the product side of the business. This included design, manufacturing, and sales. During his tenure, Inditex’s operating profits remained high, and sales quadrupled to €13.8 billion ($19.1 billion). Despite stepping down as Executive Chair, Ortega still owns 59.3% of the company and remains the Official Advisor to the Board as of April 2022.
Apart from his involvement in Inditex, Ortega has also been busy building one of the largest real estate portfolios in Europe. His holdings include the Torre Picasso, which is the tallest building in Madrid, and numerous commercial sites around the world, as well as historic properties in prestigious areas of London, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Barcelona.
According to Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires list, as of February 15, 2023, Amancio Ortega’s net worth is estimated to be $87.7 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.
Amancio Ortega has received various honors and awards throughout his career. Here are a few notable achievements and recognitions: