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30 Surprising Facts About Business Tycoon Amancio Ortega

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Amancio Ortega Gaona, the famous Spanish business tycoon, is the founder and former chairman of Inditex fashion group. As per the Forbes 2017 list, he is the richest in the world with an estimated net worth of $85 billion. Here are some interesting facts about the business magnet:

  1. Unlike any other chairman or CEO, Ortega can be seen sharing a table on the factory floor, with some of the designers, fabric experts and buyers.
  2. In 2017, the Charity Foundation of Ortega will donate €320 million to Spain’s healthcare sector for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, specifically for the acquisition of 290 pieces of oncology apparatus; making it one of the largest philanthropic donations ever made in the country.
  3. Ortega is the wealthiest retailer in the world, as his company Inditex operates over 7000 stores including the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Zara Home, Kiddy's Class, Tempe, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear, Bershka.
  4. In 1972, Ortega founded Confecciones Goa (his initials in reverse), that sold quilted bathrobes, produced by thousands of local women organized into sewing cooperatives.
  5. Ortega launched the first online boutique for ZARA on September 6, 2010. The website started catering its online services in Spain, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Germany and France - six countries that were among the then most important of the company’s 76 markets.
  6. He is famously known for keeping a very low profile due to his preference for simple lifestyle. He has declined interviews for years and it took more than 20 years for his photo to be published.
  7. In 2011, Ortega announced his imminent retirement from Inditex, parent company of the Zara chain, stating that Inditex vice-president and CEO Pablo Isla will take his place at the helm of the textile empire.
  8. In order to start his own company, he asked for a loan of 2000 pesetas, or about 30 euros from the bank to create a cheaper version of a quilted bathrobe that became the foundation of his business.
  9. He initially wanted to name the most popular clothing line Zara, as Zorba, after his favorite character in the movie "Zorba the Greek." However, since he was not able to acquire permission for usage, he shuffled the letters and settled in the name Zara.
  10. He made headlines in the Spanish Financial Press, when he made a public appearance as part of the warm-up before Inditex's IPO on stock market in 2001.
  11. Ortega employs more than 200 people in the Zara's creative team, to keep up with the fashion demands. However, he is said to have a very active part in the production and design process.
  12. His daughter Sandra Ortega Mera, with his first wife, Rosalía Mera, is one of the wealthiest people in the world, with a net worth of $7.3 billion. She works with the Mera's foundation for those with mental and physical disabilities, Fundación Paideia Galiza.
  13. At the age of 14, Ortega reportedly left his home to earn more money for his family, and started working for a shirtmaker, called Gala, by learning to make clothes by hand.
  14. In the year 2012, Ortega donated about 20 million euros to Caritas Internationalis, a Roman Catholic relief organization.
  15. He believes in "working to the minute," and one Zara factory in Tunisia, North Africa, reportedly produces 1,200 pieces per day that is around 150 pieces per hour. This means, it takes around 38 minutes to finish one piece of clothing. It is said that, if any particular piece takes longer than 38 minutes, the plant starts to lose money.
  16. Zara is part of the Inditex group (Industrias de Diseño Textil Sociedad Anónima), of which Ortega owns 59.29%, and has more than 92,000 employees.
  17. In the year 2015, Ortega donated €17 million ($18 million) to the health system in the Spanish region of Galicia.
  18. Ortega reportedly eats lunch with his employees in the company cafeteria. He is said to visit the same coffee shop every day in La Coruña, the Galician city on the North Atlantic’s windy coast, where he has spent most of his life.
  19. In 1975, he opened his first Zara store with his wife, Rosalie Mera. The duo had two children together before getting divorced in 1986.
  20. It is reported that Ortega follows a "Fast Fashion," policy, for his clothing line and it only takes around 2 weeks for Zara to design, develop and produce new products.
  21. He has a passion for horse riding. Apart from that, he is also known to spend his time raising chickens on his country estate.
  22. It was reported that he began dating Flora Pérez Marcote, when he was still married to Rosalie. Following his divorce with Rosalie, he married Flora.
  23. He was born on March 28, 1936, in Busdongo de Arbás, León, Spain to Antonio Ortega Rodríguez, a railway worker and Josefa Gaona Hernández, a housemaid.
  24. He is known for his typical attire of a blue blazer, white shirt, and gray trousers, none of which are Zara products. He refuses to wear a tie at any circumstance.
  25. It is reported that Ortega prefers to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores, rather than advertising budgets. The little it spends goes to strengthen its identity as a clothing retailer.
  26. His daughter Marta Ortega with his second wife Flora Pérez Marcote, acts as a senior creative consultant on all Zara Woman collections, and reportedly has the first pick of the new clothes before they hit stores.
  27. He is known for selecting designs based on the various feedbacks from shop assistants who usually zero in on shoppers' reactions.
  28. His first wife, Rosalie Mera co-founded the company, passed away in 2013. She was the richest woman in Spain, at the time of her death. She was also the world's richest self-made woman.
  29. His third daughter Marta Ortega, who is rumored to take over the textile empire, started working out as a shop girl in the Oxford Street flagship store while pursuing her Business Management course.
  30. His company, Inditex, headquartered in Arteixo, Galicia, Spain, is said to produce over one billion pieces of clothes annually. Out of this more than 270 million items are shipped only to the Zara stores, which is around 5 million items every week.
  31. Amancio Ortega Net Worth: $82.3 Billion

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