Thursday, July 28, 2011

ZARA founder step down as chairman

Amancio Ortega, the richest man in Spain and founder of Zara, is stepping down from his post as Chairman of Zara’s parent company Inditex, as announced at a company meeting this week, according to The Guardian. He founded the company with his ex-wife Rosalia Mera in the early 1970s and has been at the helm ever since. Though Zara is Inditex’s most recognizable brand, the corporation owns over 100 textile companies.

Ortega is definitely seen as the tough powerhouse behind the world’s biggest retailer – and his modest background on the ground floor of retail has definitely helped shape that. Ortega dropped out of school at 13, sold shirts in a store, then starting selling his own bathrobes, and eventually began selling his wife’s designs in a store that started the Zara empire.

Though he’s stepping down, Ortega still retains 59.3 percent of the company’s shares – which is how he’s worth an estimated $31 billion, making him the 7th wealthiest person in the world. His ex-wife Mera still owns 7 percent, so she’s worth a cool $3 billion herself. Pablo Isla, a 47-year-old managing director at Inditex since 2005, is taking over Ortega’s job.

Why’s Ortega stepping down? Well, for one, he’s 75. Two, he’s obsessed with keeping out of the public eye – he’s never given an official interview to the media. In that case, it looks like our only way to understand Ortega’s departure is to guess.

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