Amancio Ortega

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Amancio Ortega Gaona (born March 28, 1936, Spain) is a fashion entrepreneur, Spain's richest man and in 2007 the 8th richest man in the world (Forbes) and the founder, with his then-wife Rosalia Mera (divorced in 1986), and chairman of the Inditex Group.

Ortega arrived at La Coruña, Galicia, at age 14, due to the job of his father, railway worker. Starting as a gofer in various shirt stores in A Coruña, Galicia, in 1963 he founded Confecciones Goa (his initials in reverse), which made bathrobes. In 1975 he opened the first store in what would grow into the enormously popular chain of fashion stores called Zara. These establishments begin to open all over Spain and in 1988, with the opening of the store in Oporto (Portugal), the international expansion begins, first in Europe, then in America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. After the increase of the company's activities, in 1985 the Inditex group is created.

He is the majority shareholder of the Inditex group (Industrias de Diseño Textil Sociedad Anónima) which includes the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Zara Home, Kiddy's Class, Tempe, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear/Often and Bershka and has more than 14,000 employees.

Ortega keeps a very low profile and there are practically no photographs of him (except from one photo published at the Inditex website). He refuses to wear a tie, and likes to dress in blue jeans. He is said to take a very active part in the production and design process in the company.

When he made a public appearance in 2000 - as part of the warm-up prior to floating his company on the stock market in 2001 - it made headlines in the Spanish financial press. However, he has never given an interview, and his secrecy has led to the publication of books such as Amancio Ortega: DE CERO A ZARA (From Zero to Zara) (ISBN 84-9734-167-8).

Other activities

In the year 2001 the Amancio Ortega Foundation is created, a non profit institution that tries to promote all type of activities in different fields like investigation, education, and science.

Ortega has also diversified his enterprise towards other industrial sectors like real estates, financial, auto dealers and investment funds management. His known hobbies are painting, automobiles and equestrian.

Marcos, his only son, was born with a serious handicap and the industralist promoted the Paideia foundation, institution that supports minors with disabilities and that is directed by Rosalía Mera. He married Flora Perez Marcote, an employee in one of his stores, and currently lives with her in a discreet apartment building in the centre of A Coruña (Corunna).

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