(Telegraph) Carlos Slim: At home with the world’s richest man
Exclusive: Carlos Slim is a multi-billionaire with a difference. Shunning a lavish lifestyle, his passion is for fine art and he is about to open a museum in Mexico, named after his late wife, so that others can appreciate his enormous ‘money no object’ collection.
You have to be brave to take on the traffic in Mexico City. But the world’s richest man, at the wheel of his car, certainly relishes a challenge. With a convoy of bodyguards following closely behind in blacked-out 4x4s, his navy Mercedes darts across the lanes.
“Would you like me to scare you?” he says with a twinkle in his eye, accelerating suddenly and laughing at my braced position as we jostle through the congested streets.
This is not what I had expected when I was granted a rare interview with Carlos Slim Helú.
But Mr Slim is no ordinary multi-billionaire. His 42-year-old son Marco Antonio – “Tony” – sitting in the back of the car, laughs when I ask if his father normally drives himself around. “Always,” he replies.
Despite his $53.5 billion (£32.9 billion) fortune, the 71-year-old lives in a modest six-bedroom house a mile from his office, and has no interest in flashy super-yachts or palatial houses around the world.
His grey pinstripe suit may be made by Brioni, the fine Italian tailors, but his watch is a very ordinary-looking plain dial with a leather strap. His black leather loafers are shiny, but no more brilliant than any other self-respecting Mexican businessman’s.
Indeed, his only concessions to luxury are a fondness for Cuban cigars, a box of which sits on the coffee table in his office, and a passion for fine art. A new museum to house his vast collection is due to open in Mexico City next week, and the quality is evident from a visit to his office.
In the lobby of his headquarters, housed in an unassuming building in the city’s upmarket business district, is a bronze of Michelangelo’s Pietà, while the walls are covered with Van Goghs, Renoirs and El Grecos.
A Rodin sits outside his door – one of the 380 in his possession, the largest number in private hands in the world. It is the definition of a “money no object” collection.