Railway worker's son-Spain's self-made mogul Amancio Ortega-becomes the world's richest

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 26, 2015 15:36 hrs

The richest man on earth, Bill Gates, relinquished the coveted position briefly to pave way for a Spanish fashion retailer who avoids press meetings.

According to Forbes' real-time tracker, Spain's self-made mogul Amancio Ortega, who transformed apparel group Inditex from a small family dressmaker into a mammoth, whisked past Bill Gates to become the wealthiest person on the planet, with a fortune of $79.8 billion.

With their personal fortunes linked to the stock price fluctuation, Ortega's wealth touched $80 billion on Friday morning last week making him the most richest.

This was possible as Ortega's holding company Industria de Diseño Textil (Inditex) reached an all-time high of 33.99 euros per share Friday morning.

However, Gates got back his title during the same day led by 10% gains in Microsoft stock.

The two billionaires are set to swap the coveted tag in the coming days on the Forbes real-time global rich list drawn by the movement of their company's stocks.

In this real-time battle, the fortunes of 79-year-old son of a Spanish railway worker are blossoming as Inditex shares have shot up nearly 40% this year. In the last 10 years, the market value of Inditex has risen by about 570%, helping Ortega climb the ranking ladder, said Business Insider.

He holds a 59.3% share in what is now the world's biggest fashion retailer Zara, ahead of Gap and Hennes & Mauritz.

Ortega's biographer described his memories of a childhood during which his family could not always afford enough food. He left school in his early teens, working his way up from the absolute bottom rung as a messenger boy in a shop, reported Business Insider India.

He is known for selecting designs based on feedback from shop assistants who count on shoppers' reactions.

"If he speaks to a shop assistant and he likes what they had to say, he will pay more attention to that than to any of his managers," a former Inditex director told Reuters.

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