The success of ZARA had no effect on the lifestyle Ortega. The son of a railway worker and a maid who came from the very bottom did not acquire the habits of the nouveau riche. He is unassuming in everyday life, as well as in the choice of clothes, he was seen in a tie only once, and then at his own wedding. The richest Spaniard does not live in a luxurious mansion, but in a large but ordinary apartment, does not drive a Bentley, but an Audi A8, leads a very closed lifestyle and does not communicate with the press at all.
For many decades Amancio Ortega was known by the only photo in circulation. It was only in 1999, when INDITEX released its first annual report, that new pictures of it finally appeared. Ortega – a rare guest at official events. Even when the Spanish Crown Prince Felipe visited the headquarters of INDITEX, he instructed one of his subordinates to receive the royal person. According to people from his entourage, for Ortega it was a torment to work with investment bankers in preparation for the initial public offering of the company's shares on the stock exchange. One of the financial tycoons in an interview with the Financial Times noted: "We saw what a torture it was for him."
However, the success exceeded all expectations. Within the first minutes after the start of trading, the value of the holding's shares increased by 26%. After 30 minutes, the remaining 60% of Ortega's shares brought him $ 6 billion. He learned about the quotation of his shares at work from the television news, after which he went to lunch at the company's cafeteria. The head of the corporation INDITEX became the hero of the gossip column only once, in 1986, when he divorced his first wife, leaving her $ 600 million. No one has ever paid such compensation in Spain. He has two children from his first marriage, and a daughter Marta Ortega Perez from his second marriage. She's his favorite, he dotes on her. But this is the only weakness of the Terminator, as it is often called .Ortega in Spain. Tough, demanding, stubborn, able to go ahead, Ortega, unlike the odious hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, not so much destroyed as created, while showing remarkable organizational talent and the ability to anticipate market conditions. Even when he retired, leaving the post of CEO in 2011, but retaining 59.29% of the company's shares, not a single sketch of a new model comes out without his blessing. He has a fantastic sense of what will be in demand tomorrow. In the sprint race of clothing manufacturers, where the first to the finish line comes the one who reacts fastest to changes in fashion trends, Amancio Ortega has no equal.
75-year-old Ortega said that the decision to retire will not prevent him from defending the interests of his enterprises and remaining a member of the board of INDITEX. However, even the most brilliant visionary can be wrong. Therefore, in the stores ZARA all sellers are equipped with mini-computers. Demand for a particular model is tracked online. Whenever a customer crosses the threshold of the store and asks questions to the seller, his wishes are recorded and automatically sent to the head office of INDITEX. No wonder the company's motto is: "Our customers are our accomplices!"They say that he invented it himself Ortega.
But man does not live by a single fashion. Ortega loves horseback riding. His love for horses even prompted him to buy an equestrian center in Finisterre in Galicia. The founder of ZARA spends a lot of money on finding new talents and charity. The Amancio Ortega Foundation has signed an agreement with the charity organization Caritas, according to which it donated 20 million euros to the Basic Assistance Program in Spain. Thanks to it, residents of a country in difficult economic conditions can receive food, medicines, funds for housing rent or children's education for free. This is the largest donation ever received by this charity.
Thus, Amancio Ortega has found a worthy way to demonstrate that wealth, which is often accused of arrogance, elitism in the most negative sense of the word, selfishness, can be generous and socially responsible. The civic activity of the creator of ZARA was marked by the honorary Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spanish Orden de Isabel la Católica), which is awarded in Spain for special services to the state.
As life shows, Mr. Ortega always stands guard over his interests and property, but the amazing thing is that it is thanks to his selfishness that Spanish fashion has found a second wind, and the Spaniards themselves have the opportunity to survive difficult times.
Author: Igor Mamin