Ricardo Benjamín Salinas Pliego (born 19 October 1955) is founder and chairman of Grupo Salinas, a group of companies with interests in telecommunications, media, financial services, and retail stores.
He is the fourth richest person in Mexico and 168th richest person in the world with an estimated net worth of US $8 billion in March 2015.
Ricardo Benjamín Salinas Pliego was born on 19 October 1955 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Ricardo Salinas Pliego is a CPA graduate of the ITESM. After earning his MBA at Tulane University, he joined Elektra in 1981 as import manager. He learned the business moves when the company was in dire financial straits at the continuing devaluation of 80. Between 1981 and 1986, Salinas experimented with other businesses such as a restaurant in Monterrey, satellite dishes and the sale of systems multi communication.
In 1987 Ricardo succeeded his father Hugo Salinas Price as CEO of Grupo Elektra. The company began as a family-owned furniture manufacturing company called Salinas & Rocha founded in 1906 by Salinas’ great-grandfather, Benjamin Salinas. In 1950, Hugo Salinas Rocha created Grupo Elektra and when Ricardo Salinas became CEO of the company in 1987 he refocused Elektra on basic products: appliances, electronics, and furniture. Significantly, he developed at Elektra a vast new consumer market among Mexico’s lower middle income consumers by providing credit sales and diverse financial products and services.
Grupo Elektra expanded further and became Mexico’s biggest consumer-finance company when, in 2002, it won the first banking license granted to any Mexican institution in nearly a decade. The strategy was to build new markets by creating new buying power among classes of people largely ignored by most other major Mexican businesses. So was born Banco Azteca, which currently has operations in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peru and El Salvador. Subsequently, Grupo Elektra obtained two financial licenses from the federal government to create Seguros Azteca and Afore Azteca.
Salinas is also chairman of Azteca, one of the world’s two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming. It is one of only two nationwide broadcasters in Mexico, and is now the most profitable integrated broadcaster in the world. Under his leadership, Azteca broken Mexico’s long-standing television monopoly through the successful privatization of a media package offered by the government.
In 2001, Azteca launched Azteca America, a wholly owned Spanish-language broadcasting network aimed at the 50 million-strong Hispanic population of the United States. Azteca America has affiliates in 70 markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Houston, reaching 89 percent of the Hispanic population in the U.S.
In 2003, Salinas bought Iusacell (the first cell phone company in Mexico) and four years later, merged it with Unefon, another cell phone company, founded by him in 1999. However, in early 2015, Grupo Salinas announced the sale of Iusacell to AT&T Today, with Totalplay, offers the most innovative internet and television services and telephony via fiber optics to home. Also, Enlace provides internet access to institutions and companies with a higher speed at 10 Gbit/s, telephone and TV.
In 2012, Grupo Elektra acquired Advance America, a company short-term not bank loans in the United States. Also put into operation Punto Casa de Bolsa. Group operates more than six thousand points of sale in Mexico, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Panama, El Salvador and Brazil.
Salinas has participated and addressed The World Economic Forum, The Economist Roundtable on Mexico, the Young Presidents’ Organization, UCLA, the Institute of the Americas, Harvard Business School and TED, where he discussed issues related to globalization, education, entrepreneurship, freedom and opportunity in the BOP. He also has a blog where he publishes his business, political, economic and cultural ideas and regularly writes in Newsweek in Spanish, La Opinion, the Huffington Post and the Mexican press. A year ago, was the first Mexican to elect the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute.