Net Worth: $37.5 billion UP
Ortega stepped down as chairman of his global fashion firm, Inditex, in July 2011, but the company hasn’t missed a beat. Shares are up one fourth in the past year, helping boost his fortune by $6.5 billion and pushing him into the global top 5 ranks for the first time. Ortega paid $536 million to billionaire Esther Koplowitz in December for Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid. He also owns Epic Residences & Hotel, a luxury 54-story waterfront condo and hotel development in Miami. Other personal holdings include a stake in a soccer league and a horse-jumping circuit. A railway worker's son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also a billionaire, he started making dressing gowns and lingerie in his living room. His daughter Marta, who works for Inditex, married Spanish equestrian star Sergio Alvarez Moya in February.
(javier rodriguez El Pais Photos/Newscom) More From Forbes: The World’s Billionaire Women The World’s Billionaire Newcomers The World’s Youngest Billionaires The World’s Billionaire Dropoffs The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.