Belmiro de Azevedo is a Portuguese businessman who has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion. He owns a controlling stake and is the Chairman in one of the largest business groups in Portugal, Sonae SGPS. The group operates in approximately 65 countries including Spain, Brazil, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Germany and the Zippy children’s clothing stores in Saudi Arabia. Belmiro was born in 1938 and his success story with Sonae may seem straight out of a film.
Belmiro completed his graduation in chemical engineering from the University of Porto and acquired his MBA from Harvard University. After completing his education, Belmiro took a small stake in Sonae at the age of 27 (1965). At that point of time it was a small Portuguese manufacturing firm. Just two years later, at the age of 29, he became the CEO of this company – a post which he held for almost five decades. In all these years Belmiro turned it into one of the largest international holding company.
The company grew over the years in leaps and bounds. In 1985 it expanded into supermarkets, hotels in ’86, technology two years later, real estate in ’89 and media in 1990. Azevedo now holds a 53% stake in the company and he also owns majority stakes in Sonae Capital & Sonae Industria. On the personal front, he is married to Maria Margarida Carvalhais Teixeira and has three children. His son is now the CEO of the company (decorative laminates) that he had founded in 1959.