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.
Salinas formed the nonprofit Fundación Azteca in 1997 to address a broad range of social problems with ongoing campaigns in healthcare and nutrition, education, and the protection of the environment. It is a foundation that finances and supports other foundations. Fundación Azteca has raised millions of dollars, benefiting hundreds of thousands of lives. In 2005, Salinas launched Fundación Azteca America, which is committed to improving the well-being of the Hispanic community in the United States by functioning as a nationwide bridge between donors and Hispanic foundations.
He also created Fundacion Azteca El Salvador, Fundacion Azteca Guatemala and Fundacion Azteca Peru, Fomento Cultural Grupo Salinas, Caminos de la Libertad, Kybernus, in addition to sponsoring Ciudad de las Ideas.
Salinas has been involved in a series of political and financial scandals (which include investigations by the American Securities and Exchange Commission and the Mexican Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores), and has been linked to ex-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Salinas was charged by the American Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2005 with being engaged in an elaborate scheme to conceal Salinas’s role in a series of transactions through which he personally profited by $109 million. The SEC complaint also alleged that Salinas and Padilla sold millions of dollars of TV Azteca stock while Salinas’s self-dealing remained undisclosed to the market place. This was settled in September 2006 with Salinas required to pay $7.5M while not admitting guilt. As part of the settlement, Salinas was forbidden for five years to serve as officer or director of any United States publicly listed company. Esteban Moctezuma (ex-Secretary of Interior of PRI President Ernesto Zedillo), was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Fundación Azteca in 2002 by Salinas Pliego. His daughter, Ninfa, entered to the PVEM party (linked to the PRI party, some old but now of recent political endeavor) in 2009.
Salinas decided to air the 2011–12 quarter final game between Tigres de la UANL and Monarcas Morelia, two professional football teams from the Mexican Primera División, during the same time as the presidential debate of the 2012 Mexican general elections. The day of these two events were set for 6 May 2012.
He posted on Twitter the following message on 30 April 2012:
If you want to see the debate, watch it on Televisa; if not, watch the game on TV Azteca. I'll give you the ratings the following day.
Emilio Azcárraga Jean, the CEO of Televisa, posted a message on Twitter to "clarify the doubts" by stating that it was not Televisa who was planning to air the game between Tigres and Morelia, but rather TV Azteca, the closest television competitor to his company.
The Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) and its president, Leonardo Valdés Zurita, asked for TV Azteca to not air the game at the same time as the presidential debate. According to Zurita, the IFE has already set up the permissions and invitations to carry out the debate, but also recognized that other media companies can air programs they consider relevant. In addition, the electoral councils in Mexico recognized that this incident will leave the Mexican people with two difficult dilemmas: "watch football or the presidential debate between Josefina Vázquez Mota (PAN), Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), Andrés Manuel López Obrador (PRD) and Gabriel Quadri de la Torre (PANAL)." Nonetheless, the majority of the messages posted on Twitter criticized Salinas Pliego for this incident.Anonymous group and Grupo Salinas
Following the decision of Salinas, the internet group Anonymous "attacked" the official website of Grupo Salinas on 1 May 2012, posting on Twitter that they wanted the presidential debate and not the football game. The official webpage—www.gruposalinas.com—was not available for some time.TV Azteca accepts to air debate
On 3 May 2012, the IFE acknowledged that TV Azteca decided to air the presidential debate on XHTVM-TV, commonly referred to as Proyecto 40. On his defense, Salinas said on 4 May 2012 that the "majority of the population is not interested in the presidential debate." He claimed that only 15% of the population is interested in the debate, while 54% of them claim they are not interested at all. If the statistics were different, he said, then he would have adjusted his strategy. Salinas then said that his business "understands well" the preferences of the population and takes decisions accordingly.
The origins of Grupo Salinas are set in 1906, when Salinas’ great grandfather, Benjamín Salinas, created Salinas & Rocha, a modest family-owned furniture manufacturing company. In 1950, Salinas’ grandfather, Hugo Salinas Rocha, created Grupo Elektra, and when Ricardo Salinas became CEO of the company in 1987, Elektra had fewer than 60 stores and averted financial distress following the devaluation of the peso. Salinas refocused Elektra on basic products: appliances, electronics, and furniture. Significantly, he developed a vast new consumer market among Mexico’s lower-middle income consumers by providing credit sales (guided by careful risk-management practices) and diverse financial products and services, including money transfers via an alliance with Western Union. In just a few years, through organic expansion and acquisitions, Salinas built Grupo Elektra into Latin America’s largest specialty retailer.
Salinas is also chairman of TV Azteca, the second largest producers of Spanish-language television programming in the world. It is one of only two nationwide broadcasters in Mexico.
Most recently, Salinas created the Empresario Azteca program and its parallel, Empresario Azteca Association (ASMAZ), as a broad program to support small businesses the core of Mexico’s economy. This initiative applies the breadth and depth of Grupo Salinas’ management expertise, financing capabilities, market strength, purchasing power, and its extensive distribution network to provide training, consulting, financing, equipment procurement, and other resources to small businesses throughout the country.
Salinas also formed the nonprofit Fundación Azteca in 1997 to address a broad range of social problems with ongoing campaigns in healthcare and nutrition, education, and the protection of the environment. It is a foundation that finances and supports other foundations.
In 2001, TV Azteca launched Azteca America, a wholly owned Spanish-language broadcasting network aimed at the 40 million-strong Hispanic population of the US. Azteca America has affiliates in 62 markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, and Houston, reaching 90 percent of the Hispanic population in the US.
On November 18, 2008 it was announced that Salinas purchased 28 percent of the bankrupted American retailer Circuit City. Ultimately Salinas lost $41 million on his Circuit City stake after his attempts to restructure debt with store suppliers failed and he consequently abandoned plans to buy the company.