Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico

whose holdings span telecom, banking, energy, tobacco and more

Slim said shortly afterward that he wasn't concerned about his ranking or taking over the top spot, but he expressed differences with Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Gates, the chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp.

"It's not about having who knows how many bonds, to spend them on whatever one wants or live it up all year," said Slim, an engineer who wears modest suits and whose main indulgence appears to be expensive cigars. "I don't have apartments abroad. I don't have a house abroad."

Slim, who owns Mexico's dominant phone company and has holdings throughout Latin America, said his vision of a businessman's role in the world is at odds with that of Buffett, who announced last year he would donate $1.5 billion every year to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"It's very interesting, because he leaves those who are running his affairs the responsibility of being very profitable," Slim said of Buffett. "If they're inefficient or don't get real-term returns, they're not going to be running anything."

"Our concept is more to accomplish and solve things, rather than giving"
- adding that building businesses often does more for society than "going around like Santa Claus."
"Poverty isn't solved with donations."

Slim says he is unfazed by the criticism. "When you live for others' opinions, you are dead. I don't want to live thinking about how I'll be remembered,”

keeps them busy so they’re not loafing around