Belmiro de Azevedo, Sonae’s driving force, has died at 79
Belmiro de Azevedo has died in Oporto at the age of 79 after a long illness. His name has long been associated with the Sonae Group of companies as he led the diverse business from 1974 to his retirement in 2015, making him one of the richest men in Portugual.
Born in 1938, Belmiro de Azevedo, became the country’s largest employer with Sonae brands including Continente, Worten, Sport Zone, Zippy, Salsa hypermarkets as well as the Público newspaper.
His first day at Sonae was in January, 1965, at the age of 27 when Sonae was led by Pinto Magalhães. Belmiro became the company’s chief in 1974 and as a major shareholder, he became the third richest man in the country and one of the 700 richest in the world, with a fortune last estimated at €1.39 billion.
He was born on February 18, 1938, at Marco de Canaveses, Oporto to a humble family. Belmiro married a pharmacist, Maria Margarida Carvalhais Teixeira, and had three children: Duarte Paulo Azevedo, Maria Cláudia Azevedo and Nuno Miguel Azevedo.
His father was a carpenter and his mother a seamstress. Belmiro did not stay long in school but built a retail empire in Portugal, second to none.
Belmiro de Azevedo was bright and in 1964 completed a degree in Chemical Engineering. He then went to the Harvard and Stanford Universities in the US and learned accountancy by studying a textbook.
In April, 2015, at the age of 77, Belmiro de Azevedo retired from the Board of Directors of Sonae, but remained closely involved in the company as a shareholder.
He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique in 2006.