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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Mera and the second or maternal family name is Goyenechea.
Rosalía Mera
Born Rosalía Mera Goyenechea
(1944-01-28)28 January 1944
A Coruña, Galicia, Spain.
Died 15 August 2013(2013-08-15) (aged 69)
A Coruña, Galicia, Spain.
Cause of death Stroke
Residence Liáns, Oleiros, A Coruña, Galicia Spain
Nationality Spanish
Known for Co-founder of Inditex
Net worth $6.1 billion as of 2013[1]
Spouse(s) Amancio Ortega Gaona (m. 1966 — div. 1986)[2]
Children Sandra Ortega Mera, Marcos Ortega Mera
Website Official website

Rosalía Mera Goyenechea (28 January 1944 – 15 August 2013) was a Spanish businesswoman and entrepreneur. At the time of her death, she was the richest woman in Spain[2] and the world's richest self-made woman.[3] In 1975, she co-founded the Zara retail chain with her then-husband Amancio Ortega Gaona. The company grew to become the world's largest fashion retailer.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Rosalia Mera was born in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain in 1944.[4] She dropped out of school at age eleven to work as a sales assistant in a clothing shop.[2][5]


Mera began designing gowns and lingerie in her home with her then-husband, Amancio Ortega Gaona. The couple opened the first Zara store in 1975 in A Coruña.[5] Eventually the couple parlayed their work into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. Zara's success was in part due to its strategy of imitating popular fashions and quickly making them for sale at inexpensive prices.[4]

Ten years after the opening of the first Zara store, Inditex was established as a holding company for the couple's businesses.[5] Inditex now comprises multiple fashion companies, of which Zara is the flagship.[2] The company also owns the retailers Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Uterque and Zara Home.[6] Inditex now has over 6000+ stores in over 86 countries[4] and over 120,000 employees.[6] Despite her 1986 divorce from Ortega,[2] Mera retained a 7% stake in the company.[7]

Mera also owned interests in a company which made fingerprinting identification kits for newborns[1] and another company, Zeltia, which carries out research into cancer fighting compounds of both synthetic and natural origin and particularly those bioactive compounds originating in the ocean.[1][8]

According to the 2013 Forbes billionaire list, Mera was the world's wealthiest self-made female entrepreneur, with a net worth of over $6 billion. She was the second-wealthiest person from Spain,[1] second only to her ex-husband.

Political and philanthropic activities[edit]

Mera opposed conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's plans to make Spain's abortion laws more restrictive.[6] She also opposed austerity cutbacks to Spain's national healthcare and education programes.[6]

Mera established the Paideia Foundation which works with groups in risk of social exclusion.[1][9]

Personal life[edit]

Mera married Amancio Ortega Gaona in 1966.[5] She had a son, Marcos, who was born mentally disabled.[1] The couple also had a daughter, Sandra.[5]


On 14 August 2013, Mera was admitted to a hospital in Menorca in an ‘irreversible situation’ after suffering a stroke. The family had been on holiday in Menorca. Mera died on 15 August 2013 in A Coruña. She had been transferred by plane to the port city and then by ambulance to the Hospital San Rafael de A Coruña where she later died of complications.[10][11] Inditex confirmed Mera's death on 16 August 2013,[12] stating "The group wishes to send its sincere condolences to her loved ones and friends at this extremely difficult time, after the loss of a person who contributed so much to the origins and development of the company."[2] She was buried in the cemetery of the church of Santa Eulalia of Liáns, in Oleiros(A Coruña).[13]

Her daughter Sandra Ortega Mera inherited her wealth (her son Marcos was born with cerebral palsy), and became Spain's richest woman with a net wealth of $6.1 billion.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kroll, Luisa. "The Rarer Sex: The Self-Made Women Billionaires Of 2013". Forbes. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Zara co-founder Rosalia Mera dies aged 69". BBC News. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Carlyle, Erin (16 August 2013). "Rosalia Mera, World's Richest Self-Made Woman, Dies At 69". Forbes. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d Dennys, Harriet (16 August 2013). "Rosalia Mera". Daily Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ a b c d e Baigorri, Manuel (16 August 2013). "Rosalia Mera, Who Was Spain’s Richest Woman, Dies at 69". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Rosalia Mera, World's Wealthiest Self-Made Woman, Dies At 69". Huffington Post. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Hetz, Robert (15 August 2013). "UPDATE 1-Co-founder of Zara-owner Inditex dies in hospital-report". Reuters. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Zeltia website
  9. ^ EC accreditation for the foundation
  10. ^ Rosalía Mera, has been admitted to hospital in Menorca in an ‘irreversible situation’ after suffering a stroke (15 August 2013). Retrieved 16 August 2013
  11. ^ Muere Rosalía Mera, cofundadora de Inditex (16 August 2013). Retrieved 16 August 2013. (Spanish)
  12. ^ Conti, Samantha (16 August 2013). "Rosalia Mera, Cofounder of Inditex, Dies". WWD. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Rosalía Mera será enterrada este sábado en A Coruña.
  14. ^ "Sandra Ortega Mera". Forbes. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalía_Mera — Please support Wikipedia.
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ROSALIA MERA co-fundadora INDITEX y Zara/ Alfiler de Oro

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Fallece Rosalía Mera, la mujer más rica de España

La empresaria gallega Rosalía Mera Goyenechea ha fallecido en A Coruña a causa del derrame cerebral que sufrió el miércoles pasado en Menorca.

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A Coruña, ago (EFE).- (Imagen: Jorge Piñeiro). Familiares, amigos y allegados de la empresaria gallega Rosalía Mera han pasado desde primera hora de la ...

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Video interview with Rosalia Mera, Spain.

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2601 news items

cleveland.com (blog)

cleveland.com (blog)
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 13:16:24 -0800

Zara's founders, Amancio Ortega and his former wife Rosalia Mera, started out making lingerie and bathrobes in 1963. They opened the first Zara in 1975 and grew the fashion powerhouse to more than 2,000 stores in 88 countries. Ortega is worth $77.5 ...

Irish Independent

Irish Independent
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 19:26:15 -0700

Ortega integrated GOA into holding group Inditex, which he set up with his first wife, Rosalia Mera, and which floated on the stock market in 2001. His second wife Flora Perez, 61, sits on the board of Inditex. Their daughter Marta, 31, who has ...

Money Market

Money Market
Sun, 08 Nov 2015 17:41:15 -0800

Since his ex-wife and Inditex co-founder Rosalia Mera died suddenly in August 2013, there has been intense speculation over the succession. His second wife Flora Perez, 61, sits on the board of Inditex and their daughter Marta, 31, who has undergone ...

New York Times

New York Times
Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:08:09 -0700

Rosalia Mera, a Spanish entrepreneur who dropped out of school at 11 to work as a seamstress and went on to help start a global fashion empire, Zara, becoming the world's richest self-made woman, died on Aug. 15 in La Coruña, Spain. She was 69.

The Guardian

The Guardian
Fri, 16 Aug 2013 09:00:04 -0700

Rosalia Mera was the richest woman in Spain with an estimated worth of $6.1bn (£3.9bn), although her fortune represented a fraction of the wealth accumulated by her former husband and Zara co-founder, Armancio Ortega. Mera suffered a stroke while on ...


Mon, 19 Aug 2013 01:37:30 -0700

Rosalia Mera Goyenechea was born on January 28 1944 in a working–class neighbourhood of La Coruña, and left school aged 11 to work as a sales assistant in a clothing shop. In 1966 she married Amancio Ortega, the son of a railway worker who had also ...


Fri, 23 Oct 2015 15:18:45 -0700

Ortega, the son of a railway worker, cofounded Zara in 1975 with his wife Rosalia Mera. He was born in 1936 to a humble family that did not have the comforts that money could provide. As a teenager he dropped out of school and worked as a delivery boy ...


Fri, 07 Aug 2015 07:03:45 -0700

Amancio Ortega, the co-founder of Zara, is now the world's second-richest man, putting him above Warren Buffet and just behind Bill Gates. On Wednesday his Inditex parent company, under which Zara sits, reached a valuation of €100 billion for the first ...

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