Bloomberg Línea — Despite possessing a fortune estimated at around $2 billion and being Bolivia’s richest person, Marcelo Claure’s dream is quite earthly: to train alongside the players who defend the colors of the soccer club he loves.
The difference between being a billionaire and not being a billionaire is that Claure was able to indulge his dream because he is president and an investor in Bolivar, and he recently shared a photo on Twitter of himself participating in a formal training session at the club, acknowledging that he had achieved what he had always wanted to do.
In 2008, Claure founded and is the majority shareholder of BAISA (Bolívar Administración, Inversiones y Servicios Asociados, S.R.L.), which manages the Bolívar club under a concession system.
In addition, in 2020 he ran for election and since then formally leads the club.
But Bolívar is not the only soccer passion of the billionaire Bolivian, who since 2020 also owns 35% of Girona FC, a team in Spain’s first division.
Outside of soccer, Claure has other occupations that are much more common to those of a businessman of his caliber: he is the Latin American strategist for Shein, a Chinese multinational fashion brand; the founder and CEO of a financial conglomerate, and a member of the board of a telecommunications company. All this, after having been CEO of the Japanese investment giant SoftBank.
Claure’s new occupation
In January 2023, Claure became the chairman of Shein for Latin America. As reported at the time by the company, Claure is to lead the formation of an advisory board for Shein in Latin America “in order to contribute his experience in the sector”, as well as to lead the $100 million investment” in the region.
After having stood out in the investment world outside the borders of his country, Claure seeks to be a prophet in his own land.
“My role with Shein in Latin America marks the first of a few very exciting opportunities ahead as I begin to focus most of my time and capital on Latin America, a region with significant untapped potential,” he said on his LinkedIn account.
He added, “My ties to Latin America run deep: I am an immigrant from Bolivia; founder of Brightstar, which I built into the world’s largest wireless distribution and services company; founder of the SoftBank Latin America Fund, the largest venture capital fund in the region; president of Club Bolivar, Bolivia’s biggest professional soccer team; and a friend to the many entrepreneurs, founders and other talented people I have met in the region throughout my career”.
On March 10, Claure tweeted a photo of himself training with the Bolívar team, stating that he “has faith in being convoked by Beñat [the team’s coach]” to play in an upcoming match.
He also outlined his plans for the region along these lines:
“I am very grateful to be able to realize my passion for Latin America and have an even greater impact in the region.”
“I will make significant investments in a very small, select group of global companies based in Latin America or looking to expand into Latin America, and help unlock significant value creation as these companies grow and scale their businesses.”
“As part of this new strategy, I am very excited to announce Shein as my first investment. Shein is revolutionizing the world of fashion and apparel by bringing a technology and data-driven approach to the design, manufacturing, distribution and promotion of apparel and much more,” he added.
How did Claure make his money? His CV:
- Between 1997 and 2014, he served at Brightstar, where he was CEO and chairman
- From 2014 to 2020 he served in various leadership roles at the US company Sprint, specializing in telecommunications
- From 2018 to 2022 he held senior roles at Soft Bank and also between October 2019 and January 2022 he was executive chairman of WeWork
- Currently, in parallel to his role at Shein, he is CEO of Claure Group. This company, founded in April 2022, is a multi-billion dollar global investment firm focused on public and private companies in technology, media, telecommunications, cryptocurrencies, sports, real estate and other high-growth sectors
- He is also a board member of German telecommunications company T-Mobile
- The son of a career diplomat, Claure studied in the United States, where he began his executive career