It was tense in the boardroom of Mexico’s leading media group in the spring of last year as two macho cousins sparred over the direction of the $2.1 billion (2000 revenues) Grupo Televisa empire. The peacemaker was a 37-year-old woman with a head for numbers and an ability to make people laugh. Yet, until then, María Asunción Aramburuzabala Larregui was known in Mexico simply as a beer heiress.
John D. Todd, chairman of The Todd Corporation in Wellington, New Zealand, is a big fish in a small pond. And the 74-year-old head of the family-owned energy conglomerate plans to continue getting bigger. Forbes estimates his Todd Corporation is worth at least $1 billion. The fortune was launched four generations ago in 1885, when Todd’s great grandfather, Scottish immigrant Charles Todd , founded a farming goods store in Central Otago. By 1929, it had evolved into an automobile and gasoline marketing enterprise.