Welcome to Success Sunday!
The place where investors, entrepreneurs and business professionals come to get inspiration. We’re bringing you unbelievable stories from millionaires and billionaires to inspire you and motivate you to start your week the right way.
Today’s Story is About Mohed Altrad.
Who is this, you might ask? Well … here’s his story.
Born in the harsh deserts of Syria, Mohed Altrad had almost nothing to call his own for his entire childhood. His teen-mother died when he was 4, his father who had conceived Mohed through rape disowned him shortly thereafter, so he was left to be raised by his grandmother in a nomad tribe which followed rain patterns to sustain itself.
Mohed had always felt like an outsider because of the way he perceived his identity (to this day, he doesn’t even know when he was actually born).
“I knew that I was condemned, and my only chance was school.” Altrad told Forbes in 2015, “I had only the ambition not to accept my initial destiny.”
So he went to school, against the chagrin and wrath of his conservative grandmother and his fellow classmates. During those times when Altrad was walking an hour across the Syrian dunes to and from school, every day, he learned to become resourceful with his materials.
When he was gifted a bike, rather than use it himself he loaned it out to other classmates for money for school books.
He took this savviness all the way to a scholarship that he earned from the Syrian government to study in France.
From there he never looked back, from working in early-tech firms in South France to working in Abu Dhabi at Oil firms for 4 years he was to save money and start his first successful venture; a portable computer company that he sold for $600,000.
In 1985, however, is when he discovered the scaffolding industry through buying Mefran; an in-debt scaffolding company with piles of loans, for only 1 French Franc. From there he transformed the scaffolding business and built his company to be a one-stop supplier for many different construction needs.
His intellect and his intuition of understanding business acquisitions and expansion allowed him and his company The Altrad Group to sustain massive barriers such as the economic downturn of the 1990s, and by 2003 the group had amassed 21 subsidiaries across 8 countries and was valued over 130 million dollars.
Today, in 2020, Altrad has built a global construction empire of over 92 subs worldwide, and accrued a net worth of over 3.7 billion dollars – earning himself the title as “The Scaffolding King”.
He has 5 children, has written 3 books on very different topics, and has received the legion d’honneur; the highest honor and non-military french civilian can receive for civil merits. But beyond all of these acollades, he has become one of the most respectable business partners or ‘governors’ of his time.
This is because of two words: Free Will.
Mohed Altrad cherishes the ideas of freedom and ambition to improve oneself not through money, but through personal fulfillment. He started with nothing and was ‘destined’ to live this lifestyle forever, and once he had the opportunity to build himself, he went all in.
Altrad has an attitude of believing in the best in others, and therefore avoids creating a tall hierarchy amongst his firms, giving his subsidiaries great autonomy. He trusts others to get things done, as he believes people can be highly productive when they are given the freedom to do so.
Because of these principles he’s been able to achieve massive successes.
So dear reader, if you enjoyed this story, we invite you to share this story and inspire one person who is precious and valuable to you.
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THE BUSINESS CARD:
Made his first million with: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
Life motto: “I had no special dream – only the ambition not to accept my initial destiny.”
Would like to meet in person: Stephen King.
Most valuable piece of advice for him: “I love freedom and want the people working for me to be free. We agree on something, and it’s up to everybody to do it in his own way but coordinating with others.”
Interesting ventures: Owns a majority stake in Montpellier Herault Rugby; a team which he saved from bankruptcy.
Passion: Writing, telling stories.
Avoids in business: People he cannot trust.