10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mohed Altrad

Mohed Altrad

Often lauded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, the life and journey of Mohed Altrad is indeed filled with inspiration, struggles, and breathtaking feats of achievement. A sterling persona, Altrad has climbed the ladder of success against numerous odds and hurdles. Let’s dive into 10 lesser-known aspects about the man who epitomizes resilience.

1. Impoverished Bedouin Roots

Mohed Altrad was born into a Bedouin tribe, living a nomadic life in the Syrian desert. His mother was raped by his father, who later abandoned her. Forced into an arranged marriage at a young age, his mother died during childbirth. Raised by his grandmother, Altrad lived a life of abject poverty.

Despite his impoverished background, Altrad harboured a strong desire for learning. He taught himself to read and was aided by a local teacher who encouraged his academic pursuits.

2. Overcame Illiteracy

Altrad was illiterate until the age of 10. As part of the Bedouin culture, he was not encouraged to pursue studies. It was by sheer will and determination that he managed to teach himself how to read and write.

This love for education and learning stayed with him. He even went against his tribe’s cultural norms to pursue his education and make something out of his life.

3. Scholarship to University of Montpellier

Despite all odds, Altrad excelled in school and won a scholarship to the University of Montpellier in France. He moved to France alone at a young age, knowing little French and with minimal money.

He survived by taking up jobs as a waiter and a construction worker. Demonstrating incredible academic prowess, he earned a PhD in computation and physics, thus taking his first step towards his illustrious career.

4. Work at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Post his education, Altrad’s career took off with a job at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. The stint helped him understand the business aspects of the oil industry and laid the foundation for his future endeavours.

After several years in Abu Dhabi, Altrad returned to France and joined the tech industry, working for tech giants such as Thomson and CGG before deciding to strike out on his own.

5. Birth of Altrad Group

Altrad made his entrepreneurial debut by buying a near-bankrupt scaffolding company, Mefran, in 1985. With only 10 employees and minimal resources, Altrad transformed the failing business into Altrad Group.

Today, Altrad Group is estimated to have a worth of over $2 billion and employs more than 40,000 people across 50 countries. It operates in various areas including the production and sales of construction equipment, industrial services, and oil and gas services.

6. World Entrepreneur of the Year

In 2015, Altrad was awarded the esteemed ‘World Entrepreneur of the Year’ by Ernst & Young. He bested entrepreneurs from 68 countries to secure the coveted title, a testament to his entrepreneurial zeal.

Mohed Altrad is the first French businessman to receive such a prestigious international award, making him a true epitome of success.

7. Author and Novelist

Apart from his business ventures, Altrad is also a successful author. His semi-autobiographical book, ‘Badawi’, was published in 2002 and is a moving account of his life growing up in a Bedouin tribe.

Altrad is also a novelist, having published several French novels that explore themes of love, humanity, struggle, and success.

8. Philanthropic Initiatives

True to his humble roots and resilient journey, Altrad has embarked on numerous philanthropic initiatives. He has initiated programs for underprivileged children in Montpellier, providing them with proper nutrition, clothing, and education opportunities.

Through the Altrad Foundation, he is committed to promoting education and fighting against poverty. The foundation also sponsors numerous cultural events and artists.

9. Sports Sponsorship and Presidency

Mohed Altrad is a sports enthusiast and has significantly contributed to sports development. He acquired the Montpellier Herault Rugby team in 2011 and became the president of the French Rugby club, significantly transforming it eventually into Top 14 champions.

In addition, Altrad is a major sponsor of the French national rugby team. He is the first person ever to sponsor a national rugby team and aims to use this platform to promote his values of inclusivity and teamwork.

10. Anecdote of Near Death

During his stint in Abu Dhabi, Altrad was involved in a near-fatal car crash. This incident proved to be a significant turning point in his life, causing him to reflect on his life’s direction and eventually leading to his return to France.

Altrad considers this brush with death as a powerful learning experience that imbued him with new perspectives and the will to transform his life dramatically.

There you have it – ten intriguing facts about the awe-inspiring life of Mohed Altrad. From poverty-stricken Bedouin roots to international business tycoon, Altrad’s journey is nothing less than a parable of triumph over adversity. His story goes to show that with weariless dedication, insurmountable resolve, and a little bit of luck, one can truly conquer the world.

Useful Links:

Altrad Official Website

Altrad Foundation Website

The Story of Mohed Altrad