Mohed Altrad is a Syrian-born French billionaire businessman, rugby chairman and writer, born in March 1948 in the desert of Syria. His mother died on the day he was born and his Bedouin father gave him away to his grandparents at age 4. He was destined to be a shepherd. In 2015, he was named World Entrepreneur of the Year by EY.
Mohed Altrad spent part of his youth in Raqqa, Syria. He did his A levels at 17, he earned an allocation of scholarship and came up with 200 francs in Montpellier, France.
After earning a PhD in computer science at the University of Montpellier, he began working for the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, from which he left to buy a scaffolding company in France in 1985. This acquisition morphed into the present-day Groupe Altrad, employer of over 7,000 people, and involved in the scaffolding and cement-mixing industries. Altrad remains chairman of his namesake company, as well as the rugby club Montpellier Hérault Rugby. He has also penned three acclaimed novels., He is unsure of his day of birth, so he recently "picked a date from a hat" in order to celebrate one.