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Satish Sanan
Friday, November 21, 2008

Satish Sanan
Age 50 years

Place of Birth Batala, Punjab

Residence Clearwater, Florida

Family Wife Anne and three children.

Came to the U.S. 1982

Education B. Tech., University of Liverpool

First job and career Exeter Community Health services, 1973

Company started 1988

Year did an IPO 1996

Year became millionaire 1996

Favorite charity Schools in developing countries; local parish; holocaust victims; teenage mothers

Lifetime goals Giving to charities and being the most successful in horse racing

Net worth -

Philosophy of life Family first

Most inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and (GE CEO) Jack Welch

Most excited by Winning the Breeders Cup

Most expensive thing ever bought 10-month-old thoroughbred horse for $4.8 million

Satish Sanan was 16 when he left his home in Batala, Punjab, a few hundred miles from Delhi. His eventful life since then has spanned three continents.

He first headed to Liverpool, England where he studied electronics, computer science and aeronautics. Student life wasn’t easy, though: When his family suffered a financial setback, the checks stopped coming and he was without their financial support.

That’s when Anne, his girlfriend who he later married, helped him finish school. Although she was a schoolteacher earning a meager salary, she supported him and a beat-up old car. Sanan credits her with all his present successes. Sanan himself held two jobs, one in a canteen that offered free dinner, the other at an all-night bakery where he baked bread and pastries.

Even after graduation, Sanan had difficulty getting a job. He applied for several and finally secured a programmer’s job at Plessey Telecommunications in Devon. He rose smartly, moving on to work for top industrialist Tiny Rowland but leaving even that position to move on almost endlessly, 16 times by his own count.

In 1980, the Sanans left England for Canada where Sanan worked for SHL Systemhouse before heading to Clearwater, Florida to start a computer consulting company because a staff member’s parents lived there. Sanan powered IMR Global into a major consulting firm. He took it public in 1996. Today the company employs almost 3,000 people. Sanan is credited with exploiting the 24-hour workday to great advantage by opening global offices.

IMRGlobal has survived one crisis after another. In its first year of existence, the company picked up a $1.8 million contract without the financial resources to execute it. One Friday morning, Sanan didn’t have enough money to meet the payroll. That is when he called a friend, Frank Reed, in Boston. Sanan hadn’t seen him in three years, but Reed wired him quarter of a million dollars in less than half an hour, Sanan says. Reed also came to the rescue another time when IMR Global wanted fresh infusion of capital. Eventually, Sanan turned in $17 million to Reed on an investment of $1.25 million.

In 1993, Sanan faced another payroll problem but 30 or 40 of his staff came to the rescue offering cash and jewelry to raise money. Of the $600,000 that was needed, Sanan was able to raise over $400,000 through the staff and overcame the brief crisis.

Sanan has sailed through several crises but there may still be more ahead. Even now, his company’s stock has plummeted, as the market perceives sharply lower growth after the Year 2000 projects run out.

Outside of his business, Sanan’s big passion is horse racing. He has invested about $100 million in Padua Stables, a company now managed by his daughter. He has contracted top trainers and jockeys and invests large sums of money on buying thoroughbreds. Sanan’s biggest achievement so far: winning the Breeders Cup last year. He expects to run three or four of his racehorses in this year’s Kentucky Derby, the biggest event in the U.S. racing calendar.

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