‘Drive to Succeed’

Sir Mohamed Mansour’s Autobiography

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Sir Mohamed Mansour is one of the foremost global entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.

His values, reflected through his philanthropic endeavours and the contribution he has made through his non-profit foundation, set him apart.

In 2023, his remarkable life story was told in his autobiography, titled ‘Drive to Succeed’. The book, published by Penguin Random House, details how he learned as a boy and a young man to overcome adversity, experiences that shaped the man he went on to become.

The book, which Sir Mohamed co-wrote with the British journalist Andrew Cave, tells vividly how Middle Eastern politics evolved during his lifetime. His father’s cotton business was nationalised and the family’s assets were confiscated by the government of then Egyptian President Gamal Nasser in 1964. Decades later, he answered a plea from the Egyptian government in late 2005 to oversee the transport ministry and implement vital reforms to the country’s ailing railway system.

The book charts how Sir Mohamed, with his siblings, built the Mansour Group into one of the Middle East’s largest companies before transitioning into politics. It concludes with his time in the UK, where in 2010 he founded his family office, Man Capital, going on to pursue investments in a number of sectors including technology, education, healthcare, sport, renewable energy and logistics.

“Writing this book was such an interesting and rewarding experience,” says Sir Mohamed. “When I embarked on the project, my main aim was to produce something that my beloved grandchildren would find interesting and be able to take lessons from. My life has not been easy – there have been times when I have struggled to overcome adversity and hardship, including some significant health issues and times when I have struggled to make ends meet. Today, as I lead an organisation that employs 60,000 people globally, I still feel a huge responsibility and the pressure is always there to succeed, but I remain motivated and driven, and above all, I love what I do.”

Launched at a prestigious gathering at London’s Claridge’s hotel, the book has received international acclaim and much media interest. It has been published in English in the UK by Penguin Random House and is available through many good booksellers including Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles. An Arabic edition is due to be published in 2025.

As a boy, Mohamed was never happier than when his father, Loutfy Mansour, took him and his brothers, Ismail and Youssef, to the beach in Alexandra, Egypt.
This is one of only a few surviving phots of Mohamed Mansour with crutches, probably taken around 1962 during a European vacation with brother Youssef and cousin Soliman Mansour.
Youssef and Mohamed Mansour were fraternity brothers at North Carolina State University in the 1960s. (Courtesy: FarmHouse Fraternity)
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and his wife Jehan attended Mohamed’s wedding to Awatef Hassan in 1979.
Mohamed’s dear brother Yasseen, pictured in France in 2017, has been a hugely important part of his life.
He was thrilled to deliver the keynote address to an audience of 20,000 at NC State’s Commencement Ceremony in 2022, where he was given an honorary doctorate.
It was a huge privilege for Mohamed Mansour to launch a new Major League Soccer club in San Diego, California in 2023. He is photographed at the launch event alongside Man Capital and Mantrac CEO Loutfy Mansour, Chairman Cody Martinez of the Sycuan tribe, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and investor Manny Machado and his wife Yainee Alonso. (Courtesy: San Diego FC / Rick Romero)

Key dates in a remarkable life

Born 1948, Egypt

1958, aged 10 – Hit by a car close to his home in Alexandria. Spends several years bedridden as his left leg slowly recovers.

1964, aged 16 – Enrols at North Carolina State University in America to study engineering.

1966, aged 18 – Egypt’s President, Gamal Nasser, nationalises the cotton industry and seizes the Mansour family cotton business and other assets. Mohamed Mansour takes a job as a waiter in a pizza restaurant and sports bar to pay his way through college.

1967, aged 19 – Mohamed Mansour comes close to failing his degree and having to return to an uncertain future back in Egypt, but one of his tutors gives him a crucial second chance and allows him to remain in America.

1968, aged 20 – Mohamed graduates from North Carolina State University. A serious illness then forces him to take a year out from studies.

1970, aged 22 – He enrols in an MBA class at Auburn University in Alabama, graduating in 1971 aged 23. He teaches at Auburn for another two years.

1973, aged 25 – He returns to Egypt to work alongside his father in the family’s start-up automotive dealership, which would go on to become one of the largest General Motors dealers in the world.

1976, aged 28 – Mohamed Mansour’s father, Loutfy Mansour, sadly passes away suddenly.

1979, aged 31 – President Sadat and Vice President Mubarak are the witnesses at his wedding to Awatef Hassan.

1994, aged 46 – He takes over at the helm of Mantrac, the family’s Caterpillar dealership that was founded in 1977, and spearheads a global expansion from the 1990s onwards.

2001, aged 53 – He founds the Lead Foundation in Cairo, a not-for-profit lender to female entrepreneurs.

2006, aged 58 – He is appointed Transport Minister by the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, serving from January 2006 until October 2009. He steps down from of over 50 company boards including those for Coca-Cola and the American University in Cairo to focus on his Cabinet role. The successful delivery of a number of vast infrastructure projects including investments in the railways and ports mark his more than three years in office.

2010, aged 62 – He moves to London where he founds Man Capital LLP, the Mansour family’s investment firm. Among his early deals are pre-IPO investments in Facebook and Twitter. Man Capital, which makes investments in sectors as diverse as tech, renewable energy, education and sport, goes on to be described as one of the most dynamic family offices in the world in 2022 (source: Family Capital magazine).

2021 – He makes his first significant investment in sport as Man Capital acquires Right to Dream, a global community of football clubs, soccer academies and schools in Ghana, Denmark, Egypt and the United States.

2021, aged 73 – He is appointed to the UK Investment Council, which advises the British Government on inward investment.

2022, aged 74 – He is awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, North Caroline State University, for his philanthropy. He inspires an audience of 20,000 students and their guests with a keynote address that tells his personal story of overcoming adversity.

2022 – He speaks at COP27 about his aim to bring electric vehicles to Egypt and about his investments in renewable energy in Africa. He is granted the honour of being one of the speakers at one of COP27’s six round table discussions, chaired by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

2022 – UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak appoints him the Conservative Party’s senior treasurer.

2023 – Through Man Capital-owned Right to Dream, he sets up San Diego FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) club in America, with his partners, the Sycuan Native American tribe. The club will enter the MLS in 2025.

2023 – His autobiography, “Drive to Succeed”, is published by Penguin Random House, one of the world’s leading publishers.

2024 – He is knighted – becoming Sir Mohamed Mansour – by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for his extraordinary contribution to business, charity and political service.