Whether in competitive sports or the highest levels of international business, Steven Saran has known only success. Born in Denver, Colorado, Mr. Saran came to the University of Kentucky on an athletics scholarship, competing on the swim team during the 1980s.
After graduating from UK with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1987, he worked as a technical support engineer for Ensco Environmental Services in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After moving to Turkey in 1988 at the age of 24, he was appointed the youngest advisor to the Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey for Foreign Relations. And, as a dual citizen of the United States and Turkey, Mr. Saran was captain of the Turkish National Swim Team and the national record holder for the 50-meter freestyle.
One year later, he founded Saran International Company, and became the country representative of some of the world’s major companies in Turkey including Lockheed Martin, ESPN, Raytheon International, Bell Helicopter and others.
In addition to his consulting duties, from 1990 to 1995, Mr. Saran worked for Martin Marietta International in Ankara, as deputy general manager. In a short time he became general manager of the company and was responsible for marketing Martin Marietta’s products and services in Turkey and neighboring countries, and was a liaison between Turkish government institutions and Martin Marietta.
Today, the entrepreneur is full-time chairman of the board of Saran Holding, the company he founded that is a 100% privately-owned entity in Turkey. Saran Holding incorporates 29 companies including the Saran Defense, Saran Broadcasting, Saran Media, Saran Energy and Saran Health sectors and employs over 2,000 people. Under Mr. Saran’s leadership, the company has enjoyed steady growth. It is one of the most thriving companies not only in Turkey, but also in all of Europe.
Mr. Saran is actively involved in a wide range of corporate sponsored community programs, particularly those in education and athletics. To support educational improvement in Turkey, as part of the “100% Support for Education” campaign, he built four schools and has signed agreements for the construction of a fifth school. In addition, he continues to provide academic scholarships for qualified primary, high school and university students.
Mr. Saran is also the sponsor and honorary chairman of the Saran Anadolu Yakası Sports Club for the Physically Challenged, a non-profit organization founded to create opportunities to participate in sports for the physically challenged.
In 2000, Mr. Saran was elected to the board of Fenerbahçe Sports Club, the biggest sports club in Turkey. The club boasts an annual budget of $100M and has more than 20 million fans. In 2003, the board appointed Mr. Saran as vice-chairman in charge of the Soccer Branch of Fenerbahçe Sports Club.
Mr. Saran lives in Istanbul, Turkey and has one daughter.