Billionaire Stephen Saad, a proud Durbanite, is a journey of true success .
Stephen Saad is the Co-Founder and CEO of Aspen Pharmaceuticals and is one of world's most successful entrepreneurs. He is Durban's only dollar billionaire (out of 5 in South Africa). Aspen has recently been ranked as the 10th most innovative company by Forbes and Stephen was also a previous winner of the World Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young
Stephen Saad was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. He attended the Durban High School in Durban. He graduated from the University of Natal, where he received a Bachelor of Commerce. He played rugby in Ireland and studied to become a chartered accountant.After graduating Saad began working within pharmaceuticals for Quickmed. Quickmed stands out within South Africa’s recent history for being one of the only companies that offered prescription medicines within black townships during the nation’s appalling apartheid regime.
Saad cofounded Aspen in 1997. “The laptops were stolen in the first week, so we lost all our fixed assets" He had no idea of the success their business would see, initially setting up shop in a small house in Greyville, Durban and growing it to the 9th largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world and the biggest in Africa in only seven years. Remembering his master-plan for rapid development when he first founded Aspen, Saad insists he didn’t have one! He claims: “I thought I was going to run a small business from Durban. Now I run the biggest pharmaceutical company in the southern hemisphere. I don’t know what I did wrong,” – displaying his signature good humour.
Aspen is based in Durban and has grown to become the largest publicly-traded drug manufacturer on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The company supplies 150 countries and has 18 manufacturing facilities on 6 continents.
- In 2011 Stephen became one of Africa's 40 richest people according to Forbes
- In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for the positive role of Aspen in the city of Port Elizabeth
- In 2016, Saad won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards gala.
- in 2017 he was worth US$1.6 billion according to Forbes.
Additionally, he chairs the Sharks, a rugby union club in Durban and previously purchased Varsity College.