Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Negron: Sultan of Dubai Needed No Introduction to the Sultan of Swat

He is known as Sultan Abu Sultan.

Sultan is Chairman of Duro Felguera Middle East and Africa, former Chairman of Barclays Plc MENA. He oversees the strategic direction of the organization’s operations in the country ranging from Corporate and Investment Banking to Wealth and Investment Management along with Retail and Business Banking.

Sultan is also co-Founder and Managing Partner of W Motors, the first supercar originating from the Middle East. The manufacturing process of the prestigious car (known as the Lykan) was supervised and monitored by Sultan and his founding partner who ensured that global state of the art technologies were fully utilized to produce the first highly exclusive hypercar from the region.

How does a poor Bronx and Brooklyn boy, like myself, get the opportunity to sit down with such a powerful man? Well, in my case he just happened to have read my biography Yankee Miracles—he picked up at an airport.  Sultan Abu Sultan had heard about the great mystique of the fabled New York Yankees for years. One of the things that really peaked his interest was the great charity work done by the legendary Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner.

“I saw his great power in the sport that he gave off and such compassion and generosity for the common person,” said Sultan and was touched by this because he and his family are very involved in true charity work in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and around the world.

Our meeting took place in the offices of Alfred Zaccagnino at the headquarters of Samarian Group located on Madison Avenue in NYC overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral.   Zaccagnino and me have been pals and business colleagues for many years, and he also knows the importance of philanthropy and giving back. Alfred and Samarian Group have sponsored the Christmas party for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club for over 10 years. Kips Bay is the club in the Bronx where many of my nieces and nephews had attended for years. It is also the club that nurtured the talent of Jennifer Lopez. It is one of the main charities that I support along with the Hanks Yanks Baseball program.

Through business dealings in the United Arab Emirates and Africa, Zaccagnino met Sultan many years ago while he was Chairman of Barclays Bank for the United Arab Emirates and Middle East. During Sultan’s last visit to New York for business discussions with Samarian Group, Sultan made Alfred aware of his reading of the book Yankee Miracles, and Alfred told him that not only did he know one of the authors, (Sally Cook is co-author with me)  but he was one of his best friends!

Thereafter, Sultan insisted on meeting me, and because of philanthropic discussions that were ongoing, he wanted to get together with the head of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, Daniel Quintero. Before our meeting I “googled” Sultan to see what he looked like; what he wore, and things like that. Daniel and I wore suits and ties. When Sultan walked into the office he was wearing jeans, sneakers and a United Arab Emirates branded baseball cap. I was expecting him to be in his local Emirate attire that I had seen in photos on the internet. While I was adjusting to his smooth accent, I immediately found that he was a very down-to-earth individual, very charismatic, and I was very happy with how great the Sultan and Daniel were getting along. They were exchanging notes on how they could make the world better for the children both here in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Africa. Sultan and Daniel agreed to stay in touch with one another in order to make it happen.

Zaccagnino and I added that Samarian Group projects should formalize a plan where positive revenues from qualified projects have a carried interest in favor of philanthropy, to include the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club of the Bronx as a benefactor, and Daniel and Sultan of course agreed. I felt so lucky to witness the meeting between these two great men who were talking about together combining positive forces and changing the world.

At the end of the meeting I told Sultan Abu Sultan that the only other Sultan that I knew about was a great American sports hero known as “The Sultan of Swat”, Babe Ruth.   We all laughed, then Sultan  added: “Even in Dubai, we have heard of the Sultan known as Babe Ruth.”

Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, “Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers.” He also writes for NEWSMAX. To read Ray’s archive, Go Here Now.

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