Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon
Sun Group International
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon is a prominent figure among the NRI businessmen in the Gulf region, much respected and appreciated for his exceptional achievements in the business field and his enormous contributions towards promoting social and cultural causes.
Padmashri Dr Sundar Menon is a prominent figure among the NRI businessmen in the Gulf region, much respected and appreciated for his exceptional achievements in the business field and his enormous contributions towards promoting social and cultural causes. He built up his multimillion business empire, ‘Sun Group International’, with sheer grit and determination, applying intelligent business strategies and aggressive competitive tactics. Today, Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon is a leading provider of employment to a large workforce, both in India and across the GCC. Even while scaling unbelievable heights of success in the corporate world, Dr. Menon has always been compassionate towards his fellow beings and has undertaken several initiatives for the upliftment of the less privileged. He has also made immense contributions towards promoting and preserving the unique culture of his native land.
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon, a native of Thrissur, was born as the son of M C S Menon, retired AGM & Principal of South Indian Bank Staff College and former president of Cochin Devaswom Board. His mother Jaya Menon is a housewife.Dr. Menon completed his schooling in Thrissur. After earning a graduate degree in Economics, he left for the Middle East in 1985, in search of better opportunities. The same year, he began his career as an employee at a British oil field services company in Doha, Qatar. Then he joined a leading transportation company in Doha as an employee, which became a turning point in his life. Impressed by the exceptional entrepreneurial skills of Dr. Menon that helped the company record a mercurial growth, they inducted him as a partner. It was from here that Dr. Menon flourished as a successful businessman. Later Dr. Menon left the transportation company to start his own venture, the Sun Group of Companies.
Sun Group International
Sun Group International is a transnational concern that has many ventures based in Qatar, the UAE and India. Since its establishment three decades ago, the Group has earned a reputation for steadfast round-the-clock service, which is par excellence. It not only owns fleets of ships and road tankers that supply fuel to diverse locations, but also operates fully equipped fuel stations. The Group surpasses international standards in everything it does. The well calibrated infrastructure and engineering systems employed by the organization is interfused with the strength of a highly skilled labor force. Moreover, the Group has set its foot into the Indian real estate market and film production industry also.
Awards, Achievements and Honours
Dr. Menon is the recipient of many prestigious awards and titles in recognition of his professional excellence, social commitment and philanthropic activities.He was selected as one of the ‘Top Indian Leaders in the Arab World’ by Forbes Middle East, in 2014 and 2015. The award, instituted to honour the expatriate Indian entrepreneurs who contribute towards the economic development of the Arab World and their visionary business practices, was presented to Dr. Menon by H.E. T P Seetharaman, Ambassador of India to the UAE and legendary Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in consecutive years.
In 2013,Dr. Menon was selected as one of the ‘Top 100 Indian Leaders in UAE’ by Forbes Middle East. The award was handed over to Dr Menon by H.E. Dr. Shashi Tharoor, the then Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India. Arabian Business selected Dr Menon as one of the 100 most powerful Indians in the Gulf in 2012 and the award was presented by H.E Sanjay Verma, the Indian Council General.
Dr Menon was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from European Continental University (EUC-USA) in 2015, for his contributions towards the economic development of the Gulf region. In the same year, he was chosen for Asia’s most
prestigious ‘Asia-Pacific Entrepreneurship Award 2015, United Arab Emirates’ by Enterprise Asia, for being an outstanding entrepreneur in the Gulf region for around 30 years.
The Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which is an autonomous organization under the ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, had selected Dr Menon for a term as Regional Advisory Council Member. Dr Menon was presented with the Business Excellence Award by British Minister H E Mr. Malcolm Wicks, UK, during the Global Kerala Festival held at the House of Commons in London.
Dr Menon was one among the five NRI industrialists who were bestowed with business excellence awards by the Kerala State Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi, a leading forum of traders and industrialists in Kerala. In 2011, he received the Golden Honor Award instituted by the Kerala Kalakendram (Society for Socio-Cultural Research and Development) for Excellence in Profession coupled with Social Commitment. The award was presented to him by the then Honorable Governor of the State, H E, Shri. M.O.H. Farook during ‘Suvarnasangamam 2011’, held at Kanakakunnu Palace, Thiruvananthapuram.
The company’s subsidiaries and activities are as follows:
1. Sun Energy L.L.C, Sharjah, UAE Onshore fuel trading and transportation through road tankers
2. Sun Marine Fuels International L.L.C, Sharjah, UAE Offshore fuel trading through supply vessels
3. Sun International Shipping L.L.C, Dubai, UAE A new venture in the freight forwarding and logistics sector
4. Sun International Trading & Transports W.L.L, Doha, Qatar Onshore and offshore fuel transportation
5. Sun International-Al-Waab Fuel Station, Qatar A Full-fledged, state-of-the-art fuel station at Al-Waab Qatar, being the largest of its kind in Qatar
6. Sun (India) Homes & Developers PVT Ltd, India Construction and real estate development
7. M/S. Sun Ads And Film Productions LLP Production & distribution of feature films, advertisement films and television serials
8. Sun Offshore International Inc., Panama Offshore bunkering to ships through supply vess
9. SUN Charitable Trust
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon was bestowed with the Successful Entrepreneurship Award by his alma mater Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, one of the oldest and prestigious institutions of Kerala, at its 65th Founders Day celebrations, for being a successful, illustrious and multifaceted personality among its old students. Chamber of Commerce has honoured him for his contributions towards the field of Trade and Commerce as well as for his contributions towards the socio- ultural arena of the state. He has also been honoured by Thrissur Pouravali during the Keralappiravi golden jubilee celebrations, for his achievements in business and contributions made towards the socio-cultural activities in the state.
Suvitam Foundation Palliative Care Unit, during their first anniversary celebrations, honoured Dr Menon for his ‘Excellence in Trade & Industry by accepting Social Responsibility’. The award was bestowed on him by His Grace Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy. Nadabrahmam Music Journal also presented Dr Menon with an Award of Excellence for his outstanding contributions towards the fields of industry and philanthropy, during its 10th anniversary celebrations in Chennai.
Mumbai Pooram Foundation awarded Pravasi Thilakam title to Dr Menon on the occasion of Mumbai Pooram 2012, in appreciation of his contributions as a Pravasi Malayalee. The award was handed over by Hon’ble Minister A.P Anil Kumar, Minister for Tourism and Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes of Kerala.
Dr Menon has also received the Best Businessman Award instituted by Thrissur Jilla Sowhruda Vedi, Doha, which was presented to him by Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy; Best Business Achiever Award instituted by J.C.I, Thrissur Pooram City; and Vocational Excellence Award 2007-2008 instituted by Rotary Club, Thrissur.
Thrissur Management Association (TMA) has recognized his contributions towards the industry and his involvement in social work. During its silver jubilee celebrations in 2015, TMA honoured Dr Menon for his continued support to the organization, which was bestowed on him by Hon. Kerala Governor P.Sathashivam. Thrissur Archdiocesan CLC has recognized Dr Menon’s enormous services to the poor.
Santhi Medical Information Centre has honoured Dr Menon with an award for his invaluable service towards the poor patients across all sections of the society barring caste and social barriers. The award was handed over to him by Dr M K Muneer, Minister of Social Welfare and Panchayats, Kerala. Now Dr. Menon is the brand ambassador of Santhi Medical Information Centre.
In 2013, School of Bhagavad Geeta honoured Dr Menon with the title ‘Bhaghavatha Bandhu’, which was conferred on him by S Gopinath IPS, the then Inspector General of Police, Thrissur Range.
Dr Menon has also been chosen for the Manavaseva Award, instituted by the PASS Charitable Trust, which was presented to him by Adv Therambil Ramakrishnan MLA. School of Bhagavad Geeta, Thrissur Chapter, honored Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon with the title ‘SAHRUDHYA THILAKAM’, which was presented to him by the then Honorable Speaker of Kerala State G Karthikeyan on the occasion of ‘Bhagavad Geeta Vichara Yagna’ held at Thrissur in 2011.
He has also been honoured by Thrissur Arts Society for his exceptional achievements in business and involvement in socio-cultural activities in Thrissur. Another title conferred on Dr Menon is ‘Sarga Sambadam’, for his excellence in trade and commerce and involvement in various social activities, both in India and the Middle East.
Dr Menon was presented with ‘Navarathri Puraskaram’ by Hon’ble Minister for Health, Family Welfare and Devaswom V.S. Sivakumar at Nethallor Devi Temple in Karukachal, Kottayam, in 2013.
In recognition of his efforts for the welfare of elephants and other activities, Vivekananda Seva Samithi honoured Dr Menon with ‘Gajamanavaseva Puraskaram’ during Anjaneyam 2015. Thrissur Public Library honoured Dr Menon in appreciation of his magnificent contributions to Global Business, Culture and Philanthropy and for his achievements in socio cultural fields of Kerala during the Akshaya Sandya programme held on 24th April 2015. He has also been honoured by Archbishop Andrews Thazath for his contributions to the society.
Socio-cultural and Philanthropic Activities
A philanthropist in spirit, Dr Menon actively contributes towards social and educational causes and welfare of human beings. Especially, he has taken enormous efforts to uplift and support traditional artists of Kerala Temple Arts. He has also taken time out of his precious business schedule to organise many pioneering initiatives in the cultural arena. One noted aspect of his charitable activities is that he not only spends money on these activities but also makes active involvement in these activities.
Presently, he has his own trust, Sun Charitable Trust, which symbolizes his social service goals. The objectives of this Trust represent the strong social commitment of Dr Menon, which is reflected in providing help to the poor and the weaker sections of the society, especially those who have disabilities. Moreover, he has donated life-saving equipment such as ventilators and dialysis units to government medical colleges and other charitable institutions for supporting the poor patients in critical care. Dr Menon is an active presence in the socio-cultural arena of Thrissur, as the honorary member of the Rotary Club, Thrissur, and as the patron of Bharathan Foundation. The Foundation, formed in memory of the great Malayalam film director Bharathan, is a noted cultural organization in Central Kerala, annually coordinating various cultural and cinematic pioneers. The organization also honours those who have made notable contributors towards the field of cinema. Besides, Dr Menon is the patron of Piano, a society of talented artists, which hosts annual National Music Festival in Thrissur.
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon also dons the role of the president of the Kerala State Elephant Owners’ Cooperative Society, controlled by the Government of Kerala. The organisation addresses the issues concerned with the domesticated elephants of Kerala. Dr Menon was instrumental in implementing the concept of elephant recovery ambulance system which was a step towards modernization of elephant care in Kerala. He also actively involves himself in the welfare works of elephant owners and mahouts.
Dr Menon is also the patron of a number of cultural organizations including Bharatham Foundation, an organization dedicated to help the financially backward, talented cultural artists; Jaycee Foundation, which is part of the global Jaycee Movement; Thalam Cultural Trust, which organizes cultural events in Thrissur every month; Kathakali Club, Thrissur, which organizes Kathakali performances every month by famous artists; VIBGYOR, an international film fraternity which conducts annual film festivals; Thrissur District Library; Sakthan Thampuran Lions Club; Thrissur District Badminton Players’ Welfare Association; Kerala Temple Heritage and Elephant Protection forum; Padma Bhushan Kuzhur Narayana Marar Foundation; Annamanada Achutha Marar Smaraka Vidya Kalakendram; Kerala Kshethra Vadya Kala Academy, an academy mainly meant for promoting temple arts to the budding artists with a financial support hand to the weak and disabled artists; Institute of Social Research & Action (ISRA) a non-governmental organization focused on resolving issues affecting urban and rural civil societies through promotion of humanism; Mumbai Pooram Foundation Charitable Trust, a registered charitable trust committed to the upliftment of art and culture as well as the general well-being of the society; SWARAM, a Society for the Welfare, Assistance & Relief of Artistes and Musicians; Suvitam Foundation, a charitable Trust formed in 2003 to undertake humanitarian services among the most poor and neglected sections of the society; and Guruvayoorappan Sangeerthana Trust, Guruvayoor, which is involved in various charitable activities.
Dr Menon has involved himself in the service of rehabilitating destitute, homeless widows by constructing homes for them and also attending to their medical needs. Inspired by the ‘SWACHH BHARAT MISSION’ initiated by Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he has sponsored a most modern, powerful incinerator in the fish market to process wastage in his home town Thrissur, a unique move introduced for the first time in South India. As an integral part of Green Revolution, he has played a predominant role in planting and maintaining different useful plants at various suitable locations in Thrissur city
Besides he is a founder-partner of Sree Narayana Educational Trust School, Thrissur; Chief Patron of Thrissur Arts Society and Kerala State Elephant Owners Federation; and life member of Banerji Memorial Club Thrissur; NSS Karayogam, Thrissur; and Thrissur Management Association.
As the chief sponsor and chairman, Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon had a major role in realizing the historic creation of Mahatma Gandhi’s sand portrait at India Gate, New Delhi. The portrait, which is world’s largest one of its kind, was made for upholding peace, love and unity in the world. The sand portrait was created by famous sand sculptor Babu Edakunni using sand collected from places closely related to Gandhiji’s life including Porbander, Sabarmati Ashram, South Africa and London. The endeavor was inaugurated by the then Minister of Aviation and Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi. The then Defence Minister A K Antony had also visited the venue to view the creation. The carving, which ended in October 2, 2011, was unveiled by the then Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
As a patron of ISRA, Dr Menon was in the forefront of organizing a number of national seminars on subjects related to terrorism, Mullaperiyar dam, criminalization of politics, and Operation Kubera.
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon has closely involved with the Indian forums and Malayalee communities abroad. He has taken an active role in the cultural organizations in the Middle East. He is the Chief Patron Pravasi Malayali Federation, Founder Member of Indian Community Benevolent Fund, Qatar, founder member of Malayali Samajam, Qatar, founder member of Kerala Social & Cultural Association (KSCA), Doha, founder member of Thrissur Jilla Souhrida Vedi (TJSV), and an active member of Sree Kerala Varma College Old Students’ Association.
Dr Menon is also one of the key organizers of world renowned Thrissur Pooram, from the Thiruvambadi side. He is a coordinator of this annual extravaganza, which is witnessed by more than a million people from all over the world. The Pooram Panthal, constructed under the initiative of Dr Menon in connection with the festival, had been featured in the 2010 edition of Limca Book of Records.
Padmashri Dr. Sundar Menon is married to Shyama. They have a son, Sanjay S Menon, who has graduated from Queen Mary University of London in Economic Finance and Management. Now he is the Director of Sun Group International Sharjah UAE. Dr Menon also has a daughter, Swathy Sundar, a Commerce student. She is married to Praveen Kumar, who is a Bachelor in Commerce and practicing CA in Thrissur.