Dishwasher millionaire becomes Hamburg minister


Ian Kiru Karan, Born in Point Pedro in 1939, went to Germany from the United Kingdom here he was studying in 1970 and built one of the world’s biggest container leasing companies in Hamburg.

He recently hit the headlines there when he was sworn as Economics Minister in that city state.

Karan began life in Germany as a dishwasher in a vegetarian restaurant and later joined a container company as a clerk before being promoted a manager due to exceptional ability.

He later went on to found his own business in 1977 earning the nickname "Container King" in the North Germany port city of Hamburg as his business prospered.

In a trade publication of the container industry, Karan revealed that when an American company head-hunted him at a time he was doing well in Hamburg, he demanded a salary of 10,000 (against the 2,500 he was earning then) meaning Deutsche Marks.

But the US company, thinking in terms of dollars, agreed to pay him US$ 10,000 which he says was an "obscenely high" salary at that time.

German Ambassador Jens Plötner last week commended the Lankan-born’s achievements.

"Germany is home of more than 60.000 Sri Lankans from all walks of life. All of them can be proud of Minister Karans’s achievements.

"Ian Karan is not only an immensely successful businessman and now one of Hamburg’s most prominent politicians. He has always been one of most philantrophic citizens of Hamburg contributing to many social welfare projects,’’ the ambassador said.

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