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Big Thoughts are Free

The Authorized Biography of Milan Panic

Mark Axelrod

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Writing biographies is not a precise science. It’s difficult to condense into 300 or 400 or even 500 pages a subject’s entire life. Milan Panić’s biography is no exception. He has written over 900 speeches and has over 200 letters to and from political dignitaries from around the world. In many ways, Panić’s life is even more difficult to condense when one considers the plethora of things he’s accomplished over 8 decades: Olympic cyclist, aviator, entrepreneur, political diplomat, philanthropist, humanitarian, and prime minister.

Subsequent to his unsuccessful bid to become president of Serbia, Panić returned to ICN only to be faced with a kind of financial corruption that was, in some ways, more difficult to deal with than even Milošević’s corruption. Be that as it may, Panić has always been a survivor, and after clearly being disrespectfully dismissed as CEO of ICN, he began MP Biomedicals, which, not surprisingly, has become yet another entrepreneurial success for him.

And though his direct impact on politics has somewhat diminished in favor of family, friends, and business, his legacy might be best summarized by his best friend, confidant and “brother,” Senator Birch Bayh, who said it best when he told me: “If I had to describe Milan Panić in one word it would be ‘indefatigable.’” Perhaps that’s the best way to end a biography as well.

Mark Axelrod March 2014

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