So why does he stay at the Cary, N.C.-based business intelligence giant, 33 years after starting the company with his graduate school professor, James Goodnight, who remains SAS' CEO?
"It's always been my job to be a statistical software developer," Sall said in an interview earlier this week in Chicago, where he was in town for a SAS user conference.
"I've invested my life in it. My net value, it's all vapor, tied up in company valuations. It's not real. I don't go out and buy yachts or do other strange stuff. I spend most of my time working," he said.
Perhaps we can credit Sall's Midwestern roots for his drive. Born and raised in the central Illinois city of Rockford, he earned a history degree at Beloit College in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois University. It was while studying statistics at North Carolina State University that he met Goodnight.
Sall was one of the lead developers for SAS during its first decade. But with the launch of the Macintosh in the mid-1980s, Sall got interested in the computer's graphical visualization capabilities.