Americans love rankings, and Greek-Americans are no different. Our annual 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans edition is, year after year, our most popular special issue of all. And the most popular part about it, the rankings, is actually the least important.
Although The National Herald reached out to every person on this year’s list through the best available means possible, only a few responded, let alone took the time to provide their financial net worth or share other information about themselves.
But some of the important information some made was about the general inaccuracy of the such numbers – not just our numbers, but any numbers, including those of Forbes, widely regarded as the “gold standard” of such rankings.
Many wealthy people are very private and do not like to be in the public eye at all. There may very well be a Greek-American reading this right now, who was not included on this list, but who has more money than anyone mentioned, and he or she is perfectly happy remaining under the radar.
Others, in contrast, might want to overinflate their numbers for whatever reason.
A perfect example of wild variations in estimated net worth is the case of President Trump, whose net worth at press time Forbes estimated to be $3.7 billion. On the campaign trail last year, he said he was worth about $10 billion. Some have speculated that the reason he didn’t disclose his tax returns is because they would suggest an amount far below both of those figures, and he would look foolish in his boasting.
Whichever version is true, the point is, numbers are just numbers.
That said, here is how we arrived at ours: the three categories are Primary (the person or his/her representative officially and publicly gave us the figure), Source (a particular source, such as Forbes) is named, or TNH Estimate (TNHE). The TNHE is based on unofficial and/or unconfirmed sources, or previous TNH figures adjusted for the average gain/loss of the total Primary or Source individuals from last year to this one.
Accordingly, in the spirit of good journalism, our duty to you, our readers, is to explain how we arrived at these figures and rankings, and leave it to you to determine what you think of them.
It is also important to pay careful attention to the title, “50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans.” It means 50 of the wealthiest Greek-Americans, not necessarily the top 50 wealthiest Greek-Americans. The latter would be a nearly impossible list to compile, for various reasons. First, there is no database anywhere in the world that can track all Greek-Americans, again, largely due to the privacy reason. Second, the way a name sounds can sometimes be misleading.
For instance, our top-ranked individual, Jim Davis, doesn’t “sound” Greek at all, whereas two individuals with a far greater net worth, who would easily be numbers 1 and 2 on this list – Jeff Bezos and George Soros – both sound like they’re Greek, but they’re not.
Next, there is the important matter of philanthropy. There are many remarkable people featured in this issue who give away a great deal of money, and that causes them to drop in the rankings. We don’t think they should be “penalized” for that in anyone’s mind.
As we advised last year, the best way to enjoy this issue is not to become too attached to the net worth numbers and the rankings, but rather to appreciate the biographies of these 50 individuals (or families), a few of whom are further featured in separate profile pieces herein.
Finally, we invite you, once again, to enhance this list by letting us know of any information – including, perhaps, a particular Greek-American we may have overlooked – so that this issue can continue to be better and better, year after year.
1 JIM DAVIS
$5.2 BILLION (Forbes)
CHAIR – NEW BALANCE
James S. “Jim” Davis, the Chairman of New Balance (NB), tops our list again this year. Davis, 74, the Brookline, MA-born son of Greek immigrants bought the retail sports footwear company in 1972 and took the company to new heights four years later with the development of the New Balance 320 running shoe. The company has since grown, now featuring clothing and equipment for lacrosse and soccer.
Boston-based NB remains one of the few shoemakers that continues to manufacture some of its shoes in the United States. Its recent endeavor Boston Landing, is a complex for a hotel, sports facility, indoor track, and a commuter rail station. Davis’ wife, Anne, serves as NB’s Vice Chairman, having joined the company in 1977.
Davis is also a co-founder of Major League Lacrosse, which was founded in 1999, debuted in 2001, and in 2015 averaged almost 4400 fans per live game. The league, spanning the United States’ Eastern seaboard, consists of eight teams: Atlanta Blaze, Boston Cannons, Charlotte Hounds, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Denver Outlaws (its only Western team) Florida Launch, New York Lizards, Ohio Machine (its only Midwestern team), and Rochester Rattlers.
Davis’ Bloomberg business profile notes that “he served as Chief Executive Officer of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. until April 17, 2007. From 1965 to 1970, he served at LFE Company. From 1970 to 1972, he served as Marketing Manager of Applied Geo Data Systems Division of Techven Associates Inc. of Cambridge, MA. He served as a Sales Engineer at L.F.E. Corp. of Waltham, MA.
He cofounded a private business in real estate acquisition and management. Besides being actively involved in New Balance, he also served the industry as a whole. He serves as Chairman of New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. He served as Unit Chairman and Chairman of Middlebury College. He serves on the Board of Directors of Citizen’s Bank in Providence, RI. He serves as a Trustee of TD Banknorth Garden. He served as a Director of Middlebury College. Mr. Davis served as a Director of Citizens Bank, N.A. and Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
He served as a Trustee Emeritus of Middlebury College. He served as a Member of Board of Advisors of Vesdia Corporation. Mr. Davis also serves on a number of nonprofit boards including the Children’s Museum in Boston and the Sports Museum of New England. He is a Board Member of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. He serves on the boards of the International Athletic Footwear & Apparel Manufacturers Association and the Two/Ten Foundation, Inc. He is a Member of the Athletic Footwear Council. He serves on the board of the Monterey Institute of International Studies that specializes in international studies and language. He is a Trustee at Newbury College. He was a Trustee of Worcester Academy in Worcester, MA. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Rubber and Plastic Footwear Manufacturers Association.
He serves on the Industry Sector Advisory Committee (ISAC) on footwear, leather and leather products as well as the Industry Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) which is the trade advisory committee to the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) inducted him into the ‘NSGA Hall of Fame’ in July 1997, Inc. Magazine which named him New England Entrepreneur of the Year in 1995 and Business Week magazine, which named him among the nation’s top 10 entrepreneurs of 1993. He was also awarded several Honorary Doctorate degrees including one from his alma mater. He graduated from Middlebury (VT) College in 1966 with a degree in Biology/Chemistry.”
On November 9, 2016, the day following the presidential election, New Balance, though its vice president for public affairs, told the Wall Street journal of the company’s support for the election winner, Donald Trump, because of his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
2 HASEOTES FAMILY
$4.17 BILLION (TNHE)
The Haseotes Family tops our list of the wealthiest Greek-American family and in 2016 they made a major company change, selling off its subsidiary Gulf Oil.
The company was founded by current CEO Ari Haseotes’ grandparents, Vasilios and Aphrodite, in 1938. That year, the Haseoteses emigrated from Greece’s Macedonia and Epirus regions to the United States, purchasing a one-cow dairy farm in Cumberland, RI for $84.
Cumberland Farms expanded across state lines and eventually grew to become the largest dairy farm operation in Massachusetts. In 1956, the company opened a jug-milk store in Bellingham, MA. Few convenience food stores with dawn-to-midnight service every day of the week existed in the northern part of the country in the 1950s.
But by 1967, there were some 8,000. With more than 400 stores, Cumberland Farms was among the industry leaders. By the early 1990s, Cumberland Farms ranked third among the country’s convenience store chains, and was also a leader in both the retail and wholesale distribution of petroleum products.
A closely held family-owned company since its inception, Cumberland Farms has since grown to become a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Lily Haseotes Bentas, daughter of Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes, is chairman of the board of directors. Her nephew, Ari, succeeded Bentas as CEO in June 2014.
Cumberland Farms owns and operates convenience stores, and previously also gas stations throughout New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida under the Cumberland Farms, (and previously, also Gulf and Mobil) names.
The company first added a gas station to one of its stores in 1971 and expanded greatly in the wake of the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. By 1975 Cumberland Farms opened its 1,000th store. The following year, it opened a 560,000-square-foot bakery and warehouse in Westborough, Mass. In 1987, it purchased all of the Northeast assets of Gulf Oil from the Chevron Corporation, including 550 service stations and a terminal network throughout the Northeast.
In 2010, Gulf Oil L.P., a subsidiary of Cumberland Farms, announced it had acquired all rights, title and interest to the “Gulf” brand in the entire United States and its territories. In 2012, Cumberland Gulf Group announced that it entered the electricity market in Connecticut, and in 2013 expanded into other parts of the northeast.
In June, 2016, Ari Haseotes told the Boston Globe as a result of the sale of Gulf, Cumberland can now devote more resources to remodeling its stores and revamping its distribution center. By getting out of the wholesale business and focusing exclusively on retail, Haseotes is returning the company to its roots, more in line with how it was run by his grandparents.
3 JOHN A. CATSIMATIDIS
$3.4 BILLION (NetworthHQ)
OIL, REAL ESTATE, SUPERMARKETS
At a personal fortune estimated at $3.4 billion, John Catsimatidis remains very close to the top our list this year, and continues to be in the public eye, particularly as he considers another possible campaign for public office.
Settling into a humble Harlem tenement as an infant with his parents from the tiny Greek island of Nisyros, Catsimatidis, 67, through decades of hard work and innovation, is a self-made billionaire.
In a self-funded campaign for mayor of New York City in 2013, in which he finished a strong second in the Republican primary, Catsimatidis has hosted his own Sunday morning radio program on New York City’s AM 970 radio station, Cats Roundtable. The show is really two in one, featuring local and national news, with an array of local and nationally-known politicians and other influential guests stopping or calling in on a regular basis.
Catsimatidis is chairman and CEO of the Red Apple Group, which is among the country’s largest privately held companies with 8,000 employees and estimated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. Red Apple has holdings in oil refining, retail petroleum products, convenience stores, supermarkets and real estate. With a major focus on energy, Catsimatidis’ fortune accelerated with rising oil prices.
Catsimatidis attended New York University, but withdrew before completing his degree requirements because of business demands. He opened his first grocery store in 1969 and owned ten stores by the age of 24, making $25 million a year in revenue. He plowed $5 million into Manhattan real estate in 1977; that property was worth $100 million just five years later.
Catsimatidis stumbled upon the Chapter 11 proceedings of United Refining in Warren, PA. and purchased the oil refiner’s stock for $7.5 million. The firm now owns 375 gas outlets and convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio.
Today, Red Apple Group is a diverse holding company that derives revenue from real estate, oil refining, fuel distribution, and aircraft leasing. It owns the Gristedes supermarket chain, the Hellenic Times newspaper, and a reported $500 million worth of property. Catsimatidis’ most recent projects included building mixed-use developments in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and Coney Island neighborhoods.
Catsimatidis is a licensed pilot, though eye surgery has grounded him over the past few years. He has helped raise millions for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Juvenile Diabetes research. He served as co-chairman and founder of the Brooklyn Tech Endowment Foundation. At the time, the $10 million fund was the largest gift to a secondary school in the United States. Since 1988 he has funded scholarships at the NYU School of Business.
He is married and the father of two children, Andrea and John. His wife, Margo, runs his company’s in-house advertising agency. Their Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which has awarded hundreds of thousands in scholarships to Greek American students, celebrated its 24th anniversary in May. Catsimatidis, who first considered running for mayor of New York in 2009, said at his candidacy announcement in January 2013, “I care about making New York better,” and for people to say when he was done, “you know something, you did a great job.”
In 2016 he told the New York media that he had not ruled out making another attempt at public office, perhaps another run at mayor, or even a bid for the US Senate.
4 TOM GORES
$3.3 BILLION (FORBES)
EQUITY INVESTMENT, SPORTS
Tom Gores, 52, was born in Nazareth, Israel to a Greek father and a Lebanese mother. When he was only four, the family moved to Genessee, MI. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University, he joined his brother Alec (also featured in this edition) in buying out companies.
He founded Capital Equity in 1995, which remains one of the largest private companies in the United States. Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the company has offices in New York, Boston, London, and Singapore. Its in-house business development, M&A, transition, legal, real estate, marketing, finance, and operations teams enable us to resolve matters expeditiously.
Capital Equity structures acquisition solutions to help sellers achieve their divestiture objectives. These usually include corporate sellers shedding non-core assets, public sellers seeking to maximize shareholder value, or private sellers seeking capital and operational support. It has also developed alternative deal structures to meet the current capital environment.
Since its founding, in Platinum Equity has completed more than 185 acquisitions in a broad range of market sectors. The current portfolio includes companies in diverse industries, acquired in a range of corporate divestitures, public-to-private transactions, and transactions with private sellers. Each portfolio company operates independently with the goal of creating long-term, sustainable value.
In 2011, Gores and Platinum became owners of the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons. In August, 2016, he purchased Platinum’s stake and became sole owner.
As Forbes reported when Gores first purchased the team, the billionaire is “a sports nut,” who found time amid his busy schedule to coach his daughters’ youth soccer and basketball teams.
In 2016, he launched FlintNow to address the water crisis in Flint, MI.
Gores, his wife, Holly, and their three children live in Beverly Hills, CA, but also maintain a home in Birmingham, MI. Mrs. Gores, a Michigan native, has longstanding roots in the state and joins her husband’s commitment to community initiatives throughout Michigan.
5 JOHN PAUL DeJORIA
$3.1 BILLION (Forbes)
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SPIRITS
John Paul DeJoria, 72, is a member of “The Giving Pledge,” a charity led by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. In 2016, this billionaire who finishes near the top of our list with a net worth estimated at $3.1 billion, has pledged to give more than half of it away. “The more I make, the more I get to give back. Success unshared is failure,” he told CNBC.
Born to an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother who divorced by the time he was 2, DeJoria has known poverty repeatedly: first during his childhood being raised by a single mother in Los Angeles, CA, and two periods of homelessness as an adult.
Today, he is on lists of the world’s billionaires, and one of America’s richest living veterans. His John Paul Mitchell Systems hair products and Patron Spirits, both still privately held, are each worth more than a billion dollars. Paul Mitchell products are available in more than 100,000 salons in the United States and are distributed throughout the world.
In June 2014, DeJoria cofounded (with British entrepreneur Jonathan Kendrick) ROK Mobile, a music streaming service combined with a contract-free mobile phone plan offering unlimited voice, text, and data that runs on the rails of larger cell phone carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. He made a big splash in pop culture in 2013, appearing as a guest judge on ABC’s television pitch show Shark Tank.
DeJoria’s very first job, at age nine, was selling greeting cards door-to-door. He and his brother had paper routes through their school years. After high school and two years in the U.S. Navy, DeJoria did whatever it took to make ends meet – from selling encyclopedias and working as a janitor to pumping gasoline. During his first homeless period, after he and his then-wife separated, he collected bottles to stay afloat, all while caring for his two-year-old son. Eventually, he took his talents to several hair care and cosmetic companies before becoming an independent consultant.
In 1980, DeJoria teamed up with his friend Paul Mitchell to launch John Paul Mitchell Systems, a line of high-end hair care products. The partners began with $700, DeJoria living in his car at the time. He said he knocked on salon doors until he got 12 orders and checks. After two years of hand-to-mouth work, the company grossed $1 million.
In 1989, after Mitchell died, DeJoria found another partner and launched Patron, a premium tequila, something unheard of at that time. His friend Clint Eastwood placed it in his film In the Line of Fire, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck endorsed it, and DeJoria gave it away at Paul Mitchell events. Today, Patron Spirits has expanded to include rum and vodka, and sells 2.5 million cases of the world’s ultra-premium tequila per year.
DeJoria has been quoted saying the key to success is to be prepared for rejection. As a lifelong salesman, he has faced more than his share. Remembering his three-year stint selling Collier’s encyclopedias door-to-door, he said: “doors literally slam in your face – maybe 30, 40 doors before the first customer will actually talk to you.” But, he advised would-be entrepreneurs, no matter how many rejections you get, go to the next door with the same enthusiasm as you had at the first, with a smile on your face.
DeJoria has also been quoted telling a story that when he was 5, his mother didn’t have enough money to buy her sons Christmas presents. As they walked through downtown Los Angeles, his mother pointed to a woman wearing a navy blue suit ringing a bell. “Boys,” his mother said, “I’m giving you a dime. See that lady ringing the bell? Put this in her bucket.” DeJoria didn’t understand; 10 cents was a lot for a kid who didn’t have much in 1950. Why did he have to give it away? “That’s the Salvation Army. They need it more than we do,” was her reply. From that experience, he learned that “success unshared is failure.”
The vast list of charities supported by John Paul Mitchell Systems includes the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the American Cancer Society, Food4Africa, Grow Appalachia, and Chrysalis, a nonprofit group that helps homeless and low-income people get back on their feet and find the path to self-sufficiency. DeJoria is also a patron of Mineseeker, a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking solutions to the worldwide problem of landmines. In 2006, he was appointed Admiral by the governor of Texas, and he received the Citizen of the Year Dolphin Award from The Malibu Times. DeJoria was also honored with the Sustainability Award for his dedication to environmental preservation at Fashion Group International’s 25th annual Night of Stars event, and was inducted as a lifetime member into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans in honor of his journey to overcome humble beginnings to achieve success.
He and his third wife, the former Eloise Brady, are based in Austin, TX. He has four children, one of whom is professional drag-racer Alexis DeJoria.
6 C. DEAN METROPOULOS
$2.5 BILLION (Forbes)
Dean Metropoulos, age 69, is Chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Company, a boutique buyout and management firm. He remained very high on the list, as a result of his $2.5 billion estimated worth, slightly up from last year’s $2.4.
In July 2013, Metropoulos paid $410 million to buy Hostess Brands and return Twinkies to grocery shelves after the company had filed for bankruptcy protection and closed its doors. Hostess has made a remarkable turnaround and Metropoulos made news this past July by announcing the intention to take the company public.
He sold Pabst Brewing for an estimated $750 million in September 2014, nearly tripling his 2010 investment. His sons, Evan, 35 and Daren, 32, are and have been an integral part of the turnaround of the acquired companies. Pabst remains one of the fastest-growing brewing companies in the United States, if not the fastest.
Metropoulos is very well known in the private equity, investment banking, and financial community, having spent nearly three decades acquiring, restructuring and growing nearly 80 different businesses involving approximately $14 billion in capital in the United States, Mexico and Europe. Many of these were subsequently taken public or sold to strategic acquirers.
“We love acquiring and transforming undermanaged companies by investing heavily in operating efficiencies, systems, new products and innovation,” Metropoulos says, “and unique marketing, thus turning them into vibrant, growing businesses. We have been particularly privileged and fortunate to acquire and revitalize brands with deep roots in our American culture and tradition, such as the recent acquisitions of the 170-year-old PBR and 100-year-old Hostess. Our European-acquired brands, such as Perrier Jouet and Mumm Champagnes, among others, often go back 300-plus years: truly humbling heritages. We are proud of the many brands we have been associated with, as well as our non-consumer deals, such as National Waterworks, a very successful transaction of a company purchased from France’s Vivendi, and ultimately sold to Home Depot.
“My sons, Evan and Daren, have been the creative catalysts for repositioning and reinventing these brands, including product and packaging innovations, unique, targeted and highly relevant marketing campaigns, both with traditional and social media as well as highly unusual partnerships with professional athletes such as The Rock, Mankind, Jeremy Shockey, and Clinton Portis among others, including numerous celebrities, feature film and TV programs as well as day and night show appearances. In addition, they have generated many award-winning ads including two of the most highly profiled – one that eclipsed, for example, the 2013 Super Bowl with a $1,500 Will Ferrell ad, and a Hungry-Man ad incorporating several NFL stars.”
Among the well-known businesses Metropoulos & Company have owned include Stella Foods, Morningstar Group, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Del Monte Mexico, Pinnacle Foods (now a multi-billion dollar public company), International Home Foods, and Hillsdown Holdings, an $8-plus billion U.K. holding company taken public in 2004 and today is the largest U.K. food business.
The Greek-born Metropoulos moved to the United States with his parents at age 9. Typical of many immigrants, his parents worked hard and encouraged their children to pursue their dreams. He remains ever-grateful and humble for their sacrifices and commitment.
After graduate school, Metropoulos joined GTE International as director of finance for Europe, Middle East and Africa residing in Geneva, Switzerland, and later returning to the United States to become GTE’s youngest senior vice president responsible for their international business, including operations in 62 countries. In October, his son Daren purchased the legendary Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, CA for $100 million.
7 ALEX G. SPANOS
$2.4 BILLION (Forbes)
REAL ESTATE, PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
Best known throughout the sports world as owner of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, Alex G. Spanos, 93, continues to add to his net worth, finishing at $2.4 million in 2016, according to Forbes. Spanos, also founder of the real estate development company A.G. Spanos, is the son of Greek immigrants. He began his career as a baker, but in 1951 used an $800 loan to purchase a panel truck and began selling sandwiches to farm workers. He then used his profits to invest in real estate, and by 1960, he had an incorporated business. Today, his firm A.G. Spanos is one of America’s largest housing developers, and is one of the largest family-owned construction and property management companies in the nation. It has built more than 120,000 units in 19 states. Spanos handed control of the company to his sons in 2003: Dean serves as Chairman and CEO and Michael serves as President.
Spanos was inducted into the California Building Industry Hall of Fame in 2005. He bought 60 percent of the Chargers from then-majority owner Eugene Klein in 1984. Over the next ten years, he bought out the shares of several small co-owners, bringing his control of the team to 97 percent.
In July 1995, Spanos began supporting an annual high school all-star football game in San Diego County. Since then, the Alex Spanos All-Star Classic has grown to the preeminent all-star football game in California, gathering the best seniors in the county for a final game before continuing their careers on the collegiate field. Many alumni from the Spanos Classic have gone on to play in the National Football League.
Spanos, one of the largest single private contributors to the Republican Party during Presidential election years, helped raise over $2 million for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid. President Bush appointed Spanos to the Kennedy Center board in 2004.
Spanos has also contributed millions to schools, hospitals and charity. He received the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honor from Greek President Karolos Papoulias in 2008.
In 2002, Spanos published his autobiography, Sharing the Wealth: My Story. He was inducted into the Order of St. Andrew/Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1972, and was awarded the Order’s Athenagoras Human Rights Award in 2004. One of the founding members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’ Leadership 100, he has served as chairman of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism and as president of the Archdiocesan Council.
He and his wife, Faye, with whom he celebrated 68 years of marriage in 2016, have four children,15 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.
After completing the 2016 football season in San Diego, the Chargers are front and center in football headlines as they have made the move to Los Angeles.
8 JAHARIS FAMILY
$2.35 BILLION (TNHE)
The Jaharis Family Patriarch, Michael, passed away in early 2016 at age 87. He founded Key Pharmaceuticals, Kos Pharmaceuticals, & Vatera Healthcare Partners.
The son of Greek immigrants, Michael Jaharis was born in Chicago, IL. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Carroll University in Wisconsin, served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War, and later attended night school at DePaul University to earn a law degree while working as a sales representative for Miles Laboratories.
In 1972, Jaharis and partner Phillip Frost acquired Key Pharmaceuticals and transformed the small cold remedies producer into a prominent company with cutting-edge, top selling asthma and cardiovascular drugs. Under Jaharis’ leadership, Key’s sales increased 100-fold before the company’s $836 million merger with Schering-Plough in 1986. Two years later, Jaharis launched Kos Pharmaceuticals, which pioneered the HDL cholesterol market with its good cholesterol-raising drug Niaspan, before being sold to Abbott Laboratories in 2006 for $4.2 billion.
He remained Chairman Emeritus of the Kos board until his passing.
In 1999, Jaharis founded Arisaph Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held drug discovery and biotech company, and had served as director since 2005.
Jaharis was founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC, a venture capital firm focusing on the healthcare industry, which is a key investor in Arisaph. Vatera is also the lead investor in a number of biotech/specialty pharmaceutical companies, including Melinta Therapeutics, which is developing life-saving antibiotics, and ImmusanT, which is developing a novel treatment for celiac disease. In June 2013, Pearl Therapeutics, in which Vatera was the largest investor, was acquired by AstraZeneca for $1.15 billion.
Proud supporters of Hellenism, Jaharis and his wife, Mary, have been longstanding major benefactors of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera and many cultural, religious, higher education, and healthcare institutions through the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc.
In October 2010, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture was inaugurated at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological Seminary in Brookline, MA, which will serve as a premier international research center.
In 2014, the foundation donated $10 million to Haverford College in Haverford, PA to finance a new music center and a student loan debt relief fund. In 2013, the foundation announced a donation of $2 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in Greece. The money, supporting the work of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Doctors of the World, and SOS Children’s Villages, was offered as a challenge gift to inspire other donations from Greek-Americans.
Jaharis served as Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University in Boston, MA, Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the School of Medicine at Tufts University, Member of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Visitors, and Member of the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences. He also served as a director of the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA) and Vice President of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Council. He was one of the original founders of Leadership 100 and Faith: An Endowment for Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
Jaharis’ wife, Mary, continues to live in New York. They have two children and five grandchildren. The Mary Jaharis Center continues to support book-length publications or major articles in the field of Byzantine studies broadly conceived. Grants are aimed at early career academics.
9 PETER NICHOLAS
$2.3 BILLION (AffluenceIQ)
Peter Nicholas, 75, co-founded the medical device company Boston Scientific with scientist John Abele in 1979, after meeting Abele at a children’s’ soccer game. A graduate of Duke University, Nicholas went on to earn a MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business. He is Chairman Emeritus of Duke’s Board of Trustees. In 1996, Nicholas gave $20 million to Duke for its School of the Environment, which was named in his honor. Since then, he and his wife, Virginia (Ginny) Lilly, have made other gifts of tens of millions of dollars to Duke.
Ginny is the great-granddaughter of Eli Lilly, founder of the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Company, where Nicholas worked prior to founding Boston Scientific.
Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices whose products are used in a range of interventional medical specialties, including interventional radiology, interventional cardiology, peripheral interventions, neuromodulation, neurovascular intervention, electrophysiology, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, endoscopy, oncology, urology and gynecology.
The company is primarily known for the development of the Taxus Stent, a drug-eluting stent which is used to open clogged arteries. With the full acquisition of Cameron Health in June 2012, the company also became notable for offering a minimally invasive implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) which they call the EMBLEM Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD).
The company went public in 1992.
In 2016, Nicholas announced that he would step down as Boston Scientific’s chairman, a year ahead of his intended retirement. President & CEO Mike Mahoney, who succeeded Nicholas as Chairman, said this about his predecessor: “These changes represent a major milestone in the history of the company, as Pete’s dedication, passion and commitment were instrumental in bringing the benefits of interventional medicine to patients in need. Under Pete’s leadership, Boston Scientific has become a leading global healthcare corporation serving 22 million patients each year, and we are deeply indebted for his decades of service and love of the company.”
10 GEORGE M. MARCUS
$2.2 BILLION (Primary)
Born George Moutsanas in Euboea, Greece, George Marcus, 75, together with his partner, William A. Millichap, is founder and chairman of Marcus & Millichap Company (MMC), one of the country’s premier providers of investment real estate brokerage services, and the parent company of a diversified group of real estate, service, investment and development firms. MMC’s featured company, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, has established itself as a leading real estate firm with more than 1,200 brokers in markets throughout the United States.
With dozens of offices across the United States and Canada, the firm concentrates on investment brokerage, and provides financing and research services to both buyers and sellers. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services went public with 6 million shares in October 2013, generating net proceeds to the company of about $34.6 million. In November 2014, the company reported profits for the third quarter of 2014 at $13.5 million, up from $7.3 million for the same period of the previous year. It reported more than $435 million revenue for the 2013 fiscal year, a 13 percent increase from 2012. In 2015, due to the company’s success, Marcus’ net worth catapulted him from millionaire to billionaire.
The two partners launched a new business model nearly four decades years ago, based on matching each property with the largest pool of pre-qualified investors. In 2013, Marcus & Millichap closed more than 6,600 investment transactions for private and institutional investors. Included in these transactions were shopping centers, office and industrial buildings, apartment properties, single-tenant net-lease properties, hotels/motels, senior housing facilities, manufactured home communities, self-storage facilities, golf and resort properties and land. The company earned a placement in Information Week magazine’s 2014 Elite 100, a list of the top business technology innovators in the country, for the ninth consecutive year.
Marcus is also chairman of Essex Property Trust, a publicly held, multi-family real estate investment trust (REIT). Located in Palo Alto, Calif. and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Essex is a fully integrated REIT that acquires, develops and redevelops apartment communities in select west coast communities. The company, according to its website, currently has ownership interests in 140 apartment communities. Marcus is also one of the original founders of Plaza Commerce Bank and Greater Bay Bancorp. He served on Greater Bay’s board of directors until it was sold to Wells-Fargo in 2007 for $1.5 billion.
Marcus came to San Francisco from Greece at age four. He completed his undergraduate studies in Economics at San Francisco State University in just two and a half years, and founded the university’s first economics club. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the California State University System in 1981-89, and has helped select several SFSU presidents. He was named SFSU Alumnus of the year in 1989 and one of its 11 Distinguished Centennial Alumni in 1999. He and his wife, Judy, helped create SFSU’s International Center for the Arts with a $3 million gift. Marcus also helped develop SFSU’s Greek Studies program, and chairs its Modern Greek Studies Foundation, which supports the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair for Modern Greek Studies.
In 2008, Marcus co-founded the National Hellenic Society. Along with another Greek-American couple, George and Judy Marcus opened the successful Evvia restaurant in Palo Alto in 1995, and its sister restaurant Kokkari in San Francisco in 1999. Known for its rustic and elegant cuisine and environment, Kokkari enjoys its standing as the premier Greek restaurants and a favorite of the local Democratic establishment.
He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owners/Presidents Management Program and the Georgetown University Leadership Program. Among Marcus’ professional memberships are the Board of Regents of the University of California, the Real Estate Round-table and the Policy Advisory Board of the University of California in Berkeley’s Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics.
In February 2017, The National Herald reported that Marcus donated $1 million to the Hellenic College and Holy Cross Theological School (HCHC) in Massachusetts. There is a full feature interview with George Marcus in this issue.
11. PETER G. ANGELOS
$2.1 BILLION (Vipfaq)
LAW, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Peter G. Angelos, 86, is an attorney and is best known for being owner, chairman and CEO of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. He bought the Orioles in August 1993, leading a group of investors including prominent Marylanders, including novelist Tom Clancy, in purchasing the team for $173 million, a record price at the time.
The Orioles enjoyed some success early under Angelos’ ownership, making the postseason as a wild card team in 1996 and winning the American League East Division title in 1997. But manager Davey Johnson resigned after the 1997 season, and 14 straight losing seasons ensued. As of late, their fortunes climbed, as they clinched the division in 2014 and just felt short of repeating in 2015, but made the playoffs again in 2016. The Orioles’ worth has jumped 60% in two years, to close to $1 billion.
Angelos was born in Pittsburgh, PA on July 4, 1929, to immigrants from the island of Karpathos. He went to Baltimore at age 11, where his family settled in the Highlandtown section. He graduated from Eastern College and the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he was class valedictorian, and went onto a lucrative career in trial law, specializing in cases involving harmful products, professional malpractice, and personal injury.
His firm, the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, has attorneys and locations in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. Angelos began working as a criminal defense lawyer following graduation. For most of his legal career, he was a successful attorney representing Baltimore labor unions and their members through his own private practice, which he founded in 1961. Beginning in the 1980s, he refashioned his firm’s focus from criminal law to civil class action suits. His law firm and wealth expanded exponentially in 1982, when he represented 8,500 plaintiffs – the largest number of plaintiffs ever – in asbestos litigation and won. He reportedly made over $100 million on this one case. Angelos was also enormously successful in suing Wyeth, the makers of the diet pill fen-phen, and representing the state of Maryland as lead attorney in a lawsuit against tobacco company Philip Morris. The agreement had stipulated that he would receive 25% of the recovery, but when it came to $4.5 billion, Maryland refused to pay; Angelos’ team settled for $150 million. It was after that he became a major player in the Baltimore community. Commenting on winning settlements of that size on behalf of governmental entities, Angelos said, “If you get that kind of a fee, you’re fundamentally taking it from the public interest.”
A lifelong Democrat, he won election to the Baltimore City Council and served on the Council from 1959 to 1963. He ran for mayor as an independent in 1964, but lost. He has been an active supporter of national Democratic candidates. Locally, in 2006, he publicly supported the Republican incumbent, Bob Ehrlich, for governor of Maryland and criticizing Democratic candidate Martin J. O’Malley, who won the election.
Angelos has been active in charitable programs in the city and state. He enjoys horse racing and owns thoroughbred horses. He has given $10 million to his alma mater; in return, the new law school building bears the name of his parents. The John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore opened in April 2013. The same year, he gifted $2.5 million to the MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore to open a lung disease center.
Angelos and his wife, Georgia, have two sons: John, who serves as the Orioles’ executive vice president and Louis, an attorney at the family law office.
In 2016, Forbes reported that the Orioles’ value had increased 61% in two years, from $620 million to over $1 billion.
12. AMB. GEORGE L. ARGYROS
$2.1 BILLION (Forbes)
REAL ESTATE, SPORTS
George L. Argyros is well known in a wide variety of prominent circles, as his long and illustrious life has included achievements ranging from real estate, to sports, to international diplomacy.
Argyros served as US Ambassador to Spain and owner of the professional baseball team Seattle Mariners. But Argyros, 80, made his fortune in grocery stores and real estate.
A second-generation American of Greek descent, he was born in Detroit, MI and raised in Pasadena, CA. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Argyros went into real estate in 1962, selling land at busy intersections to gas stations. Today, his privately held Arnel & Affiliates owns and manages 5,500 apartments and 2 million square feet of commercial space.
In 1987, Argyros founded Westar Capital, a private equity firm. He is a director of First American Financial Corp and Pacific Mercantile Bancorp. Formerly the largest shareholder and a board member of Kansas software developer DST Systems, he sold off the bulk of that stock in 2014, reducing his shares from 20 percent to 4 percent of the company’s stock. He also retired from the board.
Argyros developed a friendship with scientist/inventor Arnold Beckman in California in 1962. Soon afterward he began a 22-year service as chairman of the board of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, which awards research grants in chemistry and the life sciences. In 2013, the foundation developed the Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research. The annual award offers a $100,000 prize and a $400,000 research grant to an individual who has made a significant achievement in vision research.
In 2001, then-President George W. Bush appointed Argyros U.S. ambassador to Spain. Years later, Argyros hosted a $25,000-per-couple dinner for U.S. Senator and then-presidential hopeful John McCain (R-AZ) at his home in 2008. Argyros also served on the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac) under President George H.W. Bush.
A resident of Harbor Island in Newport Bay, CA, Argyros is a recognized business leader and philanthropist. He was the 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans, and a 2001 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Chapman’s School of Business and Economics was renamed in his honor in 1999. He has served on the board of trustees for several community organizations, including the California Institute of Technology, the Beckman Foundation, the Horatio Alger Association, and Chapman University.
Argyros sold the Mariners in 1989, after trying to move them elsewhere, and had also pursued purchase of the San Diego Padres. In January 2012, Argyros became a member of the Board of Regents of the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America. In April 2011, he and his wife made a $5 million gift to an ambulatory surgery center at the University of California. He is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. Argyros and his wife, Julia, have three children and seven grandchildren. The Argyrores were honored by the city of Costa Mesa, CA in May with a Lifetime Achievement Award for service to the community.
13 ALEC GORES
$2.1 BILLION (Forbes)
TECHNOLOGY, LEVERAGED BUYOUTS
Alec Gores, 63, like his brother Tom (also featured in this edition) was born to a Greek father and Lebanese mother, in Nazareth, Israel. The family moved to Genesee, MI when he was a teenager.
“My father was willing to give up literally everything he had [in Israel] and pack his bags and bring us here,” Gores told Forbes in October, 2016. “He did it for the kids, to make sure we have a better future.”
The elder Gores, Charlie, emphasized hard work and an appreciating for the opportunities the United States presented, his son told Forbes. “The day we landed in America, my dad sat us down and he said, ‘This is your new country. You have to respect it. You have to embrace it’,” Gores remembers. His dad added: “You’ve got to work hard, and you can do anything you want in this country.”
Today, Gores heads the Beverly Hills-based private equity firm The Gores Group, which has $2.5 billion in assets.
After graduating from Western Michigan University with a degree in computers, he founded Executive Business Systems in 1978, for $10,000, and was selling computers out of his basement. His father “gave me his last $8,000 and had me go buy a demo machine,” Gores told Forbes. “That’s what I needed to start the business.” He grew the company tremendously, and sold it in 1986 to Contel for approximately $2 million.
In July, he joined C. Dean Metropulos, also featured in this edition, to take the food snack giant Hostess public.
Gores famously lost over $17 million in a three-day backgammon series to fellow billionaire JP McManus in 2012, the Independent reported, and Gores promptly “paid up like a gent.”
The father of five, Gores is married to Kelly Noonan.
14 PETER G. PETERSON
$2 BILLION (Forbes)
Peter G. Peterson has gone down in rankings on this list over the years, much to his credit – because he has given away a good amount of his money to philanthropic causes – though he climbed back up a bit, to $2 billion, in 2016. Having served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Nixon, Peterson made his fortune as the co-Founder and former chairman of the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest investment firms with 25 offices around the world.
Peterson co-founded Blackstone with Stephen Schwarzman in 1985. The firm’s private equity funds own or have interests in 80 companies. The company went public in June 2007 at $31 a share. Peterson retired from the company in late 2008, selling most of his shares and receiving $1.85 billion in cash upon exiting, before taxes and meeting several trust and charitable obligations.
Peterson released his newest book Steering Clear: How to Avoid a Debt Crisis and Secure Our Economic Future (Portfolio/Random House) in 2015, in which he contends that we must address our long-term fiscal challenges in order to secure a growing and prosperous economy.
The son of Greek immigrants, Peterson grew up in Nebraska. He studied at Northwestern University, where he graduated summa cum laude, and earned his MBA from the University of Chicago with honors. He was CEO of Bell and Howell from 1963 to 1971. In addition to his tenure as Secretary of Commerce, Peterson became chairman of Lehman Brothers in 1973. He also chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 to 2004. He is the author of several books, including a 2009 memoir, The Education of an American Dreamer: How a Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way from a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond, and speaks frequently about issues of fiscal responsibility.
In 1981, Peterson created the Institute for International Economics to study international economic policy and “develop and communicate practical new approaches” to global problems. It was renamed the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2006.
Peterson devotes a great deal of his time to his foundation and other charitable activities. Established in 2008, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing public awareness of the nature and urgency of key fiscal challenges threatening America’s long-term future, and to accelerating action on them. The Foundation works with leading thinkers, policy experts, elected officials and the public to build support for efforts to put America on a fiscally sustainable path. Since 2010, it has hosted an annual Fiscal Summit dedicated to addressing the nation’s long-term debt and economic future. Participants include former President Bill Clinton, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Bill Gates, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In 2014, Peterson took part in the 3rd annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, which gathered philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and public officials to discuss how to improve education in the U.S. and around the world.
The Foundation, staunchly anti-deficit, was not encouraged that things would look brighter in that respect as 2017 approached.
Peterson now resides in New York. He is married to Joan Ganz Cooney, founder and former chairman of Children’s Television Workshop (“Sesame Street”), he has five children and several grandchildren.
15. JAMES S. CHANOS
$1.5 BILLION (Investor Almanac)
James S. Chanos, 59, is informally known as “Wall Street’s most notable bear.” Founder and President of Kynikos Associates, Chanos heads the world’s biggest short-selling hedge fund. He is renowned for predicting – and profiting from – the 2001 Enron Corporation scandal. His speculations catapulted him into billionaire status last year, where he has remained.
Chanos is a second generation Greek-American who grew up in Milwaukee, WI. His father owned a chain of dry cleaner store in Milwaukee and his mother worked as an office manager at a steel company. He founded Kynikos Associates (in Greek, “kynikos” means cynic) in 1985 after a Wall Street career as a financial analyst with Paine Webber, Gilford Securities and Deutsche Bank. Jim Levitas, his former boss, partnered with Chanos to launch Kynikos Associates with $16 million. A year later, Levitas, unable to endure the stress of short selling, left the company. Kynikos has offices in New York and London.
Chanos has a long and distinguished history of making shrewd predictions, having identified several financial meltdowns such as Boston Chicken, Conesco and Tyco International. In 2000 he started investigating Enron. In 2001, predicting the company’s financial problems, he became Enron’s short seller. By the time the Enron scandal was public, Kynikos Associates profited greatly. Financial magazine Barron’s mentioned his early prediction of Enron’s fall as “the market call of the decade, if not the past fifty years.” Later on, he successfully predicted Sotheby’s stock drop – it plummeted in November 2007 from $57 to $10. He even foresaw the global financial meltdown of 2008. In April 2007 at a finance ministers’ conference in Washington, DC, he warned that American banks and brokerage firms were highly vulnerable to a real estate crash because of the vast amounts of dubious mortgages they held.
In March, 2006, Chanos created the Coalition of Private Investment Companies, an organization aiming at promoting hedge funds in Washington. Recently, the lobbying group has shifted its attention to Europe.
He appears regularly in the American media giving financial advices and predictions. He has long been considered a “media operator” with a strong relationship with journalists that respect and promote his ideas. He continues to regularly predict that China’s economy will crash, partly due to excessive real estate development. At a Reuters Global Investment Outlook summit last October, he estimated China was building 20 million condominiums each year while selling just 4 or 5 million.
Chanos is a graduate of Yale University, where he studied economics and political science. Organizations he supports include the Washington OXI Day Foundation, the George and Olga Tsunis Center for Hellenic Studies at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, and Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. He was divorced in 2006 and lives in New York City with his four children.
In June of 2016, he proclaimed that “as bull markets go on, more and more rational people suspend their sense of disbelief and want to get in on all kinds of schemes and things that in more rational times might make you want to keep your money in your wallet. And increasingly also managers feel they can get away with brazen behavior.” Timely advice, perhaps, as 2016 ended and the new year began with a bull market.
16. LOGOTHETIS FAMILY
$1.5 BILLION (TNHE)
This year we have listed the Logothetis family collectively, which best reflects their accomplishments and impact.
George M. Logothetis, 42, is the founding chairman and CEO of Libra Group. The conglomerate consists of 30 subsidiaries with companies operating across 35 countries. He founded the privately owned group with his brother Constantine in 2003.
Today George Logothetis is based in New York, while Constantine, who is Executive Vice Chairman of the group, is based in London. The diversified group was built on the decades of work of their father, shipowner Michalis G. Logothetis, who is on the Libra Group’s board and is a senior advisor. A series of strategic steps by the younger generation allowed them to extend into new areas at a time when many shipping companies were strained. Despite the financial crisis, the Libra group companies have acquired $7 billion of assets over the past several years.
Logothetis launched his career at the family business in London in 1993, when he joined Lomar Shipping, the group’s UK-based ship owning and management group, which at the time had just two ships. In 1995, at the age of 19, he became its CEO. Under his leadership, Lomar expanded the numbers of ships they owned many times over. Then Lomar sold 67 of them during the shipping boom between 2004 and 2006, investing the profits in many non-shipping sectors. Finally, in 2009, Lomar acquired Allocean Group for $325 million, which was considered a bargain price. During 2013, Lomar continued to expand its fleet, which now comprises almost 100 vessels including orders for more than 35 modern, fuel-efficient Ultramax and container ships made in China. In total, Lomar has spent $2 billion on buying 125 ships over the past five years.
The group followed a similar pattern with its aircraft leasing business, Dublin, Ireland-based Lease Corporation International (LCI). The company was launched in 2004, only to sell its entire 21 aircraft fleet in 2007 for $1 billion. The company then invested in a new fleet of some 35 aircraft leased to companies including Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Air France. In early 2012, LCI signed a $400 million order with AgustaWestland helicopters, which are now being leased to leading operators across the world. The company’s aviation leasing division has acquired aircraft valued at $6 billion since its formation. To deepen its commitment to the rotary wing sector, LCI announced a partnership with KKR Financial Holdings in 2013, under which KKR agreed to invest in excess of $100 million in LCI’s helicopter leasing division.
Libra Group’s real estate portfolio spans much of the planet, with properties and offices in North and South America, Asia and Europe. Libra Group owns 50 hotels on five continents. The group’s Grace Hotels brand, which began on Greek islands, is now found around the world. Recent additions include the celebrated five diamond/five star Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut, Grace Cafayate in the dramatic wine growing region of Northern Argentina, the under-construction Grace St Moritz in Switzerland – a transformation of one of the town’s historic hotels – and La Dolfina Grace, a collaboration between Grace Hotels and the La Dolfina polo and lifestyle brand in Argentina. And in 2016, Elandis, one of the Libra Group’s real estate subsidiaries opened the first hotel in São José do Rio Preto, Brazil as part of a $270 million joint venture with Hyatt Hotels Corporation to build nine hotels in key cities and towns across Brazil.
In addition to solar and other clean energy interests in the United States, the group has a waste-to-energy plant in Green Bay, WI. and a combined heat and power plant in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Meanwhile, in Greece, Romania and Latvia, Libra Group’s European energy arm has invested in solar energy parks, wind farms, and biogas plants.
The list of group subsidiaries includes Principal Media, which was founded by travel writer/TV host Leon Logothetis and has provided TV programming since 2005. Other investments include financial services companies in London and New York, a London-based interior design practice, and a holding in COCO-MAT, the leading Greek manufacturer of sustainably-sourced mattresses and other sleep products.
Libra Capital is the in-house investment management company, and Libra Group Services the in-house legal and administrative and corporate support company.
Logothetis and his wife, the former Nitzia Embiricos, are based in New York City and have two sons and a daughter. George and Nitzia founded Seleni Institute in 2011 with the aim of addressing maternal mental health through research, support, and advocacy. Also in 2011, the group created an International internship program which now gives over 120 people per year the opportunity to work at the group’s key locations around the world.
Logothetis is also chairman of the Concordia Leadership Council. Concordia is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify new avenues of collaboration for governments, businesses, and other nonprofits by convening global leaders and developing new research products. The organization, which was cofounded by Nicholas Logothetis, promotes effective public-private collaboration to create a more prosperous and sustainable future, and convenes leaders from around the world at its Annual Summit. Logothetis delivered remarks at Concordia’s last four Annual Summits.
In November 2012, Libra launched the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, on behalf of The Hellenic Initiative, which is chaired by Andrew Liveris, who is also featured in this issue. Libra has committed €10 million to the award, which has created many hundreds of jobs in Greece. Winners receive business start-up funding, as well as mentoring and business support from Libra Group and its subsidiaries.
In 2016 Libra operated the first American Entrepreneurship Award focusing on budding entrepreneurs in The Bronx, New York and Miami-Dade County, Florida. Entrepreneurship awards are just one aspect of Libra’s social responsibility commitments which seek to deliver educational opportunity, business opportunity, and acts of humanity towards people who are neglected, marginalized or under-served. The group’s latest program, The HOME Project, addresses the refugee crisis and seeks to support thousands of displaced people. In particular, the project is providing safe, protected shelters where unaccompanied children from the overcrowded camps in Athens and the Greek islands can receive the care and attention that they need.
Logothetis is a member of the Board of Directors of the MBK Alliance, a nonprofit organization launched by President Barack Obama aimed at eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps for boys and young men of color.
17. DR. P. ROY VAGELOS
Dr. Pindaros Roy Vagelos earned a medical degree over half a century ago. Since then, he has had a long and distinguished career in healthcare, and particularly in pharmaceuticals. He served as Chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. from 1985 to 1994. He joined the worldwide health products firm in 1975 as senior vice president of research, and became president of its research division in 1976. Starting in 1982, he served as senior vice president of strategic planning. He continued to hold both positions until 1984, when he was elected executive vice president. He is now 87 years old.
Before assuming broader responsibilities of business leadership, Vagelos had won scientific recognition as an authority on lipids and enzymes, and as a research leader. This followed a decision early in his career to put his principal energies into research, rather than the practice of medicine. Vagelos, whose parents were born in Asia Minor and emigrated to the US in the 1920s, earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in 1950 from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned a medical degree from Columbia University in 1954. After an internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (1954-56), he joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. At NIH from 1956 to 1966, he served in the National Heart Institute, holding positions in cellular physiology and biochemistry – first as senior surgeon, then as head of section of Comparative Biochemistry. In 1966, Vagelos joined the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine as chairman of its Biological Chemistry Department where he founded the division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.
The author of several books, including an autobiography, “Medicine, Science and Merck,” and more than 100 scientific papers, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in 1972, and to the American Philosophical Society in 1993. He has received honorary degrees from 14 institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and Washington Universities.
After retiring from Merck, Vagelos was chairman of the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees from 1994 to 1999, having served as a trustee since 1988. He was also president and CEO of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens from 1999 to 2001. He served on the National Research Council Committee on Science & Technology for Countering Terrorism in 2002 and on the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine Committee that published “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” in 2005.
Merck was very respected under his leadership, having been voted “America’s Most Admired Corporation” in the annual Fortune magazine poll for seven consecutive years. During his tenure there, Merck developed the cholesterol-lowering statins, MEVACOR and ZOCOR.
Vagelos is sometimes called the father of pharmacophilanthropy for his decision that Merck contribute the drug MECTIZAN free to cure millions of Africans of river blindness. His charity work at the University of Pennsylvania includes sponsoring scholarship/study programs as well as the Roy and Diana Vagelos Laboratories. The Diana Student Center, named after Mrs. Vagelos at her alma mater, Barnard College, opened in 2010.
Since 1995, Vagelos has been chairman of biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, whose revenue more than tripled since 2011. He is also founding chairman of Columbia University Medical Center’s board of advisors, and chaired the center’s capital campaign, which passed its target of $1 billion. In 2010 the couple contributed the lead gift to Columbia University Medical Center for a new medical and graduate education building. He is currently on the boards of the National Math and Science Initiative and The Nature Conservancy. Between 2005 and 2013, the couple contributed $31.6 million to the University of Pennsylvania for studies in energy research and the life sciences.
Vagelos is married to the former Diana Touliatos. They live in New Jersey and have four children and several grandchildren.
As The National Herald reported in May 2016, upon the Vageloses’ generous bequests to the University of Pennsylvania, Barnard College, and Columbia University, their philosophy is simple: “giving back.”
18. DEMOULAS FAMILY
$1.25 BILLION (Affluence IQ)
The Demoulas family, one of America’s richest families, is difficult to gauge, both in terms of net worth and current status of control of their lucrative Market Basket Supermarket chain. Nonetheless, the family’s history and contributions is notable. Their supermarket empire began in 1917, when Greek immigrants Athanasios (Arthur) and Efrosine Demoulas opened a small market selling fresh lamb in Lowell, MA. In 1950, the original store model was revamped and premiered as the DeMoulas Superette. Arthur turned the business over to his two sons, George and Telemachus (Mike) in 1954. The following year, the Superette was tripled in size and became DeMoulas Super Market. Over the next 17 years, the two brothers converted the lamb shop into a successful grocery store chain of 15 stores. The brothers each signed a will naming the other as executor of his estate, and reportedly agreed to divide the business equally between their two families in the event of one of their deaths. Both brothers had four children, and both named a son Arthur, after their father. From their youth, both cousins (George’s son Arthur S. Demoulas and Mike’s son Arthur T. Demoulas) followed their fathers in the family business.
In 1971, George, then 51, died unexpectedly while vacationing in Greece with his family. Mike continued to expand the chain and began opening stores under different names, including Market Basket. Tensions began brewing between the two families and erupted in the 1990s, when it came to light that Mike had been secretly shifting his brother’s half of the company assets into his own name after George’s death. Two decades of lawsuits followed, Mike and his family on one side and George’s heirs on the other. The feud was settled in December 2014, when Arthur T., who ran the business after his father’s death in 2003, finalized a buyout of Arthur S., and the rest of George’s heirs for $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.
Despite those difficulties, the business has flourished. Over the past decade it added approximately 30 new stores and a new perishable/produce distribution center, and doubled sales. Today, the Tewskbury-based DeMoulas Market Basket, Inc. owns 75 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, employs 27,000 people and earns more than $4 billion in annual sales.
In October 2014, National Labor Secretary Thomas Perez spoke at the National Press Club of Demoulas that he “maintained a family-friendly work environment, paid his workers well, and contributed generously to their retirement.”
According to the Lowell Sun, two foundations – the Telemachus and Irene Demoulas Family Foundation with $61 million in assets and the Demoulas Foundation with $30 million in assets – have donated millions to Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, schools, camps, hospitals, the Boston Ballet, and the Boston Museum of Science, Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, Mass., Bentley University and Boston College. The greatest beneficiary, however, is the Lowell Plan, an economic-development organization for the city, which has received well over $10 million in the last decade.
Market Basket celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
19. KOSTA & TOM KARTSOTIS
$1.02 BILLION (TNHE)
WATCHES, LEATHER ACCESSORIES
Kosta Kartsotis, 63, and Tom Kartsotis, 56, are founders of the Fossil Group, Inc., whose brand is widely associated with watches, jewelry, and other accessories, as well as clothing.
Kosta serves as chairman and CEO; Tom still owns a small stake, but in 2003 founded Bedrock Manufacturing, a Texas-based private equity and brand management firm. Based in Richardson, Texas, Fossil is valued at $4.35 billion and is on Forbes’ Global 2000, a list of the world’s biggest public companies. With 400 retail locations and more than 14,000 employees, the company sells its products in 120 countries around the world.
Last year, Fossil announced a 10-year licensing agreement with the designer brand Kate Spade New York, in which Fossil will assume the design, development and distribution of Kate Spade’s watch business. The first collection of watches under the agreement is planned for a 2016 launch and will be available in Kate Spade New York stores and in retail stores around the world.
In 2013, Tom Kartsotis’ Bedrock and Swiss movement maker Ronda embarked on a joint venture to create Shinola, a Detroit-made watch collection. Its Gomelsky model, a 36-mm cushion-shaped, coin-edge ladies’ quartz watch priced at $400 to $600, landed on Forbes’ list of “20 Watches that Impressed in 2013.” Today at its downtown Detroit factory, Shinola produces bicycles, leather goods, and shoe polish along with hand-assembled watches, and projects $80 million in gross sales for its first 18 months of production. Bedrock also purchased the Seattle-based C.C. Filson, an outdoor apparel and accessories manufacturer, in 2012.
As the biggest individual owner of Fossil shares, Kartsotis has holdings in the company worth $495 million. Kosta Kartsotis, in declining compensation, has been featured among Bloomberg’s list of lowest-paid CEOs whose companies have the best-performing stocks.
Founded in 1984, Fossil is a designer and manufacturer of the aforementioned merchandise, and also sunglasses and wallets. Its brands include Fossil, Relic, Abacus, Michele Watch and Zodiac. Fossil watches are common in middle-income retail stores, as well as at most department stores. Fossil also branched into the sale of leather goods and other accessories in the 1990s. The company designs, manufactures and distributes with Burberry, DKNY, Emporio Armani, Columbia Sportswear, Diesel, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Adidas. Fossil also produces collectibles, some of which are based on popular films or pop culture characters. It made news in 2011 by acquiring competitor Skagen Designs.
Priding himself a creator of American jobs, Kartsotis was featured in Business of Fashion in 2016 for doing just that. BOF also mentioned that one of his employees asked then-Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders what they planned to do to bring jobs back to the United States.
20. TED J. LEONSIS
$1 BILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)
INTERNET, VENTURE CAPITAL, PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
Ted J. Leonsis, 60, has been the toast of our nation’s capital’s sports world and isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon. He is the founder, chairman, CEO and majority owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the professional sports teams Washington Capitals (National Hockey League), Washington Wizards (National Basketball League), Washington Mystics (Women’s National Basketball League) and Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC. The partnership also operates Kettler Capitals Iceplex (the Washington Capitals’ training facility and front office headquarters) and the George Mason University Patriot Center. He formed Monumental Sports in June 2010 by merging his Lincoln Holdings LLC and Washington Sports & Entertainment Limited Partnership.
After surviving an airplane crash landing in 1983, he resolved to “rethink my priorities and how I planned to lead my life going forward,” he explained. He drafted a list of 101 goals to accomplish. To date he has completed 82 of the tasks, including owning a sports franchise, playing one-on-one basketball with Michael Jordan, and starting a family charity foundation. (See the complete list at tedstake.com.) In 2010, he published The Business of Happiness: 6 Secrets to Extraordinary Success in Life and Work.
Few people have roots as deep in the computer industry, or as much knowledge and experience of its history and potential. A pioneer of the Internet and new media, Leonsis participated in launches of the Apple MacIntosh, the IBM PC and the Wang office automation. He has led four businesses that have grown at record rates: he built Wang WP (the first word processor) from a $200 million to a $1 billion company with the largest female management team in the country. He was founder and CEO of Redgate Communications Corporation, considered the first new media marketing company. He built AOL into the first $1 billion interactive services company and the world’s biggest media company, helping to increase its membership from fewer than 800,000 to more than 8 million in a four-year span (1994-97). He retired from AOL in 2006 and currently serves as vice chairman emeritus.
The grandson of Greek immigrants, Leonsis was born to a family of modest means in Brooklyn, and spent his early years there. His family later moved back to his mother’s hometown of Lowell, MA. He graduated from Lowell High School in 1973 and attended Georgetown University. After graduating in 1977, he moved back to his parents’ home in Lowell and began working for Wang Laboratories. In 1980, Leonsis started his own company, which grew quickly, and sold it to International Thompson for $60 million in 1981. He then started Redgate, which he sold to AOL in 1993, commencing his relationship with the once-pervasive online juggernaut. He completed his tenure as AOL’s president and vice chairman before stepping down in 2006.
In 2015 he became Board Chairman of the District of Columbia College Access Program (DC CAP), a private non-profit organization that encourages and enables public high school students to enroll in and graduate from college.
Leonsis is a co-founder and partner at Revolution Growth Fund, chairman of the Groupon board of directors, and founder/chairman of SnagFilms, a website that streams thousands of movies and TV episodes free. He has produced award-winning documentaries including “Nanking,” which told the story of the 1937 invasion of Nanking, China by the Japanese army. It premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and won a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award in 2009.
Leonsis and his wife, Lynn, live in Maryland. They have a son, Zachary, and a daughter, Elle.
Leonsis made news in November, 2016 by speculating that he might move the Capitals and the Wizards to a new arena in the DC-area, the location not yet disclosed. Part of the motivation is to positively transform another neighborhood, he told the Washington Post.
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