NEW YORK – On May 18, the Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA) held its 35th Anniversary Executive of the Year Award Dinner honoring finance executive and philanthropist Alexander Navab.
The well-attended event drew professionals from all fields of finance, including nine past HABA presidents, as well as members of the community. Demetri Papacostas served as Master of Ceremonies while Fanny Trataros HABA President gave the welcoming remarks.
She thanked all the members present, especially the Board of Directors whose leadership has led to success and growth this year, and administrator Ariana Franciscovic for her efforts. Trataros noted that the organization’s diverse members exemplify the best of the Hellenic-American community.
She quoted an African proverb, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to go far walk together,” to highlight the importance of working together to make HABA’s next 35 years even more successful.
Fr. Alexander Karloutsos then gave the invocation and George P. Stamas, Senior Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLC introduced the honoree, noting Navab’s extraordinary background, strong family values, and dedication to philanthropy.
Alexander Navab joined KKR in 1993. He is the Head of KKR’s Americas Private Equity business. Navab serves as the Chair of the Americas Private Equity Investment Committee, and also as the Chair of the Americas Portfolio Management Committee, as well as serving on KKR’s Special Situations Investment Committee. Prior to joining KKR, Navab was with James D. Wolfensohn Incorporated where he was involved in mergers and acquisitions as well as corporate finance advisory work. From 1987 to 1989, he was with Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he worked in the Investment Banking Department. He received a BA with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from Columbia College, and an MBA with High Distinction, Baker Scholar, Wolfe Award, from Harvard Business School.
In 2011, Navab received the John Jay Award for distinguished professional achievement from Columbia College. In 2016, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Navab is actively involved in philanthropic, educational, community, and national organizations, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at New York-Presbyterian Hospital; a member of the Board of Directors at The Robin Hood Foundation; a member of the Board of Visitors at Columbia College; Co-Chair of the National Council of American Enterprise Institute (AEI); a member of the Board of Trustees at The Buckley School in New York; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School; Co-Chair of the National Advisory Board at Youth I.N.C. (Improving Non-Profits for Children); and on the Executive Committee at The Hellenic Initiative- a non-profit organization supporting economic renewal in Greece through philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and economic investment.
Navab spoke about his unique background as a Hellenic-Iranian-American whose parents met in New York, moved to Iran, where the family lived for 14 years, then left due to the Islamic Revolution, moving to Greece for two years before moving to the United States. Navab’s Greek mother, Tina was present at the event, along with his wife Mary Kathryn and daughter Arabella. His father, he mentioned, could not attend because he was in the hospital, but was doing fine and the family was going to visit him after the dinner.
After recounting the dramatic events of his young life, Navab said that for someone who witnessed such dislocation, immigration is one of the greatest things about the US. He said, “You can come with a dream and still fulfill that dream,” noting how his family arrived with nothing and though his father was a doctor, the family had to start all over again. His parents instilled values in him and his three siblings, to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities this country offers. The importance of education was also central to their upbringing. Navab gave his advice for success in life. Rely on faith, value family, cultivate long-term friendships, embrace change, and give back to those in need, he said.
Michael Psaros, Co-founder and Managing Partner of KPS Capital Partners, LP, and HABA Executive of the Year in 2014, presented the award to Navab, after he asked Navab’s mother to stand and receive a round of applause. Psaros noted that the values and value system Navab’s parents instilled in him are the values he carries to the office every day.
Senator Gianaris and Nassau County DA Singas presented a proclamation in honor of Navab as well. HABA’s Vice President Robert Savage gave the closing remarks.
Among those in attendance were Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras and his wife Popita, Consul of Greece Manos Koubarakis, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Nicholas Melissinos from Governor Cuomo’s office, Dr. George Liakeas- President of the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, Atlantic Bank President and Chairman of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce Nancy Papaioannou, Capital Link founder, President and CEO Nicolas Bornozis, and the HABA Board of Directors including Papacostas, Emmanuel Caravanos, James P. Gerkis, Costas Kellas, and Nick Lionas. John Giapoutzis, George Zapantis, and former HABA President Peter A. Dedousis also attended.