Meet the Greeks, Greek-Americans in Forbes 2019 World’s Billionaires List

Jim Davis, the owner of New Balance. (AP Photo)

Forbes has counted 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, almost two dozens Greek-Americans, Greeks and Cypriots are included in Forbes’ 2019 list.

(Read TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans 2018 List)

Greek-Russian entrepreneur Ivan Savvidis and Regeneron’s Dr. George D. Yancopoulos are the newcomers of Greek descent in Forbes list.

#311 Jim Davis & family

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$5.7B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$5.6B

Jim Davis bought a small Boston shoemaker in 1972 and turned it into New Balance, which reaped $4 billion in 2017 sales. Davis and his family own an estimated 95% of the company, which is private. New Balance produces clothing and equipment for lacrosse and soccer but is known for its running shoes. In 2015 New Balance moved into a $500 million development in Boston that also houses practice arenas for the Boston Bruins and the Celtics. Davis is the chairman of New Balance, and his wife Anna, who joined the company in 1977, is the vice chairman.

#504 Tom Gores

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$4.1B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$4B

Tom Gores oversees more than 25 companies with some $13 billion in assets through his Los Angeles-based private equity firm, Platinum Equity. The Gores family moved from Israel to Michigan when Tom was four. In his youth, he stocked shelves at his father’s small grocery store in Flint. His brother, Alec, is also a private equity billionaire. Tom and Alec spent their 20s learning the buyout business together before splitting in 1995. In 2011 Gores and Platinum Equity bought the NBA Detroit Pistons. In August 2015 he purchased Platinum’s stake, giving him 100% of the team’s equity In March 2016, his nonprofit, FlintNow, launched a $25-million economic development program that included small business loans to support the city.

(Photo by TNH/Kostas Bej, file)

#715 John Catsimatidis

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$3.1B

as of 3/7/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$3.1B

John Catsimatidis is best known as the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes. He also owns oil refinery United Refining in Pennsylvania, which he bought out of bankruptcy, and real estate in New York and beyond. He moved with his family from Greece to New York when he was an infant and grew up in an apartment in Harlem. He worked as a grocery clerk while attending New York University but dropped out for a chance to own a piece of the shop where he worked. He opened his own grocery store in 1969 and had 10 Red Apple stores by age 25.

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Tatiana Bollari)

#804 Philip Niarchos

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.8B

as of 3/7/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.8B

Philip Niarchos, the oldest son of the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, inherited much of his father’s art collection. The collection was purchased in 1957 for $3 million from actor Edward G. Robinson and includes some of the world’s most recognizable pieces. It is said to be the largest private collection of Van Gogh’s work, notably his ear-less self portrait, and includes Picasso’s iconic “Yo, Picasso.” Since inheriting the collection, Philip has added post-war and contemporary works, including pieces by Andy Warhol and Maurizio Cattelan.

#838 Spiro Latsis & family

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.9B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.7B

Spiro Latsis has been managing the family fortune since his father, Greek shipping tycoon John S. Latsis, passed away in 2003. The family still has a foot in the shipping business through Latsco Shipping, though they’re now also invested in banking, real estate and oil. The Latsis family owns stakes in oil company Hellenic Petroleum and Lamda Development, a publicly traded real estate developer in southeastern Europe. They also have a stake in EFG International, a Zurich-based private banking group of which Latsis is a board director. Latsis is a three-time graduate of the London School of Economics and a board trustee of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study.

#916 George Argyros & family

Chairman and CEO, Arnel & Affiliates

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.5B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.5B

The grandson of Greek immigrants, Argyros worked his way through high school and college in southern California as a paperboy and grocery clerk Argyros, a real estate mogul, founded property firm Arnel & Affiliates in southern California in 1968 and currently serves as the CEO. The company owns 5,500 apartments in Orange County, Calif. and nearly 2 million square feet of commercial real estate in southern California. In January 2018, the Argyros family foundation pledged $7.5 million to renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans.

#916 John Paul DeJoria

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.6B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.5B

John Paul DeJoria is the founder of tequila maker Patrón Spirits Co. and cofounder of hair care company John Paul Mitchell Systems. He slept in his car and sold shampoo door-to-door before he teamed up with Paul Mitchell in 1980 and turned $700 into John Paul Mitchell Systems. In 1989 DeJoria and partner Martin Crowley acquired a stake in boutique tequila maker Patrón and have grown it to sales of more than $800 million. DeJoria also has interests in a range of industries, including life sciences and telecom.

#916 Maritsa Lazari & family

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.5B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.5B

Maritsa Lazari is the widow of late billionaire Christos Lazari, who died in 2015, a few months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. The couple, who met in London, married in 1965. Christos eventually created a successful fashion line called Drendie Girl. The couple used the profits from that business to buy up property. Today real estate company Lazari Investments owns 2.82 million square feet across London, mostly office space that it rents out.

#962 C. Dean Metropoulos

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.5B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.4B

Dean Metropoulos is best known for saving the iconic Twinkies and Hostess Brands. Metropoulos and private equity firm Apollo bought the shuttered company in 2013 and later took it public. Through his Metropoulos & Co, he’s also turned around and sold Chef Boyardee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Bumble Bee Tuna and others. The Greek-born entrepreneur is a trustee of the National Hellenic Museum located in Chicago.

#1057 Alec Gores

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.1B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.2B

Alec Gores founded private equity firm The Gores Group in 1987, which has acquired 110 companies and has $2 billion in assets as of June 2017. Gores and his younger brother Tom, also a billionaire, immigrated to America from Israel with their parents and four other siblings in 1968. The brothers worked together at the beginning of their careers but went their separate ways in 1995 and have occasionally competed for buyout deals. Gores founded tech firm Executive Business Systems in 1978 and used the proceeds from selling that company to launch his private equity career. In July 2016 he bought a piece of Hostess Brands, maker of Twinkies, and became Dean Metropoulos’ partner. Hostess went public three months later.

#1116 Aristotelis Mistakidis

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$2.1B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$2.1B

Aristotelis Mistakidis, known as “Telis,” stepped down from his role as the director of Glencore’s copper business at the end of 2018. In 2018, Canadian regulators fined and banned Mistakidis from serving as a director due to compliance violations. Mistakidis got his start in commodities at Cargill and joined Marc Rich & Co. in 1993. Later, the firm was bought by management and renamed Glencore. He first became a billionaire in 2011 when Glencore went public, and currently owns more than 3% of the company’s stock.

Honorary Admiral, Mr. Vardis Vardinoyannis. (Photo by Eurokinissi, file)

#1349 Vardis Vardinoyannis & family

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.7B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.7B

Vardis J. Vardinoyannis co-founded Motor Oil Hellas, a petroleum company based in Greece, with his late brother in 1970. It went public on the Athens stock exchange in August 2001. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco was a major investor before divesting in 2005. Vardis’s oldest son, John, is vice chairman while nephew, Nikos, also a major shareholder, is on the board. Apart from Motor Oil, the family also invests in shipping, finance and soccer teams.

Ivan Savvidis. (Photo: by Eurokinissi/Christos Doudoumis)

#1511 Ivan Savvidis

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.5B

Ivan Savvidis, a Greek-Russian businessman, is the founder of Agrokom Group, whose assets include Russian tobacco firm Donskoy Tabak. In 1980 he got a job at the Don State Tobacco Factory (now Donskoy Tabak) and was elected general director in 1993. In 2003 he was elected a deputy of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian Legislation, as a member of United Russia, a pro-Putin party. In 2004 Savvidis founded Agrokom Group; it also owns meat processing and packing plants, greenhouse facilities and a sparkling water factory. In 2012 his Greek company Dimera purchased 51% of soccer team FC PAOK in Thessaloniki, Greece.

#1605 George Marcus

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.5B

as of 3/8/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.4B

San Francisco Bay Area real estate broker George Marcus has been in the business for over 40 years. Most of his fortune lies in a 54% stake in Marcus & Millichap, the publicly-traded real estate brokerage he founded in 1971. Marcus & Millichap specializes in commercial real estate in the U.S. and Canada, closing nearly 9,000 transactions valued at $42.3 billion in 2016. Marcus also controls a 2.4% stake in Essex Property Trust, a REIT he founded that owns 59,000 apartments along the West Coast. Marcus also has a stake in several private real-estate and investment companies, including SummerHill Housing Group and Pacific Urban Residential.

Dr. George Yancopoulos. (Photo by TNH/Kostas Bej, file)

#1818 George Yancopoulos

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.2B

George Yancopoulos is the chief scientific officer of biotech firm Regeneron. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and became a professor of biology by age 28. Regeneron was cofounded by now-billionaire Leonard Schleifer in 1988. Yancopoulos joined the next year. Yancopoulos led the invention of seven approved drugs and a technology platform designed to invent more.

FILE – Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

#1941 Theodore Leonsis

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.1B

as of 3/8/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.1B

Theodore ‘Ted’ Leonsis is founder, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports, which owns several teams and arenas in Washington, D.C. Subsidiaries include the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, two Arena Football teams and Capital One Arena. The grandson of Greek immigrants, Leonsis initially built his fortune as a senior executive at AOL, where he worked for nearly 14 years. He is a cofounder and partner at Revolution Growth, a venture capital firm helmed by AOL cofounder Steve Case. In 2017 Laurene Powell Jobs reportedly bought 20% of Monumental Sports for hundreds of millions of dollars, making her the second largest shareholder.

#2124 Filaret Galchev

2018 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1B

Filaret Galchev got his start in coal, but made the bulk of his fortune in cement, buying plants from Stern Cement and from Inteko. His Eurocement Group is now Russia’s largest cement producer. In February 2016, Galchev lost his 6.2% stake in the world’s largest cement producer, LafargeHolcim, as a result of margin call. The companies of Eurocement Group have a combined production capacity of more than 60 million tons of cement and more than 11 million m3 of concrete. Galchev is also a citizen of Greece.

The Cypriot Billionaires

#129 John Fredriksen

Investor

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$11B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$10.8B

Fredriksen’s empire includes oil tankers, dry bulkers, LNG carriers and deepwater drilling rigs. In 1960s in Beirut, he got into oil trading; in the 70s he bought his first tankers; in the 80s he ran crude for Iran and had tankers hit by missiles. His offshore drilling rig firm Seadrill emerged from bakruptcy in 2018, with Fredriksen helping to raise about $1 billion in new debt and equity. His biggest holding is Marine Harvest, now named Mowi, which has rolled up competitors to become the biggest fish farmer in the world. In January 2019, Fredriksen invested $350 million in Norwegian Air after the airline failed to find a buyer.

#568 Yakir Gabay

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$3.6B

as of 3/8/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$3.7B

Yakir Gabay owns 31% of Frankfurt-listed German real estate company Aroundtown SA, where he serves as deputy chairman of the advisory board. Aroundtown has a $15 billion-plus portfolio of commercial real estate in Europe. In the U.S., Gabay invests in residential property developments. Originally from Israel, Gabay previously served as CEO of the underwriting arm of Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s largest banks.

#1281 Suat Gunsel

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.8B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.8B

Suat Gunsel owns the largest education facility in Northern Cyprus, Near East University, which serves around 20,000 students. The campus, in the capitol city of Nicosia (a.k.a. Lefkosia), occupies a prime piece of his real estate portfolio, which includes holdings in Turkey. The university has spun out an electric vehicle venture. The Gunsel, which can go 217 miles on a full battery, will debut in 2019. In 2013, Gunsel opened a second university in Girne (University of Kyrenia), on the north coast of Cyprus, focusing on naval and aviation education. Gunsel also operates in banking, health, tourism, real estate development and liquid fuel distribution.

#1717 Stelios Haji-Ioannou

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.2B

as of 3/8/19

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.3B

The son of a Greek Cypriot shipping magnate, Stelios Haji-Ioannou gets the bulk of his fortune from his stake in budget airline easyJet. Stelios founded easyJet in 1995 after leaving his father’s company; his siblings Clelia and Polys both have large stakes in the airline. Stelios maintains ownership of the Easy brand through his private company, easyGroup. Through his easyGroup, Stelios has licensed the easy brand name to such businesses as easyHotel, easyCar and easyCoffee. In 2018, he filed a trademark claim against Netflix over their show “Easy” in a UK court.

#1818 Clelia Haji-Ioannou

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.2B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.2B

Clelia Haji-Ioannou is the daughter of Loucas Haji-Ioannou, the late Greek Cypriot shipping magnate. She is a billionaire thanks to her stake in discount airline easyJet, founded by her brother Stelios. Clelia owns approximately $80 million in real estate across Europe, including properties in Monaco and Greece. She also claims to have a gallery outside of Athens featuring artwork by Picasso, Warhol and Dali.

#1941 Polys Haji-Ioannou

REAL TIME NET WORTH

$1.1B

2019 BILLIONAIRES NET WORTH

$1.1B

Polys is the son of Cypriot shipping magnate Loucas Haji-Ioannou, who at one point owned the largest private tanker fleet in the world. Most of his wealth derives from a large stake in easyJet, the discount airline founded by his younger brother, Stelios. Polys continues the family’s shipping legacy with his own 18-tanker fleet. He has also invested heavily in both commercial and residential real estate, particularly in Cyprus, Greece and Norway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available