6 Greek-Am. Billionaires on Forbes List

Forbes magazines annual list of the 400 richest people in the United States finds six Greek-Americans with hair products and tequila maker John Paul DeJoria the highest with $4 billion, in 110th place. Microsoft owner Bill Gates remained number one overall for the 20th consecutive year and at $72 billion regained the top spot as the worlds riches

Forbes magazines annual list of the 400 richest people in the United States finds six Greek-Americans with hair products and tequila maker John Paul DeJoria the highest with $4 billion, in 110th place. Microsoft owner Bill Gates remained number one overall for the 20th consecutive year and at $72 billion regained the top spot as the worlds richest man as well over Mexican telecommunications company owner Carlos Slim.
Second in the United States is Nebraska investment guru Warren Buffet, with $58.5 billion.
DeJoria, known for his Paul Mitchell line of hair products and Patron tequila brands, did not finish college, but he is one of the richest people in America.
He was followed by New York businessman John Catsimatidis, whose bid for the GOP nomination for Mayor just fell short. His fortune is estimated at $3.1 billion, placing him at 161 overall, tied with Jim Davis, owner of the New Balance shoe company. George Argyros, a California real estate magnate and former owner of the Seattle Mariners baseball team was 260th at $2.1 billion. Michael Jaharis of Chicago, founder of Kos Pharmaceuticals, was 273rd at $2 billion, while Connecticut businessman C. Dean Metropoulos, owner of Pabst Brewery among other ventures was 386th with $1.3 billion. (Technically, DeJoria, Jaharis, and Metropoulos were also tied at their respective rankings of 110th, 273rd, and 386th, with other billionaires [non-Greek]; Argyros is the sole occupier of his slot.)
The community lost another billionaire on the list with the death this July of Texas oilman George Mitchell, who had been 236th.
The six Greek-Americans all shared the same penchant for hard work and a drive to succeed which marks the community. They parlayed intelligence and vision into making a fortune, along with smart business decisions.{67515}

DeJoria was born the second son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother on April 13, 1944 in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. His parents divorced by the time he was two years old, and at nine he began selling Christmas cards and newspapers with his older brother to support his family.
As a youth, DeJoria was a member of a street gang, but decided to change his life after being told by his high school math teacher that he would never succeed at anything in life.
He graduated high school in 1962 and spent two years in the United States Navy, after which he held a series of jobs ranging from a janitor to an insurance salesman.
DeJoria entered the world of hair care as an employee of Redken Laboratories. He was fired from this position, he claims over a disagreement on business strategies. In 1980, he formed John Paul Mitchell Systems with hairdresser Paul Mitchell and a loan for $700.
THE CATMAN COMETH
Catsimatidis, 65, was born on the island of Nisyros and came to the United States with his parents when he was only six months old.
The family moved to West Harlem, where Catsimatidis grew up. Catsimatidis father had been a lighthouse operator in Greece but worked as a busboy in New York. Catsimatidis graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1966 and studied electrical engineering at New York University but left just short of graduation.
While in college, Catsimatidis worked for the uncle of a friend in a small supermarket on 137th Street before buying half a share.
In 1971, Catsimatidis was able to open his first store of his own and then bought another, naming it Red Apple. Among his business innovations were staying open late seven days a week, offering free delivery, and cashing checks for customers.
Catsimatidis has stated that by the time he was 24 years old, I built up ten stores and the business was doing $25 million a year, and I was personally earning a million dollars a year.
By summer of 1981, Red Apple had 27 stores in the Bronx and Manhattan and annual sales of around $40 million. These grew to $110 million in sales in 1985. In 1986, Red Apple purchased 36 Gristede Brothers supermarkets and 11 affiliated Charles * Co. specialty-food stores from the Southland Corporation.
A GOOD SENSE OF BALANCE
Davis, 70, is the son of Greek immigrants. He attended the Worcester Academy, and he received a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Middlebury College in 1966. While in college, he played college football.
He started his career as a sales engineer at the LFE Corporation in Waltham, MA and as marketing manager for the Applied Geodata Systems Division of Techven Associates of Cambridge, MA. In 1972, he bought New Balance, then only a 6-employee firm in Boston, and turned it into a 4,000-employee global corporation with revenues topping $1.6 billion.
MR. AMBASSADOR
Argyros was formerly U.S. Ambassador to Spain and has made his fortune in real estate investments. He originally started his business career running a grocery store and moved on to buying and selling real estate to gas stations. He also was involved in buying and selling property in Southern California.
He was born in Detroit, MI and raised in Pasadena, CA. Argyros is a second-generation American citizen; his grandparents emigrated from Greece. Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in Business and Economics.
He is the Chairman and CEO of the board of trustees of California Institute of Technology, and also a board-member for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
BORN PHILANTHROPIST
Jaharis graduated from Carroll University and earned a JD from DePaul University College of Law. He has worked for Miles Laboratories and was President and CEO of Key Pharmaceuticals from 1972 until its merger with the Schering-Plough Corporation in 1986.
In 1988, he founded Kos Pharmaceutical and he created the cholesterol-battling drug Niaspan, which he sold to Abbott Labs in 2006 for $4.2 billion.
He has made charitable contributions to the DePaul Law, Columbia University Medical Center, the Weill Cornell Medical College, the Tufts University School of Medicine, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Opera.
He is the founder of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. He also serves as Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University and Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the School of Medicine of Tufts University; member of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Visitors.
HIPSTER FAVORITE
Perhaps he didnt know it, but when Metropoulos, 66, acquired Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for $250 million, it had become a cult favorite driven by hipsters in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Long before that, Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, scorning Heineken, shouted, “Pabst Blue Ribbon!”
His company also acquired Twinkies after its parent company went out of business, and Metropoulos is known as a savvy entrepreneur with a keen eye for value. He has specialized in purchasing struggling brands, such as Chef Boyardee and Bumble Bee Tuna and turning them around.