Imagination, skill, knowledge, persistence, and timing – the people who populate our 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans annual list enjoy all of these gifts, in greater or fewer amounts.
This special issue, brought to you each year by TNH, offers a look at those in our community who have reached the pinnacle in their fields and profited immensely – often bringing profit to those around them as well.
Most of our top names have been at the top of rankings such as those at Forbes magazine for many years. But as we continue to follow their trajectories, we always find some new achievement. Some have seen their fortunes skyrocket, while others have sustained losses.
Most importantly, we highlight those successful businessmen and women who have made the best use of their wealth by freely sharing it with those who truly need a helping hand.
In particular, we celebrate those on our list who in 2012 helped establish and fund The Hellenic Initiative, the non-profit organization committed to “relief, recovery and renewal” in Greece, which continues to endure a crushing economic crisis. They include Andrew Liveris, George Logothetis, George Sakellaris, John Catsimatidis, Arianna Huffington, Ted Leonsis, George Marcus, James Chanos, and John Pappajohn.
(Note that the numbers listed are not always drawn from the individuals themselves, but estimated figures, mostly drawn from public sources. We use the same ranking method as Forbes: rather than listing them 1 through 50, we rank them according to their estimated wealth. That is why, for example, you will find that the three people on our list each worth $350 million, are all ranked 24th.)
Vasilios and Aphrodite Haseotes emigrated from Greece’s Macedonia and Epirus regions to the U.S., buying a one-cow dairy farm in Cumberland, R.I. for $84 in 1938. Cumberland Farms (incorporated in 1957) eventually grew to become the largest dairy farm operation in Massachusetts. In 1956, the company opened a jug-milk store in Bellingham, Mass. Few convenience food stores offering dawn-to- midnight service every day of the week existed in the North in the 1950’s.
But by 1967, there were some 8,000. With some 400 stores, Cumberland Farms was among the industry leaders. By the early 1990’s, 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 and Chief Executive Officer. Her nephew, Ari Haseotes, is the President and Group Chief Operating Officer.
Company headquarters are in Framingham, Mass. Cumberland Farms owns and operates convenience stores and gas stations throughout New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic States and Florida under the Cumberland Farms, Gulf and Mobil names. Its Gulf Oil arm sells gasoline to franchised service stations. 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.
Today, the Company owns and operates approximately 600 retail convenience stores with gasoline throughout the Northeast and Florida, supplies 2500 Gulf branded gasoline stations and has approximately 7000 employees. Forbes ranked Cumberland Farms the 18th largest privately held company in the U.S. in 2012, with annual sales of over $15 billion.
Cumberland Farms donates millions in cash and products to benefit young people, through its Believe and Achieve Scholarship program, to hunger relief efforts and to support the communities in which we operate. Ari Haseotes and his wife Ashley also founded the One Mission (www.onemission.org) childhood cancer foundation.
2. JOHN A. CATSIMATIDIS
NET WORTH: $3 BILLION
OIL, REAL ESTATE, SUPERMARKETS
Ranked 551ST among the world’s 1,600-plus billionaires and 190th among America’s 492 according to Forbes, John Catsimatidis, 65, ran a self-funded campaign for the New York City Republican nomination for mayor in 2013. With 41 percent of the primary vote, Catsimatidis lost the nomination to Joe Lhota, who was then trounced in the November general election by Democrat Bill de Blasio. Catsimatides’ pro-business agenda included bringing the World’s Fair back to New York City, freezing city taxes, and cutting the high school dropout rate by increasing vocational training.
Catsimatidis is chairman & CEO of the Red Apple Group, ranked 98th by Forbes among the country’s largest privately held companies with 8,000 employees and estimated annual revenues of $4.2 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.
His parents came to America with him from the island of Nisyros while he was a child. He grew up in New York City on Manhattan’s west side. He attended New York University, but dropped out 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, primarily in western Pennsylvania and Western New York.
Today, Red Apple Group is a diverse holding company that derives revenue from real estate, oil refining and other petroleum products. It reportedly owns $500 million worth of property and the Gristedes supermarket chain. His most recent projects include several residential development projects in Brooklyn, and investing in health-related companies.
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 also the publisher of the Hellenic Times.
He is married and the father of two children. 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 21st Anniversary last 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.” He was among the leading Greek-Americans actively involved in Republican fundraising for the 2012 presidential race.
2. JOHN PAUL DeJORIA
NET WORTH: $3 BILLION
HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SPIRITS
Born the son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother who divorced by the time he was 2, DeJoria, 70, has known poverty repeatedly: first during his childhood being raised by a single mother in Los Angeles, and two periods of homelessness as an adult. Today, Forbes counts him 551st among the World’s Billionaires, and one of America’s Richest Living Veterans. His John Paul Mitchell hair products and Patron Spirits are each worth at least $1 billion. Paul Mitchell products are available in more than 100,000 salons in the U.S.
Most recently, he has made a splash appearing as a guest judge on ABC’s television pitch show “Shark Tank” in November 2013.
His first job, at 9 years old, 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 2-year-old son. Eventually, he took his talents to several hair care and cosmetic companies before becoming an independent consultant. In 1980, he 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 his partner Paul Mitchell died, DeJoria found another partner and launched Patron, a premium tequila, something unheard-of at that time. His friend Clint Eastwood put 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 sells the world’s ultra-premium tequila, with more than 2 million cases sold in 2011, as well as rum and vodka.
DeJoria has been quoted saying the key to success it 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.
He 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. John Paul 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, Texas. He has four children.
www.paulmitchell.com, www.cnn.com, www.entrepreneur.com
3. GEORGE L. ARGYROS
NET WORTH: $2.4 BILLION
REAL ESTATE, INVESTMENTS
Ranked 731st among the world’s billionaires and 258th in the U.S. according to Forbes, George Argyros, 77, made his fortune in grocery stores and real estate.
He earned his bachelor’s degree at Chapman University. A second-generation American of Greek descent, he was born in Detroit, Mich. and raised in Pasadena, Ca. He 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. Argyros founded the private equity firm Westar Capital in 1987. He is a board member and the leading investor, with a reported 20 percent, in software development firm DST Systems (NYSE:DST) whose market capitalization is about $2.15 billion.
Former President George W. Bush appointed him U.S. ambassador to Spain in 2001, after leading GOP fundraising efforts in California in 2000. He hosted a $25,000-per-couple dinner for U.S. Senator and then-presidential hopeful John McCain (R-Arizona) at his home in 2008. Argyros also served on the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FreddieMac) under President George H.W. Bush.
Argyros resides on Harbor Island in Newport Bay, Ca. He 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. He owned baseball’s Seattle Mariners between 1980 and 1989.
In January 2012, he 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.
4. MICHAEL JAHARIS
NET WORTH: $2 BILLION
Ranked 828th among the world’s billionaires and 287th in the U.S. according to Forbes, Michael Jaharis, 85, founded Key Pharmaceuticals, Kos Pharmaceuticals & Vatera Healthcare Partners.
Jaharis, the son of Greek immigrants, is a native of Chicago; he earned his bachelor’s degree from Carroll University in Wisconsin. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during the Korean War and later attended night school at DePaul University to earn his law degree while working as a sales representative for Miles Laboratories. In 1972, Jaharis and partner Phillip Frost acquired Key Pharmaceuticals and transformed the tiny producer of cough and cold remedies into a powerhouse company with newly developed top-selling asthma and cardiovascular drugs. Under his 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. Today, Jaharis is founder and director of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held drug discovery and biotech company, and founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners LLC, a venture capital firm focusing on the healthcare industry.
Today, Vatera Healthcare Partners is 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 his venture capital firm Vatera Healthcare Partners was the largest investor, was acquired by AstraZeneca for $1.15 billion.
Proud supporters of Hellenism, Jaharis and his wife, Mary, are 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, which will serve as a premier international research center.
Jaharis also serves as Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University in Boston, Mass., 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.
Most recently, the Jaharis Family Foundation, Inc., announced a donation of $2 million to support humanitarian relief efforts in Greece. The money will support 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 the Hellenic American diaspora.
He is the Vice Chairman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Archdiocesan Council’s Executive Committee and is one of the Original Founders of Leadership 100 and FAITH: An Endowment for Hellenism and Orthodoxy.
Jaharis states, “It is particularly important to Mary and me to give back to institutions which have truly inspired us and may help open doors for young people and the community. We believe that our Hellenic culture and Orthodox faith provided the foundation for our values and identity.”
The Jaharises reside in New York. They have two children and five grandchildren.
5. PETER G. PETERSON
NET WORTH: $1.7 BILLION, INVESTMENT
Peter G. Peterson, 87, is ranked 356th among Forbes’ American Billionaires. He has moved down in this list as his donations have gone up. He 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 with $400,000; 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.
The son of Greek immigrants, Mr. 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. He served as Secretary of Commerce under President Nixon, and 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. Peterson now dedicates 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.
He’s among the U.S. billionaires who decided to take the Giving Pledge in 2010 to give much of their wealth to charity. The Giving Pledge was initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates Jr. He is also chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and founding chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
Peterson now resides in New York. He is married to Joan Ganz Cooney, founder and former chairman of Children’s Television Workshop (“Sesame Street”), and is the father of five and grandfather of nine.
6. GEORGE M. LOGOTHETIS & FAMILY
Net Worth $1.5 BILLION
George M. Logothetis, 38, is the founding Chairman and CEO of Libra Group, consisting of 30 subsidiaries with companies operating across five continents. He founded the privately owned group with his brother Constantine M. Logothetis in 2003. Today George Logothetis is based in New York, while his brother, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Group, is based in London.
The diversified group was built upon 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 and 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 U.K.-based ship owning and management group, which at the time had just two ships. In 1995, at the age of 20, he became its CEO. Under his leadership, Lomar expanded the numbers of ships they owned many times over. Then Lomar sold 67 of them 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 over 60 vessels including orders for over 20 modern, fuel-efficient Ultramax and container ships made in China. In total, Lomar has spent $1.1 billion on buying 73 ships over the past four years.
The group followed a similar patter 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 and runs close to 40 hotels on five continents.
The group’s Grace Hotels brand, which began on Greek islands, is now found world-wide. Recent additions include the celebrated five diamond/five star Mayflower Inn and Spa in Washington, Connecticut (now the Mayflower Grace), Grace Cafayate in the dramatic wine growing region of Northern Argentina, 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. Opening later this year are Grace Panama, Grace Marrakech and the While Barn Grace in Kennebunk, Maine. FSA Group, the Libra Group’s South American subsidiary recently announced a $270 million joint venture with Hyatt Hotels Corporation to build nine hotels in key cities and towns across Brazil.
The Libra Group and John Hancock Life Insurance recently concluded a deal to provide $40 million equity funding for the construction and operation of multiple solar power stations across the United States by Libra’s North American clean energy division.
In addition to solar and other clean energy interests in the USA, the group has a waste-to-energy plant in Greenbay Wisconsin. 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 travel writer/TV host Leon Logothetis’ Principal Media, which has provided TV programming since 2005. Other diversified investments include an interest in a London-based financial services company and Chios Heritage mastic tree farm investments. Libra Capital is the in house investment management company and Libra Group Services, the in-house legal and administrative and corporate support company, service to companies within the group based in the U.K.
Logothetis and his wife Nitzia (formerly Nitzia Embiricos) are based in New York City and have two sons. George and Nitzia founded Seleni Institute in 2011 with the aim of addressing women’s reproductive and maternal mental health through research of support and advocacy. Also in 2011, the group created an International Internship Program in collaboration with The American College of Greece in Athens and the U.S.-based Greek America Foundation, giving 40 young people per annum the opportunity to work at the group’s key locations around the world.
Mr. Logothetis is also a member of the Concordia Leadership Council. Concordia is a non-profit whose mission is to identify new avenues of collaboration for governments, businesses, and other non-profits by convening global leaders and developing new research products. The organization, which was co-founded and is chaired 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 2013 Summit and set the stage event by touching on the official theme: youth empowerment and entrepreneurship.
In November 2012, Libra committed 5 million euros toward funding the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award, an annual award program launched by the Hellenic Initiative founded by Andrew Liveris, who is also on this list. The award named four Greek businesses as the first recipients in its inaugural year. Winners Stella Mare, Corfu Living History Museum, Great Catering and RabT received over 500,000 euros in business start-up funding, as well as mentoring and business support from Libra Group and its subsidiaries. The group has committed over 7 million euros to this annual award program. Logothetis serves on the executive committee along with Liveris. The Hellenic Initiative’s aim is to create opportunity and employment in Greece by awarding business start-up funds of between 100,000 and 500,000 euros to budding Greek entrepreneurs.
7. C. DEAN METROPOULOS
NET WORTH: $1.3 BILLION
Dean Metropoulos, 67, 416th among Forbes American Billionaires, paid $410 million to buy part of Hostess out of bankruptcy and returned Twinkies to grocery shelves in July 2013 after a nine-month absence. In February 2014, Hostess announced a partnership with Big Lots to sell sharply discounted Hostess-brand snacks through the closeout chain. Prior to Hostess’ restructuring, it had its own discount stores.
Metropoulos s very well known in the private equity, investment banking and financial community, having spent the past two decades acquiring, restructuring and growing numerous businesses in the U.S., Mexico and Europe. Many of these were subsequently taken public or sold to strategic corporations.
Metropoulos is Chairman and CEO of Metropoulos & Co., a boutique buyout and management firm. His sons, (Evan, 33 and Daren, 30) are and have been an integral part of the turnaround of the acquired companies. The brothers purchased the historic Pabst Brewing Company in 2010. Pabst is today’s fasting growing U.S. brand.
Metropoulos & Co. focuses on the acquisition and operation of companies with consumer brand products, and has been involved in more than 76 acquisitions involving over $12 billion in invested capital since 1990. Dean Metropoulos says, “I love finding opportunities, negotiating the deals, and repositioning the companies into vibrant, growing businesses…. If we’re proud of anything, it is our commitment to integrity and the fact that we have never lost money with any of our acquisitions in which we have averaged 44 percent returns over a twenty five year period.” Although Metropoulos & Co. has participated in several industrial acquisitions including National WaterWorks acquired from French Vivendi and subsequently sold to Home Depot, it is best known as the #1 acquirer and reviver of hundreds of iconic consumer brands; a few of which include Chef Boyardee, PAM, Bumble Bee, Jiffy Pop, Gulden’s, Vlasic, Swanson, Duncan Hines, Aunt Jemima, etc. The list also includes many European brands like Mumm and Perrier Jouet champagnes and numerous U.K. brands that were part of Hillsdown Holdings, an $8 billion holding company that Metropoulos restructured and repositioned and took the food company public in 2004. Today, Premier Foods is the U.K.’s largest food company.
Other well-known businesses Metropoulos & Co. have owned, include Stella Foods, the Morningstar Group, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and Del Monte Mexico.
Born in Greece, his family moved to America when he was nine years of age. His parents, typical of many immigrants, worked hard and encouraged their children to pursue their dreams. Dean is ever mindful and very grateful for their sacrifices and commitment.
Metropoulos went to college on a scholarship, and after graduate school at Babson College and a year and a half towards his doctorate at Columbia, he went to work for the GTE Corporation, which is now Verizon. After graduate school Metropoulos joined GTE International and became its youngest senior vice president responsible for their international business in 62 countries.
Dean Metropoulos and his wife Marianne live in Greenwich, Connecticut.
8. EFSTATHIOS (STEVE) VALIOTIS
NET WORTH: $1.2 BILLION
REAL ESTATE, BANKING
Efstathios Valiotis, 67, is president and founder of the Astoria, N.Y.-based Alma Realty Corporation, one of the largest real estate firms in the New York metropolitan area. His net worth has increased by 60 percent over the past two years. In 2007 he founded Alma Bank, of which he owns 60 percent, and whose assets are now estimated at about $1 billion.
He was born in Vordonia, Greece, near Sparta, and immigrated to the United States in 1972. He worked in the food industry and, within two years, purchased a newsstand and a food mart followed by a pizzeria. His next venture was establishing a custom-made furniture business, Knossos Inc., in Astoria in 1976. Within two years, the business expanded to include two retail display stores on Manhattan’s Park Avenue and Sixth Avenue and a furniture-manufacturing factory in Queens. Valiotis owned and actively managed Knossos until 1994.
In 1978 he began his highly successful career investing in real estate. Since then, Valiotis’ expertise in acquisition and development has included the purchase, sale, construction and management of both residential and commercial properties. In 1983, Valiotis founded his own firm, known as Alma Realty Corporation. Alma serves as the vessel through which Valiotis develops, builds, manages and acquires real estate. He has built a diverse portfolio over the last three decades including multi-family residential buildings, commercial buildings, ground-up construction of residential and commercial buildings and a retail shopping center. Alma Realty also owns and manages over 15,000 apartments of market and affordable housing properties in New York and New Jersey as well as over 5 million square feet of commercial property. He is committed to investing and improving communities by providing safe and well-maintained residential and commercial developments. Valiotis established his construction company, Vordonia Construction Corporation, in 1988, which served as the general contractor for the majority of his projects until 2002. In 2002, Vordonia was developed into Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp., to continue as the general contractor for Valiotis’ construction projects. He formed Valco Building Materials and Supplies Corp. of Long Island City, N.Y. in 2006, a large retailer of building materials and appliances as a subsidiary of Alma operations.
In 1989, Valiotis, along with several other investors, formed Marathon National Bank. He served as chairman of the bank’s board of directors and as a member for ten years. Marathon was acquired by Piraeus National Bank of Greece in 1999. In 2007, he formed Alma Bank, in which he serves as chairman of the Advisory Board. The bank, created with the highest capital investment in a New York State commercial bank, is rapidly expanding, with 14 branches and several more to come. The bank started with $50 million in capital and in seven years has grown to $1 billion in gross assets.
Valiotis earned his degree in Theology from the University of Athens. He is a major supporter of the St. Demetrios Cathedral and School in Astoria. Valiotis is also a major benefactor of the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, School and Community Center in Whitestone; the church’s Efstathios and Stamatiki Valiotis Greek American School was named after him and his wife. Mr. Valiotis never forgot his roots and hometown and he financed and built a T.E.I. (technical college) in his hometown of Sparta, which also bears his name and currently enrolls 2,000 students. A firm believer in education, he supports various educational institutions. He is married to Stamatiki Kousoulas and they have three children, Sophia, Katerina, and George, and one grandchild.
9. ALEX G. SPANOS & FAMILY
NET WORTH: $1.1 BILLION
REAL ESTATE, PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
Alex G. Spanos, 90, owns the National Football League’s San Diego Chargers. His family is ranked 452nd among Forbes’ American Billionnaires. His fortune increased since 2004, and then dropped some with the recent plunge in the real estate market. The rising value of the Chargers – now worth $936 million (purchased for $70 million in 1984) – has offset the real estate losses.
Spanos hired new coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco, last year and they produced immediate results. The team made the playoffs after missing out in the three previous seasons and won its first game before losing to the Denver Broncos. His son Dean is now the team’s chairman and president.
The son of Greek immigrants, Spanos received his bachelor’s degree at the University of the Pacific. He began his career as a baker, but then in 1951 he 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 is one of America’s largest housing developers, and is one of the largest family-owned construction and property management company in the United States. It has built more than 100,000 units in 19 states.
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.
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.
Spanos has turned the reins of the company over to his two sons and prefers to play cards with his friends. “What the heck I’m 85 years old, and my kids are doing a good job. It’s their turn now,” he told TNH in 2009. In 2002, Spanos published his autobiography entitled “Sharing the Wealth: My Story.” He and his wife, Faye, with whom he celebrated In 65 years of marriage in 2013, have four children, 15 grandchildren and three great grandsons.
10. KOSTA & TOM KARTSOTIS
NET WORTH: $1 BILLION
WATCHES LEATHER ACCESSORIES
Kosta Kartsotis, 61, is CEO & Chairman of the Fossil Group Inc., and Tom Kartsotis, 54, former chairman and CEO of the company. Fossil is based in Richardson, Texas. It sells products in 120 countries around the world.
In 2013, Tom Kartsotis 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.”
As the biggest individual owner of Fossil shares, Kartsotis has holdings in the company worth $691 million. According to Bloomberg, Kosta Kartsotis declined compensation from the company last year. He was listed among Bloomberg’s list of lowest-paid CEOs whose companies have the best-performing stocks.
In 2013 stock prices rose 36 percent for the company, raking in $3.3 billion in total revenue.
Founded by Tom Kartsotis in 1984, Fossil is a designer and manufacturer of clothing and accessories, primarily watches and jewelry, but 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. Fossil also 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.
The company now offers smart watches that would link to phones via Bluetooth.
Tom Kartsotis also owns the Texas company Bedrock Brands.
10, TED J. LEONSIS
NET WORTH: $1 BILLION
INTERNET, VENTURE CAPITAL, PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
Ted J. Leonsis, 56, is vice chairman emeritus of America Online. Leonsis is also the founder, chairman and majority owner of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, formed in June 2010, as he merged his Lincoln Holdings LLC (including the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals, worth an estimated $225 million, up by $28 million over last year, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics) and Washington Sports & Entertainment Limited Partnership. To create the new company, Leonsis purchased the remaining 56% of Washington Sports & Entertainment that he didn’t own, giving him full ownership over the National Basketball Association’s Washington Wizards, the Verizon Center and the Baltimore-Washington Ticketmaster franchise. Monumental Sports and Entertainment also operates Kettler Capitals Iceplex and George Mason University Patriot Center.
After surviving an airplane crash landing in 1983, he drafted a list of 101 things to do in life, and has completed 82 of the tasks; his $1 billion net worth aim may be realized in a few years. (See the list at www.tedstake.com.)
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 & 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 has also boosted the Capitals’ attendance and revenues.
Leonsis was born to a family of modest means in Brooklyn, and spent his early years there. His family moved back to his mother’s hometown of Lowell, Mass. 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 AOL, completing his tenure as the audience group’s president and vice chairman before stepping down in 2006. He is also a partner at Revolution Growth Fund, vice president and member of the board of Groupon, and founder/chairman of SnagFilms.
10. JOHN CALAMOS
NET WORTH: $1 BILLION
John P. Calamos, Sr., 73, earned both his bachelor’s degree in economics and his MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology. A son of Greek immigrants, he is a product of Chicago public schools, and grew up above his family’s grocery store on Chicago’s west side. He developed his passion for the stock market as a teenager after investing his parents’ $5,000 nest egg.
After earning his MBA, he became an early authority on convertible securities, and launched Calamos Asset Management in 1977. His money management firm serves institutional clients and manages mutual funds. The company offers strategies through separately managed portfolios, mutual funds, closed-end funds, private funds and UCITS funds. Clients include major corporations, pension funds, endowments, foundations and individuals. Headquartered in Chicago metropolitan area, the firm also has offices in London and New York. The company went public in 2004.
Calamos is chairman, CEO and Global Co-Chief Investment Officer of Calamos Investments, which he runs along with his son John and Gary Black, who replaced Calamos’ nephew Nicholas P. Calamos as co-CIO in August 2012. Black’s appointment secured Calamos Investments’ acquisition of Black Capital LLC, which Black founded in 2009. In December 2013, Nicholas resigned from the Calamos Board and sold all his holdings to his uncle.
A recognized expert in risk-managed investing, Calamos was worth $2.7 billion a few years ago, according to Forbes. Though the 2008 financial crisis was challenging, the firm now has $29 billion under management as of the end of January. Calamos also has a private real estate arm, Calamos Real Estate LLC, which includes Hotel Arista, CityGate Centre and other entities that surround the investment company’s headquarters in Naperville, IL. He has written two books, writes for investment industry publications and is interviewed regularly by CNBC and Bloomberg TV.
Calamos was the first member in his family to graduate from college. He served in the U.S. Air Force, flying the B-52 Bomber, as a combat pilot in Vietnam and as a Forward Air Controller. He later spent twelve years in the USAF Reserves flying the A-37 jet fighter and earning the rank of Major. He keeps his aviation skills honed by flying his Marchetti SF260 Warbird. He credits his Air Force time for sharpening his risk assessment skills.
He is a member of the Investment Analysts Society of Chicago and is on the board of directors of Chicago’s new National Hellenic Museum, of which he is a major benefactor and Chairman of the Board. He says of the museum, “We have built a national institution to honor our parents and grandparents, to honor our rich Hellenic history.” Nephew Nicholas is devoting himself to that mission as well, working with the museum to set up a $500,000 scholarship in his uncle’s name.
11. GEORGE M. MARCUS
NET WORTH: $900 MILLION
George M. Marcus, 71, was born George Moutsanas in Evia, Greece. He 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 is 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 77 offices nationwide, the firm focuses 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.
Together with his partner, William A. Millichap, Marcus launched a new business model nearly four decades years ago, based on matching each property with the largest pool of pre-qualified investors. In 2012, Marcus & Millichap closed more than 6,000 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 and land.
Marcus is also chairman of Essex Property Trust, a publicly held, multi-family real estate investment trust (REIT). Located in Palo Alto, California and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Essex is a fully integrated REIT which 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. Marcus 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 the age of 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. He also owns Kokkari, one of San Francisco’s 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 Mr. 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.
12. GEORGE D. BEHRAKIS
NET WORTH: $780 MILLION
George D. Behrakis, 78, is founder and chairman of Mythos, LLC, a private investment company based in Lexington, Mass. He is also chairman of Gainesborough Investments, launched in 1998.
Of all his philanthropic endeavors, the most dear to Behrakis is the anti-smoking campaign in Greece he helped to fund. In 2010, Mr. Behrakis gave a $1.8 million grant to a Harvard University School of Public Health study on smoking in Greece. He has also given to the academy of Athens to continue studying the effects of smoking.
A 1957 graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Behrakis also studied at Boston University, and is a recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry. He became best known, perhaps, for his talent in solubilizing previously insoluble chemicals and making them stable for medical use.
After completing his military service, Behrakis began his career at McNeil Laboratories (a division of Johnson & Johnson). In 1968, he founded Dooner Laboratories which developed and manufactured a leading asthma medication, Slophyllin and Slobid. He sold the company to Rhone-Poulenc Rorer (now Aventis) and purchased ophthalmic firm Muro Pharmaceuticals in 1978. Behrakis sold his eye care products to Bausch and Lomb and searched for new products, including pharmaceuticals for asthma and allergies. Behrakis sold the firm to Asta-Medica AG, a division of German conglomerate Degussa, retiring as president & CEO in 1998.
Behrakis is the son of Greek immigrants. He and his wife Margo have established chairs and scholarships at various universities and medical centers. In 2003 Northeastern University and Medical Center opened the Behrakis Health Science Building and also created the Center for Drug Discovery.
A recipient of many awards for his contributions to business, science, the arts and the Greek Orthodox Church, he sits on the board of The Boston Symphony Orchestra and is emeritus chairman of Northeastern University. He has served on many boards of both public and private companies. He is on the advisory board of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Perhaps no institution has received as much from Behrakis as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. His relationship with the museum dates back to his high school days, when his uncle, John Zaroulis, took him to see the galleries. Later, Behrakis would host parties at the Museum. He became a member in 1989, a patron in 1996, and an overseer in 1998. Then, one day in 2001, Behrakis showed up for lunch with MFA Director Malcolm Rogers and handed him a sealed envelope. Inside was a check for $2 million to endow Christine Kondoleon’s position as curator of Greek & Roman Art. He has given $25 million to the museum since 2006 and the museum now has the new George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing, which houses Greek, Roman and Egyptian Galleries.
In 2011, the 50-year-member of AHEPA was honored with the organization’s Archbishop Iakovos Humanitarian Award in Orange, Cοnn.
Behrakis, a former president of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, Mass., is a member of the Archdiocesan Council’s Executive Committee, and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He is Chairman Emeritus of Leadership 100. Behrakis also publishes the Hellenic Voice. He and his wife Margo have been married for 50 years and have four children and nine grandchildren.
13. GEORGE SAKELLARIS
NET WORTH: $700 MILLION
Born in Vassara in Laconia, Greece, George Sakellaris, 67, heads one of the largest energy solutions companies in North America. His company Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE: AMRC), which is based in Framingham, Mass., specializes in providing energy efficiency, infrastructure upgrades, renewable energy, and energy information management solutions. George Sakellaris, President and CEO as well as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ameresco, founded the company in 2000. Today it has 70 offices in 35 states, 4 Canadian provinces, Brazil, Spain, and the United Kingdom. “Green. Clean. Sustainable” is the motto of the company that increases energy efficiency for federal, state and local governments, healthcare and educational institutions, housing authorities, and commercial and industrial customers.
Last month, Ameresco was awarded three army contracts – for solar, wind, and biomass power – as part of the Army’s $7 billion large-scale renewable and alternative energy contract. In January 2013, Ameresco’s wholly-owned subsidiary Seldera launched a new technology-based tool to lower a building’s energy costs. Through wireless sensing technology, the building consumption is continuously analyzed and adapted to avoid waste. In 2012, Ameresco completed the the largest renewable energy savings performance contract in the United States with the Savannah River Site Biomass Cogeneration Project in Aiken, S.C., for Department of Energy for $795 million.
Ameresco prides itself in going beyond just conservation to address its customers’ entire energy system, including supply and demand, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Sakellaris has this to say about his sustainability business, “We have a sharp focus on our customers’ needs for comprehensive energy efficiency services and budget-neutral solutions, particularly in today’s environment of aging infrastructure and budgetary constraints. As an entrepreneurial, technology-agnostic company, Ameresco is in the best position to offer our customers the optimum solutions to suit their requirements.” He continued, “Being in the service business ‘you are as good as your people.’ We always strive to hire and retain the best in our field.”
After graduating from high school in Greece, Sakellaris arrived in Bangor, Maine, as a college exchange student in 1965 to go to college. He spoke little English when he first enrolled at the University of Maine-Orono, but worked his way through college and earned a B.S.E.E. degree, driven by a love of mathematics and the sciences. His parents arrived in the U.S. in 1969 and the family settled in Boston. He then worked at local utility New England Electrical Systems (NEES), earning an M.B.A. and M.S.E.E. from Northeastern University along the way. Then, Sakellaris explains, “in 1979, while working for New England Electric, NEES Management wanted to establish a company to promote energy efficiency to avoid the need to build new generation plants. They asked me to lead that initiative and I welcomed the challenge.”
The subsidiary he launched was called NEES Energy. Then in 1990, Mr. Sakellaris purchased NEES Energy and it became the energy conservation company he re-named NORESCO. In 1997, he sold that industry-leading independent energy services company to Equitable Resources (EQT), a Fortune 500 company. Sakellaris continued to lead NORESCO and was appointed as a Senior Vice President of Equitable Resources. In January 2000, he left EQT and three months later founded Ameresco.
Sakellaris is a Distinguished Member Inductee of the Frances Crowe Society at the University of Maine, which gave him the Edward T. Bryand Distinguished Engineer Award in 2007. His awards include winning an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2011 New England award, and Business Leader of the Year 2012 for Large Business by the Worcester Business Journal. In 2009, he received a Gabby Award (named loosely from the acronym “Greek America’s Best and Brightest”) from the Greek America Foundation. The award was created in 2009 in Chicago to celebrate those Greek North Americans who strive to be the very best at what they do. It is awarded every two years.
Among his support for numerous educational institutions in Massachusetts and Maine is establishing an endowment at UMass Lowell in memory of his mentor, the late Senator Paul Tsongas. He is a board member of Hellenic College Holy Cross and serves on the Board of Overseers for Northeastern University. He is a member of the Faith Endowment and Leadership 100, an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew and a major benefactor of his local church, Saint Catherine Greek Orthodox Church.
Sakellaris served as a founding member of the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO). He is a former President of NAESCO and still an active member. In 2005, he was invited to join the Clinton Climate Initiative, launched by former President Bill Clinton. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in Massachusetts. A committed outdoorsman, he has run in five Boston Marathons; Sakellaris also competes in sailing, with his Mini-Max boat Shockwave frequently placing in sailing regattas. He lives in Milton, Mass., with his wife, Cathy, and children, Christina and Peter.
14. JOHN PAYIAVLAS
NET WORTH: $650 MILLION
John Payiavlas is chairman of AVI Foodsystems, the country’s largest independent, family-owned and operated contract food service company, providing vending, institutional dining and coffee service operations.
Payiavlas, the son of Greek immigrants, traces his company’s beginning to purchasing a few vending machines for the family’s Village Café in his hometown of Warren, Ohio. Founded in 1960, AVI currently employs thousands, serves millions of consumers daily, and serves some of the most prestigious institutions in America, including industrial centers, corporate headquarters complexes, universities, school systems and healthcare facilities throughout the Midwestern and eastern United States. Their clients include Carnegie Mellon University, Eastman Kodak, Good Year, Honda of America Manufacturing, Kmart, Kraft Foods, Ohio State University, Phillips, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Verizon, and Xerox. Intensely private, Payiavlas runs the company as chairman of the board, while his son Anthony is President and CEO and his daughter Patrice (Patsy) serves as Vice Chairman. Based in Warren, AVI has more than 50 branch offices in the Midwestern and Eastern United States, and makes $2 billion in sales annually. The company expanded into Georgia in 2010, and broke ground on an 84-room hotel in California, Pa. in 2011. In 2012, AVI introduced Market C, a turn-key convenience store offering fresh selections 24 hours a day, accessed through an account card.
Payiavlas and his wife Marissa were honored in 2006 with the Cleveland Clinic’s Distinguished Fellow Award. In 2000, he was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame of Northeast Ohio’s Inside Business Magazine (ibmag.com). Payiavlas traces his origins to the island of Chios. He is a Life-Time Chairman of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
15. PETER G. ANGELOS
NET WORTH: $620 MILLION
LAW, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Peter G. Angelos, 84, is a trial lawyer and the current chairman & CEO of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles. He bought the Orioles in August 1993, leading a group of investors including prominent Marylanders like novelist Tom Clancy in purchasing the team for $173 million, a record price at the time.
According to Forbes, the Orioles were worth $460 million in 2012 (up from $411 million in 2010), and listed 17th in valuation among Major League Baseball’s 30 teams. 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. In 2005, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, co-owned by the Orioles and the Washington Nationals, took off. As of early 2012, it had 6 million subscribers.
Angelos was born in Pittsburgh on July 4, 1929. He came to Baltimore at 11 years of age. He is a graduate of 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, and Pennsylvania. 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 was $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.
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 (now Governor) Martin J. O’Malley. Angelos has been active in charitable programs in the city and state. He is married, and has two sons. Angelos enjoys horse racing, as an owner of thoroughbred horses. He has given $10 million to his alma mater; in return the new law school building that is being constructed will bear the name of his parents. The John and Frances Angelos Law Center at the University of Baltimore opened in April 2013.
Angelos and his wife have two sons, John and Louis.
www.angeloslaw.com, www.masnsports.com, www.baltimore.orioles.mlb.com
16. JOHN PAPPAJOHN
NET WORTH: $600 MILLION
John Pappajohn, 85, is president of Equity Dynamics and Pappajohn Capital Resources, of which he is also sole proprietor. Equity Dynamics is a financial consulting entity; Pappajohn Capital Resources is a venture capital firm. Both are located in Des Moines, Iowa.
He serves as director on the boards of three publicly traded companies: Cancer Genetics, Inc., American CareSource Inc., and CNS Response, Inc., a company which uses EEG-generated biomarkers for use in personalized medicine in psychiatry. Mr. Pappajohn has served as Director in over 40 public companies.
Pappajohn emigrated from Evia, Greece to the United States when he was just nine months old. His father died when he was 16 years of age, and worked to pay his way through college. He graduated from the University of Iowa’s College of Business Administration in 1952. Throughout his career as a venture capitalist, he has been an early investor in over 100 companies, most of which are dedicated to healthcare and biotechnology industries.
He and his wife, Mary, have partnered in philanthropic endeavors, which have provided millions for scholarships, business opportunities and community enhancements. His charitable donations include the John & Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center, and Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers at five Iowa universities and colleges. To date, over 150,000 college students have taken part in the latter, which have sparked over 1,000 new businesses. The Pappajohn Scholarship Foundation has distributed over $4 million in grants to support ethnic, disadvantaged, and/or minority students over the past 10 years.
In September 2009, the Des Moines Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened, featuring $40 million of the avid collector couple’s outdoor sculptures from their personal collection. In December 2010 the Pappajohns pledged $26.4 million towards a new University of Iowa biomedical research building. The couple has gifted over $100 million in various philanthropies.
He has demonstrated a great love for the fine arts: he was named by Art News Magazine as one of the top 200 collectors in the world from 1997-2013. He was appointed to the advisory board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. He currently serves on the National Committee of the Performing Arts for the Kennedy Center. He also serves as a member of the Trustees Council of the National Gallery of Art as well as serving on their Collectors Committee (formerly Chairman). He is a vice-chairman of the board of Trustees of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. and a member of the National Committee with the Whitney Museum in New York City, and Honorary Director at the Des Moines Art Center.
Pappajohn’s church activities include the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Archdiocesan Council and former executive committee, and Leadership 100 board of directors. He received the title of Archon from the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in 2000.
Pappajohn is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Horatio Alger Award (1995), the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2000) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center Award for Corporate Citizenship (2007). He is the first Iowan and the second Greek American (Pete Peterson was the first) to receive the Woodrow Wilson Award. He has received four honorary doctorate degrees. He received the 2013 Gabby Award for philanthropy.
Pappajohn lives in Des Moines with his wife, Mary. They have one daughter, Ann Vassiliou.
17. P. ROY VAGELOS, M.D
NET WORTH: $575 MILLION
Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, 84, 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.
Before assuming broader responsibilities of business leadership, Vagelos had won scientific recognition as an authority on lipids and enzymes, and as a research manager. 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 immigrated to the U.S. 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 in Bethesda, Md. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1956 to 1966, he served in the National Heart Institute, holding positions in cellular physiology and biochemistry – first as senior surgeon, and 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 & CEO of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens from 1999 to 2001, and 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 profitable 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 chairman of Columbia University Medical Center’s Board of Advisors, and is chairing the center’s capital campaign, which passed its target of $1 billion by 2011. 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. Vagelos is married to the former Diana Touliatos. They live in New Jersey and have four children and nine grandchildren.
18. JAMES S. CHANOS
NET WORTH: $550 MILLION
James S. Chanos, 56, is the founder and president of Kynikos Associates, the world’s biggest short-selling hedge fund. He is famed for predicting – and profiting from – the 2001 Enron Corporation scandal.
A second-generation Greek-American, Chanos grew up in Milwaukee, Wisc. His father owned a chain of dry cleaners 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. The company’s assets under management are currently $6 billion. Kynikos has offices in New York and London.
Chanos has a long 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. In 2011, he began shorting computer manufacturer Hewlett Packard, when it acquired British software company Autonomy. Since that time, HP’s stock price has fallen 22.5 percent, and last September HP announced it would eliminate 29,000 jobs through the end of its 2014 fiscal year.
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 declare that China’s economy will crash. Chanos is a graduate of Yale University, where he studied economics and political science. He was divorced in 2006 and lives in New York City with his four children.
19. JAMES DIMON
NET WORTH: $503 MILLION
Jamie Dimon, 57, is chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase, one of the country’s largest banks. Currently ranked 12th among Forbes highest paid CEOs, and 34th on its list of the World’s Most Powerful People, Forbes lists his five-year compensation at $140.92 million and stock ownership at $223.4 million. ABC News recently reported he will receive a 74 percent pay raise, after overseeing JPMorgan Chase while the bank paid about $20 billion in penalties last year to federal authorities.
Despite that, and the company’s highly-publicized $6 billion loss in 2012, Dimon has managed to keep JPMorgan well ahead of the curve since taking the helm in 2006. Even when all the country’s major banks – e.g., Bank of America and Citigroup – were barely managing to stay afloat, the $2 trillion-in-assets bank thrived recently, earning Dimon the respect of his peers. He has been on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people three times since 2006.
Dimon was born in New York. His grandfather, a Greek immigrant from Smyrna, was a broker and passed his knowledge of the business onto his son and partner Theodore, Dimon’s father. As a boy, Dimon attended the Browning School, a prestigious all-boys prep school on the Upper East Side. He later majored in Psychology and Economics at Tufts University, and earned his MBA from Harvard University Business School. Upon graduating in 1982, Sanford Weill convinced him to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and join him as an assistant at American Express. Through a series of unprecedented mergers and acquisitions that ensued, they formed Citigroup, then the largest financial services conglomerate in the world. Weill was the one who made the deals, but Dimon was the “whiz kid” who made the numbers work. Dimon left Citigroup in November 1998 due to an internal conflict with Mr. Weill.
He serves on the boards of directors of the Clearing House, and the United Negro College Fund. He serves on the executive committee of the Business Council, Business Roundtable and the Partnership for New York City, and is a member of the Financial Services Forum, Financial Services Roundtable and Council on Foreign Relations. He served on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York until his term ended last year.
He is married to Judith Kent, with whom he has three daughters.
20. GEORGE N. HATSOPOULOS, PH.D
NET WORTH: $450 MILLION
Dr. George N. Hatsopoulos, 86, was awarded at the November 2009 Boston History & Innovation Awards for “half a century of innovations in environmental quality, health and safety technologies.”
The Greek-born scientist wanted to change the way the world makes electricity. He and his brother John founded Thermo Electron in 1956 (with a $50,000 loan from a Greek shipowner). Thermo Electron grew into an international company recognized as a global leader in environmental monitoring and analysis instruments, and a major producer of paper-recycling equipment, biomedical products, alternative-energy systems and other products and services related to environmental quality, health and safety. By 1981, it was ranked 739th among Fortune’s 1,000 largest industrial firms. By the time it merged with Fisher Scientific in November 2006, Thermo Electron was seeing annual revenues of over $2 billion, and employed 11,000 people in 30 countries. Hatsopoulos’ work led to rapid advances in thermionic power conversion. He retired in 1999, but remains chairman emeritus of Thermo Fischer Scientific (NYSE:TMO), which today is worth over $49 billion.
In 2000, Hatsopoulos, his brother John, and other private investors purchased Tecogen, formerly the research and development division of Thermo Electron. As an independent company, It builds power systems that can generate electricity and run heating or cooling units for big buildings. Last month, Tecogen filed to sell $5 million of common stock on the NASDAQ exchange. It had withdrawn a prior IPO registration in October 2013.
His training began in Greece at the National Polytechnic Institute in Athens. He received his bachelor’s (1949), master’s (1950) and doctorate (1956), at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all in mechanical engineering. Dr. Hatsopoulos has testified at numerous congressional hearings on national energy policy and capital formation, and has served on many national committees on energy conservation, environmental protection and international exchange. He is also noted for his and Joseph Keenan’s famous textbook, “Principles of General Thermodynamics.”
In 1996, Hatsopoulos won the John Fritz Medal, the highest American award in the engineering profession. In 2007, he was one of the nine prominent Greek-Americans who were selected by President Carolos Papoulias to be honored with the Hellenic Republic’s prestigious Commander of the Order of Honor award. Until his retirement in April 2012, Hatsopoulos was the chairman of American DG Energy Inc. (ADGE), the leading on-site utility he formed with his brother in 2001 offering electricity, heat, hot water and cooling to commercial, institutional and industrial customers. He remains a technical advisor to American DG, where his brother John serves as CEO. The company, whose stocks were valued recently at $97.6 million specializes in green energy and carbon reducing solutions.
21. JOHN G. RANGOS SR.
John G. Rangos Sr., 84, made his fortune through the transportation, disposal and management of industrial wastes, as well as security services.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, he grew up during the Depression in northern West Virginia and Fredericksburg, Va. His education at the Houston School of Business was interrupted when he joined the Active Force Reserve unit in Pittsburgh, Pa. His served in the Army from 1951 to 1954, including serving on a combat signal team in the Far East with great distinction.
Rangos began his career with Rockwell Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh, where he distinguished himself by becoming the youngest general agent in company history. He formed several companies in the 1960’s, and pioneered technological advances in the transportation and disposal of industrial waste. He founded Chambers Development Inc. in 1971, a firm that provided waste treatment services; developed commercial recycling programs; and broke ground with specially lined, layered landfills to protect groundwater supplies.
Rangos’ many innovative achievements include converting power plant boiler ash into a useful component of cinder blocks and anti-skid material for highways. He also played an instrumental role in inventing techniques for recycling bituminous byproducts and disposing sewage and sludge. He developed methods for liquid industrial waste disposal, and created a resource recovery system that converts waste-generated methane into usable energy.
Together with his sons, Alex and John Jr., Rangos advocated standards for regional sanitation sites that resolved many environmental concerns nationwide. They initiated present-day environmental protection standards decades ago, to include the design and strict enforcement of federal laws forbidding corrupt practices in the transporting of illegal waste. Across the Eastern Seaboard and into the Midwest, they built the largest, most sophisticated land disposal facilities in the industry – including double-composite-lined HDPE (high-density polyethylene) facilities to protect ground water – long before other waste management companies emerged.
In October 1991, Chambers Development owned and operated a number of large regional landfills, worth a reported market value of $1.7 billion. Chambers went public and, in 1995, was merged with USA Waste, then the country’s second largest waste management company. Rangos served as vice chairman of USA Waste, during which time Waste Management Inc., the country’s largest trash hauler, acquired USA Waste. That merger in 1998 has proven to be a major continued success.
The massive Okeechobee, Fla. landfill (approved in 1993, and now operated by Waste Management) is just one example of Rangos’ commitment to sound environmental practices and regional economic development. That site has a 100-year capacity and receives 7,000 tons of waste daily. Such monumental, environmentally-friendly disposal sites have also been an economic boon to the areas in which they function. Okeechobee County still receives millions of dollars in royalties from its landfill each year, boosting the local government’s ability to finance schools and roads, as well as improve police and firefighting services.
Rangos also founded U.S. Utilities in the mid-1960s. A precursor to Chambers Development, USU was part of a conglomerate, which eventually became part of Chambers. USU subcontracted with Stone & Webster (now part of the Shaw Group), a major engineering services firm, to help build atomic energy plants.
Together with his partner Ian McLennan, a respected FBI agent, Rangos cofounded Security Bureau Inc., one of the most prominent security companies in the country, in the mid-1970s. SBI guarded everything from banks and shopping centers to industrial and atomic energy plants. It grew into a company with a license in every state in the Union, and was eventually sold for more than $40 million.
Rangos has three children and three grandchildren. He founded and directs the John G. Rangos Sr. Family Charitable Foundation. He is also the former president and founder of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and the founder and chairman emeritus of International Orthodox Christian Charities. He sits on numerous boards, and the Rangos Foundation supports medical research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, one of the world’s finest pediatric care centers, and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he established an innovative new program which invites and challenges the brightest young minds at Johns Hopkins to find a cure to metastatic cancer. The Rangos Foundation also supports programs at Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and many other programs and organizations (e.g., the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). Rangos has recently taken an active interest in helping the country’s wounded warriors re-adapt to civilian life.
Mr. Kalogris, 63, in 2008 co-founded Arete Capital Parners, a private investment company that functions as an operating partner of the New York based equity firm Catalyst Investors. He is managing partner of Arete.
He was chairman & CEO of SunCom Wireless, a wireless carrier which had operated in the southeastern United States since 1999, and in parts of the Caribbean since 2004. Founded in January 1999 as Triton PCS Holdings, Triton changed its name to SunCom in 2005. Based in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, SunCom went through several deals with other major cellular carriers. Before it was finally acquired by T-Mobile for $1.6 billion in cash and $800 million in assumed debt in February 2008, SunCom provided digital wireless communications services to more than 1.1 million subscribers. Mr. Kalogris has a long history in the “buy it, build it, sell it” business. In November 1999, he reached an agreement with Rural Cellular Corporation, which purchased portions of Triton’s assets for $1.24 billion in early 2000 (Verizon eventually acquired Rural for $2.66 billion in cash and assumed debt in August 2007). He also built out Tri- ton’s network with Cingular Wireless in 2004 before changing Triton’s name to SunCom and ultimately selling SunCom to T- Mobile.
A stocky, graying zealot of the wireless industry, he still lives outside Philadelphia with his wife of many years (his high school sweetheart), with whom he has two children. Besides Mr. Kalogris’ reputation of making money for his investors, it was a deal with AT&T in the 1990s which attracted investors. In exchange for a small equity stake, AT&T gave Triton licenses covering 11 million people in areas contiguous with AT&T’s territories in the southeast.
Mr. Kalogris earned his MBA at Columbia University Business School in 1982. After working at IBM for a spell, he entered the telecommunications business by taking a job with a Philadelphia- based outfit called Metrophone, helping to build it into a $1.1 billion cellular company in Philadelphia and its suburbs before its owners sold Metrophone to Comcast in 1991. Mr. Kalogris had no equity in Metrophone, so he left to build Horizon to operate mostly in suburban Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Five years later, Horizon was sold in a series of deals for the $575 million, but Mr. Kalogris and his fellow managers got to share just $10 million of that among them. This only made him determined to get more of the action, so he found backers in J.P. Morgan, Chase Capital Partners and Desai Capital Management to give him 10 percent of Triton as compensation for running the deal. The money flowed in: Even before the bonds were placed, Mr. Kalogris got a $425 million bank revolver loan and $140 million in equity commitments. That and junk bond proceeds built his system, and he has since never looked back.
Mr. Kalogris has consistently distinguished himself as a leader in the highly competitive wire- less industry, and is a former board member as well as former chairman of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).
22. PETER J. BARRIS
Peter J. Barris, 61, is a venture capitalist known for helping to launch companies including Groupon, CareerBuilder and Diapers.com. He has been Managing General Partner of leading venture capital investor New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Inc. since 1999, having joined the company in 1992.
At NEA, he has led investments in over 25 companies that have gone public or had successful acquisitions. He has graced the Forbes Midas list of top technology investors since 2007, and was listed at #49 in 2013. NEA invested $14.8 million in Groupon early on and received $70 million back in 2011. That year, Groupon became public, reaping one of the greatest venture returns ever with an initial public offering value of $12.8 billion.
Under his leadership, according to the NEA website, the company’s assets under management have grown more than ten-fold to over $13 billion. The company with offices in Maryland and California’s Silicon Valley now has branches in India, China – and most recently — New York City. NEA, founded 35 years ago, has seen 165 portfolio companies going public and 265 acquisitions.
Barris grew up in Chicago. His father James was an engineer, and his grandparents were from Greece. He earned an MBA from Dartmouth College after studying electrical engineering at Northwestern.
He started his career in various management positions at General Electric Company. In an interview with Forbes, he counted his first bosses, while at General Electric, Greg Liemandt and Jack Welch as having “the most profound impact” on his career. He went on to be President and COO of Legent Corporation (LGNT) and Senior Vice President of the Systems Software Division of UCCEL Corporation (UCE), both of which experienced profitable acquisitions.
Washington Life Magazine set his estimated net worth at between $300-$500 million in 2007.
At NEA Barris took telecom company $570-million company Neutral Tandem public in 2007 and $590-million Echo Global public in 2009. He is involved with NEA affiliates including satellite operator ProtoStar, TV software/hardware company Hillcrest, recently-gone-public Goji Food Solutions, online job recruitment site JobFox, information technology company MediaBank, digital distribution company SnagFilms, and social media management company Sprout Social. He is on the board of directors of public companies including Groupon (GRPN), Goji Food Solutions Ltd., Benchprep, Hillcrest Laboratories, Inc., MediaOcean, SnagFilms, and Sprout Social.
He is also on the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern Steering Committee. At Dartmouth he is on the board of the Tuck School Private Equity and Entrepreneur Center and launched the Barris Incubator at Tuck, which is aimed to encourage student startups. He previously served on the Executive Committee of the Board of the National Venture Capital Association and was also a founding member of Venture Philanthropy Partners, a philanthropic organization in the Washington, D.C. area.
Barris, a member of Leadership 100 and an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew, lives in McLean, Va. with his wife, Adrienne. They have two daughters.
23. NICHOLAS G. KARABOTS
PUBLISHING, REAL ESTATE
“The issue here is not ultimately your net worth, but what you do with the value you have created,” said Nicholas G. Karabots, 80, owner of Kappa Publishing Group, Inc. the nation’s largest publisher of puzzle magazines and books.
His parents, Konstantina Hrisomalis and Georgios Karabotsios, hailed from the Peloponnesian villages of Anavriti and Malantreni, respectively. The family name was shortened when his father arrived on Ellis Island.
Karabots was born in New Jersey and raised in the South Bronx, N.Y. and attended the Greek American Institute. After his father lost his restaurant business in the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Karabots subsequently held his first job at age 9, in 1942, as a shoeshine boy in Manhattan’s Union Square. After graduating high school in 1951, he entered the printing industry, learning the ropes at an RCA affiliate on Wall Street before becoming a manager of printing operations elsewhere. Eventually he achieved a sales and management position, offered by a Hellenophile from Austria, who was the owner of Polychrome, a manufacturer of printing supplies. In 1964, he launched, with a partner, the company Phota Inc., which manufactured photographic chemicals specific to the development of X Ray film and assisted in the development and importation to the United States of Fuji film. In 1970 he acquired a printing company in Scranton, Pa. and expanded it via the printing and binding of TV Guide among other nationally known magazines. That company, today known as Kappa Graphics, LP, celebrates 43 successful years under Karabots’ ownership and 106 years since its founding.
Today he is Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Kappa Publishing Group, Inc., and holds similar positions in his other privately-held companies involved with, printing, publishing, product fulfillment, land development, the country club business and winemaking and is assisted by his daughters Andrea, Despina, Constance and Constance’s husband Paul. Andrea’s husband Michael is President of Kable Media and Palm Coast Data subsidiaries of AMREP Corporation, a publicly held company in which Karabots is a controlling shareholder.
Apart from its huge gamut of puzzle magazines and subscription services, Kappa Publishing Group, Inc. also publishes wrestling, astrology, games, and other specialty magazines. Its affiliated companies offer commercial and digital printing and distribution services while Kappa Map Group creates and distributes both various map products. Kappa Books Publishers LLC, another affiliated company, is a specialty publisher and marketer of children’s activity books.
The group’s roots were in Karabots’ purchase of the Scranton Lithographing Company in 1970, which became Kappa Graphics, and the establishment of a relationship with puzzle book publisher Official Publications, which Karabots acquired. Kappa acquired several other publishing companies over the years and in turn he founded, in 1990, the Spartan Organization, Inc., which provides management and legal services to the various Karabots affiliates. In turn, it led to the further diversification of his various business interests.
From 1993 to 2013, he was director of Amrep Corporation (AXR/NYSE), whose interests rest in the real estate and media-related industries such as product and subscription fulfillment combined with newsstand distribution services. Karabots resigned in 2013 from his position as Vice Chairman of the Board of AMREP in order to devote more time to his pending acquisitions in the private sector but retains his significant shareholder interests in AMREP. Amrep has developed Rio Rancho, New Mexico’s third-largest city.
There are about 1,800 people employed by Amrep and Karabots’ private companies combined.
Karabots’ real estate interests began with a purchase, in 1980, of a farm outside of Philadelphia, which led to other acquisitions, primarily in Pennsylvania and the subdivision of these other assets and eventually the design and development of Jericho National Golf Club, Inc. Karabots also owns Krasi, LLC the owner of Karamoor Wines, together with its vineyard and winery.
Together with his wife of 59 years, Athena Dikegoros Karabots, he established the Karabots Foundation, Inc. as a result of his experiences as a youth in the South Bronx. The foundation specializes in expanding opportunities for young people in inner city or otherwise underserved communities. He told TNH in 2009: “My heart beats for the small children who are tied to poverty and don’t know that there is something out there that is better.” In fall 2012, the Karabots gave $7.5 million to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a new pediatric care facility which was dedicated and opened in February 2013, and $10 million to The Franklin Institute museum to expand its classrooms and exhibition capabilities. The Karabots Foundation has additionally contributed $15 million to support the acquisition of the Eakins painting by the Philadelphia Museum of Art together with a very rare 16th century horse armor, which serves as a center piece within the arms and armor section at the museum. To date the foundation has provided over $58 million to many such organizations that focus on the Foundation’s mission. Nicholas and Athena Karabots have also supported the University of Pennsylvania and currently the University of Arizona in their archaeological excavations on Mt. Lykaion in Arcadia, Greece.
He and wife live in Pennsylvania and have three daughters and 10 grandchildren.
www.amrepcorp.com, www.kappapublishing.com, www.modernpublishing.com, www.kappagraphics.com, www.craftlinegraphics.com, www.kappabooks.com, www.kappamapgroup.com, www.jerichonational.biz, www.karamoorwines.com, www.lykaionexcavation.org www.jerichonational.com, www.karamoorwines.com,
24. SOTIRIOS VAHAVIOLOS, Ph.D
ASSET PROTECTION SOLUTIONS
Dr. Sotirios J. Vahaviolos, 67, is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Mistras Group, the New Jersey-based global provider of technology-enabled asset protection solutions used to evaluate the structural integrity, safety and efficiency of critical energy, industrial and public infrastructure.
With more than 100 offices and 45,100 employees in 16 countries, Mistras Group provides the majority of their services to clients on a regular, recurring outsourced basis. It monitors daily such historic bridges as the Ben Franklin bridge in Philadelphia Pa., the Severn bridge connecting England and Wales, the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, platforms and oil rigs in places including the North Sea, U.S.-based nuclear power plants, and other industrial plant facilities in countries all over the world daily, through the help of internet based online monitoring technologies based on satellites and other links. International clients are in the fields of oil and gas, fossil and nuclear power, public infrastructure, chemicals, aerospace and defense, transportation, primary metals and metalworking, pharmaceuticals and food processing. Among them are American Electric Power Inc., Bayer AG, BP, Bechtel Corp., General Electric Co., Boeing Co., Excelon, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Valero Energy Co. The Mistras Group combines industry-leading products and technologies, expertise in mechanical integrity (MI) and non-destructive testing (NDT) services and proprietary data analysis software to offer customized solutions, ranging from routine inspections to complex, plant-wide asset integrity assessments and management. The company works to extend the useful life of their assets, increase productivity, minimize repair costs, comply with governmental safety and environmental regulations, manage risk and avoid catastrophic disasters. Vahaviolos notes that the company is “seeking more acquisitions and better expansion abroad.”
MISTRAS ended their fiscal year on May 31, 2013 at $529.3 million, up from $436.9 the previous year for a revenue growth of 21 percent. At press time, the stock shares had reached $20.61, a big increase from the $12.50 price when the stock first went public in the New York Stock Exchange in October 2009.
Vahaviolos, who was born in 1946 in historic Mistras, in the Peloponnese, as a child ripped apart electrical machinery and rebuilt it for fun – as well as for better safety in the newly electrified village. He came to United States to study engineering at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, where he graduated first in his Science and Engineering class and went on, as a recipient of The Bell Laboratories Graduate Study Scholarship Program, to earn MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University. He was also awarded a master’s degree in philosophy. He started his career at American Telephone & Telegraph’s Bell Laboratories, where the concept of acoustic emissions was developed in the late 1940s. When Vahaviolos joined the company in the 1970s, he worked out computerized solutions to the long-standing problem of how to filter out irrelevant background noise during acoustic-emission testing, thus making the technology useable to detect in real time imperfections, cracks, and growing corrosion in materials and structures.
Vahaviolos has written over 100 technical papers and three books, amassed numerous patents and many honors and awards over the years, and belongs to various professional and scientific organizations, including the American Society for Non Destructive Testing, for which he has served as president, and the International Committee for Nondestructive Testing (ICNDT), which collaborates with the United Nations. A former president of ICNDT, he is a Life Honorary Member of its board. (NDT is the testing of materials without interfering with their make-up and encompasses a broad range of scientific disciplines.) He was recently elected a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and was honored at the March 10 AHI Hellenic Heritage Achievement.
Vahaviolos is married to Aspasia Nessas Vahaviolos, with whom he has three daughters: Athanasia Vahaviolos, who runs the Greek Mistras Group Hellas ABEE company serving the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean countries, Stephanie-Athena Foglia, Mistras’ Benefits Manager, and Kristy Vahaviolos-Kyriakopoulos.
24. JOHN GEORGES
MARINE, FOOD SERVICES
John Georges, 53, is the founder and CEO of Georges Enterprises, a company based in Elmwood, La. specializing in acquiring and growing businesses. It invests in food vending, grocery distribution, video/arcade entertainment, restaurants, and media outlets.
The company began as Imperial Trading in 1916, a wholesale grocery distribution company founded by John Georges’ grandfather Gus Pelias. The company is now the eighth largest convenience store supplier in the nation.
In April 2013, Georges Enterprises acquired The Advocate, a daily newspaper with New Orleans and Baton Rouge editions and websites covering nearby towns Ascension and Acadiana. According to Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the deal cost Georges about $50 million.
John Georges started out in the family business at a young age, sweeping warehouse floors at age 11 and making deliveries by age 15. His father, Dennis Georges, immigrated to the U.S. after serving in the Greek Resistance and the Royal Greek Air Force at a young age during World War II.
He completed his studies at Tulane University in 1983, turning his attention to Imperial Trading, expanding its sales from $29 million to $1 billion today, with 4,000 retailers in nine states. Recent acquisitions by Georges Enterprises include: in September 2011 the $50 million food distributor Clifford D. Fite Company, $100 million Union Grocery in 2010 and the multi-million Harrison Company in 2008. Georges Enterprises’ CEO said in a related press release: “We are looking to make more acquisitions in the food distribution sector.”
In 2006, Imperial Vending merged with Whitener Snacks to become Refreshment Solutions, a Georges Enterprises subsidiary. Georges Enterprises’ AMA Distributors specialize in entertainment from videogames and pool tables to jukeboxes. Georges Enterprises’ portfolio of real estate holdings; among them are 25 acres of industrial real estate in the greater New Orleans area, including the site once occupied by Louisiana Film Studios.
Georges Enterprises was previously very involved with marine services. However, as Georges confirmed to the TNH immediately after the BP Oil Spill, in January 2010, Georges Enterprises sold its fleet of offshore tugs under Dolphin Marine International Company to concentrate on its food distribution business. The family of his wife, the former Dathel Coleman, owns cleanup company Oil Mop OMI.
Georges purchased the 105-year old French/Creole restaurant Galatoire for perhaps $11 million a couple of years ago, with a major construction underway for it to return at a new location in Baton Rouge by Christmas 2012. The menu specializes in seafood, especially local specialties like shrimp and soft-shelled crabs.
Georges is very involved with both Louisiana public life and the community of The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and was notable in post-Hurricane Katrina both at the University of New Orleans, as well as his own, and local churches. The former church president hosted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he visited New Orleans in October 2009.
A notable campaign financer, Georges spent millions to unsuccessfully run for governor twice, first as an independent candidate in post-Katrina in 2007, and again, as a Democrat, in 2010. Undeterred, he is now eyeing the 2015 race.
He is a member of Tulane University’s President’s Council. Georges is a foundation member of the University of New Orleans and LSU Medical. He is on the World Trade Center Board of Directors, New Orleans Business Council, Jefferson Business Council, New Orleans Chamber of Council Board of Director. He has also chaired and been vice president of the Western Region of the Young Presidents Organization. He has chaired the Metairie Park Country Day School Recovery and been on the board of both Crimestoppers and the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans.
He and his wife, Dathel, have three children: Zana, Liza, and John Jr. (Nike).
25. NICHOLAS GALAKATOS, PH.D
Dr. Nicholas Galakatos, 56, has been Managing Director of Clarus Ventures since the Cambridge, Mass.-based firm’s inception in 2005. Clarus Ventures is a life sciences venture capital firm founded by a team of “accomplished investment professionals with extensive and complementary industry backgrounds which have enabled them to establish a long history of success in creating value,” according to its website, which also reports $1.2 billion of assets under its management “across two life sciences dedicated funds.”
Galakatos has over two decades of industry and investment experience in the healthcare sector. From 1997 to 2000, he was vice president of New Business at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a leading biopharmaceuticals company purchased by the Takeda Oncology Company for $8.8 billion in May 2008, and a member of its management team. During that time Galakatos cofounded Millennium Predictive Medicine and TransForm Pharmaceuticals, where he was chairman. Prior to his stint at Millennium, he was an associate at Venrock Associates focusing on early stage biotechnology investments. Before Venrock, he was head of Molecular Biology Research at Novartis.
Born in Athens and raised in Thessaloniki, where he studied at Anatolia College. Galakatos earned his doctorate in Organic Chemistry from MIT before post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School. He is director of ophthalmology company Ophthotech, cardiovascular therapy company Portola, and diagnostics company Nanostring, all of which had successful IPO’s in 2013. Before that he sold TransForm Pharmaceuticals to Johnson & Johnson, and as the Chairman of Hypnion Galakatos “made out well with 2007 sale of Hypnion to Eli Lilly for $315 million,” Forbes reported.
He and his wife, Alice, have two sons. Galakatos is a member of the Director’s Council of the Koch Institute at MIT, and the Genetics Advisory Council at Harvard Medical School. He is also on Anatolia College’s board of trustees. editor of the Huffington Post’ Huff/Post50 site for Baby Boomers.
26. MICHAEL D. CAPELLAS
Michael D. Capellas, 59, was Chairman & CEO of First Data Corporation (FDC), the world’s leading payment processing company, from 2007 to 2010. He was on the board of directors of VCE, the Virtual Computing Environment Company, from January 2006 to November 2012, serving one year as Chairman and CEO. The company was formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel, offering technology products and solutions for cloud-based computing.
He is on the board of Cisco, a multinational corporation networking and communications technology and services company, which Forbes listed 12th among its Most Valuable Brands for 2013. Cisco ranks 80th on Forbes’ Global 2000 list of the World’s Biggest Public Companies for 2013, with 66,639 employees and a total revenue of $48.6 billion. Capellas was also senior advisor for Silver Lake Partners, a $13 billion private equity firm focused on making large-scale investments in leading technology companies, from October 2006 to July 2007.
Capellas’ earlier executive roles include chairman & CEO of Compaq Computer Corporation between 1999 and 2001. Following Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of Compaq, he stayed on as president of HP for six months to ease the integration of the two companies. He then left HP to become chairman & CEO of MCI WorldCom between 2002 and 2006, presiding over the eventual Verizon-MCI merger. He had joined WorldCom, which was in bankruptcy, to help it overcome a massive accounting scandal. After the transfer to Verizon was completed, Capellas received a $40 million severance package.
A 30-year veteran of the IT industry, he took charge of First Data shortly after Kohlberg Kravis Roberts acquired the credit card giant for $29 billion in April 2007. In 1992, First Data spun off from American Express. It handles e-commerce processing services, including merchant and bank transactions, credit, retail and debit card issuing and processing. It also provides money orders and paper check processing. Forbes ranked FDC 31st this past December among the country’s largest private companies, with its 2012 revenues at $10.68 billion. Capellas left First Data in 2010
Capellas says he inherited his gritty determination from his father, a Greek citizen who fought with the Greek Army against the Germans in Italy during World War II. After the war, the elder Capellas met and married his wife Juliet in Italy. The family then immigrated to Ohio, where Capellas’ father worked his way up from laborer to superintendent at the Republic Steel Corporation. He worked there for 30 years. Capellas developed an interest in computers as an undergraduate at Kent State University. Shortly after he graduated, he met his wife, Marie Angelillo, a former nurse. The two married in 1979, and traveled the world for two decades as Capellas’ business reputation grew. He was a senior vice president of Oracle Corporation in 1997-98. He is credited, in his work with Compaq, with making it Microsoft’s key strategic partner for the release of its Windows 2000 operating system. In December 2006, Capellas was appointed acting CEO of Serena Software, selected by Silver Lake, which took Serena private in March 2006.
Capellas and his wife have two daughters. He likes golf and rock and roll. He is also actively involved in community and charitable work. In 2002, he became the first recipient of the Hope Technology Award from the Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Capellas previously served as a member of the American University Board of Trustees, and is recognized as a global thought leader in the technology industry. He recently served as co-chair of the CLOUD² Commission, including specialists who offered the Obama government recommendations on cloud computing policies.
27. D. JAMES BIDZOS
Mr. Bidzos, 58, is founder of VeriSign, which operates a diverse array of network infrastructure, including two of the Internet’s thirteen root nameservers, the authoritative registry for the .com, .net, and .name generic top-level domains and the .cc and .tv country-code top-level domains, and the back-end systems for the .jobs, and .edu top-level domains.
Verisign also offers a range of security services, including managed DNS, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation and cyber-threat reporting. Bidzos served as its first CEO from 1995 to 2001. In 2010 the company’s authentication services were purchased by Symantec for $1.28 billion.
Bidzos returned to the CEO job in 2011. The following year, he was named Fortune’s 2012 Businessperson of the year for reviving Verisign’s income, growth, and stock performance, which previously had flagged.
Born in Greece, he came to the United States as a boy. His father worked as a barber, and his mother managed a restaurant.
A former computer programmer, he is credited with foreseeing the need for online security in the early 1990’s. Mr. Bidzos is an Internet and security industry pioneer whose accomplishments include building RSA Security, an Internet identity and access management solution provider, into the early standard-bearer for authentication and encryption, and launching VeriSign as a spin-off in 1995 to develop the digital certificate infrastructure for Internet commerce. VeriSign operates infrastructure services that enable and protect billions of interactions every day across the world’s voice, video and data networks.
The Mountainview, California-based VeriSign (now moved to Reston, Virginia) offered a variety of Internet and communications-related services in its global affiliate network. VeriSign managed two of the world’s 13 Internet root servers, a.root-servers.net and j.root-servers.net, considered national IT assets by the U.S. Federal government.
Since 2007, the company has been focusing on its core business and whittling away less profitable side efforts. In 2009 it sold its security service business to SecureWorks and its security consulting business to AT&T. Verisign focuses now on its Internet infrastructure services.
Among the company’s services are providing .com, .net, .cc, .tv, .name and .jobs domain names for websites. Mr. Bidzos served as VeriSign’s first president and chief executive officer. He also served as chairman of its board of directors from April 1995 until December 2001, and as vice chairman from December 2001 to July 2007. He served as president and CEO of RSA Security from 1988 to February 1999, and then served as RSA’s vice chairman from 1999 to May 2002.
He has been named one of TIME magazine’s “Digital 50,” and is in CRN’s “Computer Industry Hall of Fame.”
28. STRATTON SCLAVOS
COMPUTERS, CELLULAR TECHNOLOGY
Stratton Sclavos, 52, is a director at multi-billion-dollar company Salesforce.com, which provides software to businesses of all sizes and industries worldwide. He served on the board of directors of Intuit, Inc. from 2001 to 2010, as well as the company Juniper Networks. He is general partner at Radar Partners LLC, a private investment firm and was named, in 2011, a partner and member of the executive team of online television production company Prospect Park’s online ventures.
Sclavos earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of California in Davis. From October 1993 to June 1995, he was vice president of worldwide marketing & sales for Taligent Inc., a software development company that was a joint venture among Apple Computer, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
He was chairman, president, & chief executive officer of VeriSign for 12 years before he resigned in May 2007, leading that company through many acquisitions. He joined VeriSign in July 1995 as one of its first employees. He helped establish Verisign as a global corporation used by millions of consumers and businesses daily as they interact on the world’s voice and data networks. Sclavos led the company through a decade of robust growth and technological innovation. His last years with VeriSign were taken up with investigations into the company’s stock option program, but it is not believed that Sclavos personally benefited from the option grants in question, though it did occur under his watch.
Sclavos was born to second-generation Greek American parents in San Francisco, Ca. He still lives in California with his wife Jody and their two children.
His investments include co-owning upscale Dio Deka restaurant. A lifelong Bay Area resident, he formed the Sclavos Family Foundation to support charitable efforts in children’s education and medical research. He enjoys playing basketball. He held an ownership stake in Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVSE), the parent company of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, until he sold his shares to majority owner Hasso Plattner in January 2013.
In June 2002, he was honored with the Ernst & Young Northern California Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He was also honored with the 2001 Morgan Stanley Morgan Leadership Award for Global Commerce; named to Forbes’ Top 50 CEO’s list; and served alongside 30 technology experts on former President George W. Bush’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee.
29 MICHAEL G. PSAROS
Michael Psaros, 46, is a co-founder and managing partner of private equity fund KPS Capital Partners, LP, and a member of its investment committee. KPS Capital Partners, LP is the manager of KPS Special Situations Funds, a family of private equity funds with over $6 billion of assets under management. KPS takes controlling stakes in troubled companies, brings new capital and ideas and builds constructive relationships with unions. It specializes in distressed industrial companies.
Mr. Psaros and the Co-Founders of KPS have successfully developed and executed a proprietary investment strategy that resulted in the creation of vibrant and successful enterprises out of assets or companies that were close to shutdown or liquidation, suffering from a history of operating losses, operating in bankruptcy, or in default of obligations to creditors.
The son of George and Mary Ann Psaros and grandson of Greek immigrants, Psaros grew up in Weirton, W.V., where the lifeblood of the town was the steel industry, specifically National Steel. Psaros’ father was an electrical engineer in the mill, and his grandfather worked at a Weirton open hearth furnace in the days when E.T. Weir owned the mill. In 1983, union steelworkers voted to purchase the company with the help of investment banker Eugene Keilin, renaming it Weirton Steel. The buyout saved the town, and inspired Psaros to think about how management and labor could work together to revitalize the flagging manufacturing industry in America.
Psaros began his career as an investment banker at Bear, Sterns & Co., Inc. During the 1990s, he worked for Keilin, who by then had created his own firm with a colleague. When that colleague left, Keilin, Psaros, and another partner founded KPS in 2006.
The firm’s most recent success is Global Brass and Copper, a Schaumburg, Ill., manufacturer that KPS acquired in November 2007, a month before the onset of the Great Recession. Investors in the KPS fund that acquired the metals producer have received $650 million from their investment since 2010.
Psaros graduated from Georgetown University with a B.S.B.A. degree in finance, and attended Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.
He supports All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Weirton. Nick Latousakis, parish council president, said Mr. Psaros has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church in recent years.
He was married to Robin Elissa Goldberg in 1994 at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York, N.Y. In April 2013, Psaros and his wife created The Robin and Michael Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he serves on the Executive Board of Advisors. He lives in Purchase, N.Y., still owns a home in Weirton, and has Pittsburgh Steelers season tickets on the 50-yard line.
30. WILLIAM S. STAVROPOULOS, PH.D
Dr. William S. Stavropoulos, 74, former Chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, is president and founder of minor league baseball team the Great Lakes Loons. In 2005, he was inducted into the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame as a Professional Baseball Visionary for work, which includes founding the Michigan Baseball Foundation.
Stavropoulos was a director at Tyco International Limited from 2007 to 2012. A major diversified, multinational company, Tyco is a leading provider of security products and services, fire protection and detection products and services, valves Stavropoulos was a director at Tyco International Limited from 2007 to 2012. A major diversified, multinational company, Tyco is a leading provider of security products and services, fire protection and detection products and services, valves and controls, and other industrial products. In May 2007, just two months after Stavropoulos became a board member, Tyco agreed to pay almost $3 billion to defrauded investors, the largest such payment ever made by a single company. He retired at the end of 2012.
Prior to joining Tyco, Stavropoulos was chairman, president, & CEO of The Dow Chemical Company, where his career spanned 39 years. His career with Dow began in Indianapolis with pharmaceutical research in 1967. While he was with Dow, he held various positions in research, marketing and general management. He also served in a variety of research and business positions in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Dr. Stavropoulos was named president of Dow USA in 1990, and was elected vice president of Dow Chemical Company. He was then elected a senior vice president of Dow in May 1991, and became chief operating officer in 1993. He served as CEO in 1995-2000 and again in 2002-04, and was a member of Dow’s board of directors from July 1990 to March 2006 (he was succeeded by Andrew Liveris, a Greek Australian, who is also on this list).
Stavropoulos holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from Fordham University and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Washington. He is a director of Teradata Corporation, and on the advisory boards for Metalmark Capital LLC and Maersk Inc. He is a trustee of the Fidelity Equity and High Income Funds’ Board and is an Advisory Partner of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC, a private investment firm. Stavropoulos is non-executive chairman of Univar, the largest chemical distributor in the U.S.
Stavropoulos is also a past chairman of the American Chemistry Council, Society of Chemical Industry, and American Plastics Council. He served on the Board of Trustees at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
Just a few of his many awards and honors are AHEPA’s Man of the Year (1995), the Hellenic American Bankers Association Man of the Year (1997), an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Northwood University (1998), the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1998) and induction into Junior Achievement of Central Michigan’s Business Hall of Fame (2005). “Institutional Investor” magazine named him one of America’s best CEO’s three times (1998, 2003 and 2004). In 2010, he received the title of Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Stavropoulos and his wife, Linda, have two children, Bill and Angela, and six grandchildren.
31. CHRIS & HARRIS PAPPAS
Brothers Christopher J., 64, and Harris Pappas, 66, today lead privately-owned Pappas Restaurants, Inc., a company operating more than 100 restaurants in seven states. Chris Pappas is the company’s CEO. His brother is its president.
Pappas Restaurants grew from their father and uncles’ work at Pappas Refrigeration. Currently Pappas Restaurants has 11 brands, including Pappas Seafood Houses, Pappasito’s Cantinas, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchens, Pappas Bar-B-Q’s, Pappas Bros. Steakhouses, Pappas Burger, Yia Yia Mary’s Pappas Greek Kitchen and the Dot Coffee Shop. Each company has its own specialty, with Yia Yia Mary’s, for instance, specializing in Greek food: fish and mezedes (Greek, with a hint of Texas). Pappas Restaurants also has a food catering business. They recently added electric vehicle charging at their steakhouse.
Since 2001, the two have become major shareholders in the once-ailing, 67-year-old restaurant chain Luby’s, Inc., which is listed on the NYSE; the company’s market capitalization is currently $182 million. Luby’s acquired the 200-restaurant chain Fuddruckers, and three Koo Koo Roo California Kitchen eateries in June 2010 for $63 million. Chris Pappas is president and chief operating officer of Luby’s, which now has 93 Luby’s cafeterias, 62 Fuddruckers, 20 Cheeseburger in Paradise full service restaurants and bars, 1 Koo Koo Roo Chicken Bistro, and 1 Bob Luby’s Seafood Grill restaurant. Harris Pappas was its Chief Operating Officer until his retirement in 2011.
Chris Pappas serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Houston Partnership and is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. He was inducted into the college’s Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor in 2009. Chris is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Restaurant Association, the Texas Restaurant Association, and the Greater Houston Restaurant Association and is an Advisory Board member of Amegy Bank. In 2001, he was inducted into the Texas Restaurant Association Hall of Honor. He is also a member of the Houston Food Bank’s Capital Campaign Committee and he has assisted in raising over $50 million for the organization. Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Maria have been married 30 years and have five children.
A graduate of Texas A&M, Harris Pappas was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving one year in Thailand and one year in Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars and three Army Commendation medals. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Oceaneering International, Inc., a publicly held oil and gas operations firm, and also served a 10-year term on the Board of Trustees of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston. He is an advisory director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and of Bank-Frost National Houston. He is on Schreiner University’s Advisory Board. He is a member of the Texas A&M Foundation Development Advisory Committee and serves on the Education Development Council Advisory Committee. He has received awards from both Texas A&M University and the school’s Mays College of Business. Harris is also a member of the World President’s Organization. He is also a founder of the Hellenic Foundation, which endeavors to raise scholarship money for seminary students attending Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. An avid boater and fisherman, he and his wife, Vicky Marinos Pappas, have six children and two grandchildren.
The brothers’ grandfather, H.D., arrived in the U.S. in 1897 and became a restaurateur. His sons followed his lead with endeavors including opening Pappas Bar-B-Q. The Pappas Brothers are often help nonprofit groups and churches renovate their kitchens. Highly involved in the Annunciation Cathedral of Houston, both brothers were granted the title of Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 2008.
31. ANGELO K. TSAKOPOULOS
Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, 77, was born to a farming family in the village of Rizes, in Arcadia, Greece. His father, a butcher, struggled to feed five children.
He first came to the United States in August 1951, sailing past the Statue of Liberty on his 15th birthday. As a college student at Sacramento State University, he waited tables at night in the Johnson’s Del Prado restaurant and sold real estate on weekends. He would eventually leave Sac State a few credits shy of graduation to work full time. At 21 years of age, he had already stockpiled experiences likely unfathomable to many of his fellow undergraduates: war, deprivation, emigration and stints as both a shoeshine boy in Chicago and a farmhand in Lodi. And he had begun laying the groundwork for his future, arguably becoming the most significant force to shape Sacramento since John Sutter. He boxed in college. His former boxing teammates say the elements of his larger-than-life persona were present even in the days when he was studying business, philosophy, and history under the Americanized surname of Chicos, a name he later dropped to reclaim his family name.
Tsakopoulos has since climbed to prominence through uncommon business acumen and sheer tenacity. He turns on the charm with politicians, plays hardball with environmental regulators, and promotes big ideas for the region. In recent years, he’s offered to donate farmland he controls in Placer County for a private university, and to help fund its construction by developing adjacent acreage. He has proposed that the region open thousands of acres of ranchland he controls along the Sacramento-El Dorado County line for development, using some of those proceeds to fund a new arena for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. He also grows wine grapes in Borden Ranch and walnuts at an orchard outside Wheatland.
In late 2010, his family purchased Conaway Ranch, a 17,244 property of farming and ranching land as well as wetlands and water resources west of Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee reported the family already held 18,000 acres of farmland and vineyards and 40,000 acres of cattle grazing land in Northern California.
Tsakopoulos’ older brother George, who passed away in 2009, followed him to Sacramento, and also went into real estate. George’s family controls thousands of acres in the region. Angelo is founder of AKT Development Corporation, now headed by his son, Kyriakos, which controls about 40,000 acres of land in the region and neighboring San Joaquin County.
He has also carved out a niche for himself as a major player in and fundraiser for the Democratic Party, and as a standard bearer for Greek political and cultural interests in America. The developer and his children have raised and contributed millions on national, state and local campaigns and issues over the past decade. Democratic Presidential candidates aside, a few of the major recipients include former California Governor Gray Davis, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Tsakopoulos is also dedicated to advancing the careers of Greek-American politicians, including former California state treasurer and once-gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides. His daughter, Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, is currently U.S. Ambassador to Hungary. Tsakopoulos and his family have established Hellenic Studies chairs at several major American universities across the country, Georgetown, Stanford and Columbia among them.
32. JENNIFER ANISTON
Popularly and affectionately known as “America’s Sweetheart,” Jennifer Aniston, 45, once lived in Crete and Athens in her childhood as Jennifer Anastassakis. The daughter of famous daytime soap opera star John Aniston (Days of Our Lives), she eclipsed her father’s television fame and success with her own role as Rachel Green on the eternally popular situation comedy, “Friends.” In the show’s final years (it ran for ten seasons), Aniston and her five castmates struck what was then a record deal – $1 million each per episode – and she still collects a sizeable paycheck from the now-iconic sitcom’s syndication.
Born in Sherman Oaks, Ca., Aniston’s family relocated to New York after their stay in Greece. Her parents divorced when she was 9, and she was raised by her mother, Nancy Dow. She began her professional training as a drama student at New York’s School of Performing Arts, aka the “Fame” school. It was a division of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts. She appeared in various off-Broadway productions, television series and films, until 1994 when “Friends” came along.
She continues to have success on the little screen — most recently in Tina Fey’s “30 Rock,” but Aniston’s film career has been somewhat hit-or-miss. Films like “The Switch” (2010) were considered bombs, but have been more than offset by box office bonanzas like “The Breakup” (2006) and “Marley & Me” (2008), which helped established her as a movie star.
In 2011, she reportedly made over $20 million selling her Beverly Hills home for $35 million: twice the price that she bought it.
Forbes, which gave a net worth for her of $110 million in 2007, more recently placed her at #64 on its “Celebrity 100” list, reporting last June that she made $20 million over the past year. The actress, who cranks out at least two films a year, has also been a producer in recent years. She divorced from superstar actor Brad Pitt seven years ago, but remains magazine-cover gold.
In February she received her own Hollywood Walk of Fame Star. Some of her awards include the Screen Actors Guild (1996), Emmy (2002), Golden Globe (2003) and People’s Choice (four times) Awards, and has assisted and worked with many charities like Rain (an anti- sexual assault organization), St. Jude’s and various cancer-fighting organizations.
33. THEODORE G. SPYROPOULOS
AUTOMOTIVE PARTS, PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
Theodore G. Spyropoulos may be known to most as current World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) USA Region Coordinator, but he’s also an accomplished businessman in the Chicago area.
Born and raised in Kalavryta, Greece, at age 14, Spyropoulos went to Athens for his high school studies. He studied Political Science in Sweden. In Sweden, he met his artist wife, Erika Knickman Spyropoulos.
After completing his military service in the Greek navy between 1962 and 1964, he and his wife immigrated to the U.S., where his brothers lived. Previously, the family had arrived in the U.S. in 1888, with his grandparents Theodore and Aglaia Spyropoulos establishing the successful Maple Leaf chocolate company, which was a source of employment for many Greek immigrants over the years.
Within a few years of establishing themselves in their new country, Spyropoulos and his wife founded T.G.S. National Wholesalers in 1975. The company specializes in wholesaling of automotive parts and its operations extend to Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.
One business led to another. In 1980, the couple launched, T.G.S. Petroleum Co, Inc. In 2009, select assets of the company were acquired by World Fuel Services Corporation, a Miami, Fla.-based international supplier of marine, aviation and land fuel.
In 1985, he was a co-founder of CAM2 International, a motor oil lubricants company purchased from Sunoil. CAM2 International continues to grow, with over $500 million in annual sales. The company produces agricultural and industrial chemicals too – all of which are made at four refineries in the U.S.
Since 1976 he has complete ownership of A&T Holding Company, which is a real estate holding company. He was previously director of Swiss-based GTE Engineering, Automotive Wholesalers of Illinois.
Spyropoulos has been President of SAE USA since 2006, involved in the reorganization of SAE’s international organization to be politically and financially independent from the Greek government and to, as he says. “have a true representation” of 10 million Greeks abroad. A million trees – and the seeds of more environmentally-conscious minds- have been planted in Greece through the Plant Your Roots in Greece Foundation, under Spyropoulos’ leadership.
The invasion of Cyprus in 1974 was an issue that first propelled Spyropoulos into campaigning for Hellenic issues. He was among the founders that year and a president of the American Hellenic Institute in Washington, D.C. He also was the first president of the Hellenic American National Council, founded in 1991.
He is currently a chairman of Hermes Expo International. He was president of the ENOSIS Federation of Hellenic American Organizations of Illinois between 1991-2006.
“Education is the number one priority on my mind,“ says Spyropoulos, whose Spyropoulos Scholarship for Hellenic-American Students of Hellas and USA has benefitted over 300 people since 1982.
Among his many distinctions, Spyropoulos is most proud of his Ellis Island Medal of Honor received in 2001, a tribute to his family’s early roots in America. In 2011, Hellenic Public Radio “Cosmos FM” in New York presented him with the 2011 “Phidippides Award,” presented to individuals who contribute to the dissemination and preservation of Hellenism with distinction on an international level.
He and wife have one daughter, Mariyana, who is an attorney and an environmental commissioner in Cook County.
34. ARIANNA STASSINOPOULOS HUFFINGTON
Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, 63, is a nationally syndicated columnist, author of thirteen books, and the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a popular news website. The Huffington Post, a media phenomenon and opinion-shaper, was born of the brains and charisma of the indefatigable Greek American woman who is listed as 56th on Forbes’ 2013 list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. She and her partners sold the site to American Online for a neat $315 million in February 2011. She remains editor-in-chief of the new Huffington Post Media Group. In 2013, the 8-year-old site had reached 250 million comments.
Huffington was said to own some 14 percent of the site at its sale. According to Huffington, the company has some 1,400 paid journalists (including 800 Patch writers for AOL), yet the heart and soul of the operation are still the big name pro bono bloggers like Alan Dershowitz and playwright David Mamet. Forbes wrote, “The site’s success had been fueled by an army of 9,000 free bloggers and high-profile contributors.” There are today some 20,000 bloggers and 36 million unique visitors a month. Huffington Posts were launched in Canada, the U.K.. France, Spain, Germany, Japan, and Brazil, as well as a U.S.-based Spanish-language edition.
The Post was born in May 2005 and is one of the most widely read, linked to, and cited sites on the Internet. The rapid success of The Post catapulted Arianna to the Time 100, Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.
She was born Arianna Stassinopoulos in Athens, Greece, the daughter of Konstantinos, who was a journalist and management consultant, and Elli Georgiadi. She moved to England at age 16 to attend Cambridge University and has ridden a wave of energy, intelligence and charisma more or less straight through to her triumph with The Post. The Times of London described her, back in 1971, as “glamorous, with lots of charm. Her clothes are stunning.” She graduated with an M.A. in economics from Cambridge’s Girton College. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.
She moved to the United States in 1980 and was married to California oilman Michael Huffington in 1986. In the late 1980s, she wrote several articles for National Review and her husband, a Republican, served in the U.S. House of Representatives before his career ended when he lost a close race for the U.S. Senate in 1994. The couple divorced in 1997 and by then, she had gained national prominence and begun to shift to the political left. She told The Financial Times that she had “long been interested in steering her conservative friends towards social activism and the problems of worsening inequities in American life.” Nonetheless, Ms. Huffington’s first foray into the Internet was a website called Resignation.com, which called on President Clinton to resign. In 2003, she ran as an independent candidate for Governor in the California recall election.
Huffington makes guest appearances on television shows. She serves on several boards of community service groups, including A Place Called Home, which works with at-risk children in South Central Los Angeles. She also serves on the board of EL PAIS and the Committee to Protect Journalists. She has two daughters.
35. CONSTANTINE IORDANOU
Constantine “Dino” Iordanou, 63, is president, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Arch Capital Group, Ltd, a Bermuda-based insurance/reinsurance global giant.
The CEO’s journey began in Cyprus. He arrived in the U.S. and worked his way through New York University, earning a B.S. in aerospace engineering before entering the insurance industry in a trainee role at American International Group (AIG).
Iordanou told the publication Risk & Insurance in 1999 that it was when AIG chairman Hank Greenberg noticed him in 1980 that he was promoted. In 1987 he moved onto Berkshire Hathaway, where he worked up to heading their commercial casualty operations. From March 1992 through December 2001, Mr. Iordanou served in various capacities for Zurich Financial Services and its affiliates, including as senior executive vice president of group operations and business development of Zurich Financial Services, president of Zurich American Specialties Division, chief operating officer and chief executive officer of Zurich American and chief executive officer of Zurich North America.
He joined Bermuda-based Arch (NASDAQ: ACGL) in December 2001 as its president and member of its Board of Directors. In 2003, Iordanou was appointed president and CEO of Arch Capital Group, Ltd. In November 2008, he was also appointed to the post of Chairman of the Board.
Rated one of Forbes’ Global 2000 Leading Companies in 2013, Arch had $5.84 billion in capital at the end of 2013, with stocks valued at about $56 in March 2014.
Arch writes insurance and reinsurance on worldwide basis through operations in Bermuda, the US Europe and Canada. Its subsidiaries offer full range of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance products globally, with a focus on specialty lines of business. Some 34% of its work is in casualty and professional liability, about 33% for property/energy/marine and aviation. Arch Capital Group Ltd. recently completed acquisition of CMG Mortgage Insurance Company from CUNA Mutual Group and PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.
Iordanou, who is based in Glen Head, N.Y., has considerable stocks in the company and his compensation for 2012 was $10.4 million.
He is also a director at Verisk Analytics, Inc. of Jersey City, N.J., the American Insurance Association (AIA) and the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR).
He is a founding member and lifetime trustee of the Pancyprian Association of America, established in 1975. He also is a founding member of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Iordanou has previously served as a trustee of Roosevelt University and the College of Insurance and Risk Management.
His awards include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1999). He is married to Marianne Iordanou and they have three children.
36. GEORGE PERLEGOS
George Perlegos, 63, was for 22 years chairman & CEO of Atmel Corporation (NYSE: ATML), a global leader in the manufacturing of microcontrollers and other specialized electronics components in San Jose, Ca.
He was born in Tripoli, Greece. His family came to the United States when he was 12 years of age. Though he entered San Jose State University intending to study medicine, the semiconductor industry attracted his attention. He worked in Silicon Valley upon graduation, and then received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford, working at Intel and helping to found SEEQ Technology. He is legendary for his work on EEPROM flash memory technology at Intel.
He bootstrapped semiconductor company Atmel in 1984 with $23,000 of his own money. The company designs, develops, manufactures and sells a range of integrated circuits products, including microcontrollers and advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency components.
Perlegos was terminated in August 2006 after an investigation where the board of directors accused him and his brother Gust (an executive vice president of the company) of spending $235,000 in company funds on airplane tickets for themselves and their immediate families, although the Delaware Chancery Court expressed its “discomfort with the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation and with the decisions.”
Perlegos called a meeting to replace five of the existing board members, which the board attempted to cancel. In March 2007, the Delaware Chancery Court ruled that the shareholder meeting must proceed, but this action was completed after Perlegos was removed as president. The action resulted in a special shareholder vote, which failed to generate the necessary 50 percent for Perlegos.
In 2011, he reportedly participated in raising equity for eConais, a wireless module manufacturer and solutions company launched in 2010 in Patras, Greece and expanded to San Jose in 2012.
Atmel’s current market value is $3.54 billion. Despite the conflicts at Atmel, Perlegos remains a force in Silicon Valley as a semiconductor consultant. He is among a host of Greek names listed under the company Silicon Valley Seed Funding Group. Analysts have watched him evolve from a brilliant engineer at Intel into a respected leader of a billion-dollar public company. Atmel’s IPO (initial public offering) increased his net worth by millions.
In July 2013, Perlegos gave a lecture/interview with one of his former Atmel employees Jeff Katz at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Ca., in which he explained, “I sort of now have pretty much retired, and am trying to do all the things that I didn’t do while I was working inventing all these things. Also, helping my kids. I have three kids. One is an engineer. The other one is going through medical school, so we’re helping him out. And my daughter started university and is going to UPenn.”
George is married to Angeliki Perlegos. They are members of Leadership 100. Perlegos is a supporter of St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church in Stockton, Ca.
37. ANDREW N. LIVERIS
CHEMICALS, PLASTICS, MANAGEMENT
Australian-born Andrew Liveris, 59, is President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of international chemical, materials, agroscience and plastics global giant The Dow Chemical Company, which is based in Midland, Michigan. He succeeded William Stavropoulos, a friend and mentor (also listed here) in 2004 and became Chairman of the Board in 2006.
In 2012, Liveris contributed to spearheading The Hellenic Initiative (THI), a global, nonprofit, secular institution whose vision is to mobilize the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship, and economic development. He serves as Executive Committee Chairman of THI, whose inaugural banquet last October raised $1.9 million dollars.
Dow today has $57 billion in annual sales and 52,000 employees worldwide. Though the company’s stock has fluctuated in recent years, it rose 50 percent last year.
After a positive showing in the fourth quarter of 2013, Liveris was modestly optimistic about global economic growth, Forbes reported.
The Board of Directors nominated Liveris as a force to diversify the company. Among his important moves was acquiring specialty chemical company Rohm and Haas for $16.2 billion in 2008.
He is a firm believer in incentives for increasing manufacturing in the US again. He even wrote, and frequently speaks about, his 2011 book “Make it in America” on that topic. Among the products that the new Dow aims to make in America are new products, often with an environmentally-friendly or research-based core, such as solar shingles for homes.
In June 2011, President Obama named him co-chair of an Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which aims to pool the efforts of industry, schools and the government for innovation in fields like information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology.
He also aligned himself in 2011 with the president and billionaire Warren Buffett in calling for higher taxation rates for millionaires like himself.
Liveris has been at Dow for 36 years. He first started working in Australia in 1976 in manufacturing, engineering, sales, marketing, and business and general management.
Much of this time he worked in Asia, including 14 years in Hong Kong.
He has served as general manager for Dow in Thailand, and president of all Asia-Pacific operations. He has been a member of Dow’s Board of Directors since February 2004, and was named CEO in November 2004. He was elected as Chairman of the Board effective April 1, 2006.
The Dow CEO/Chairman with roots in Kastellorizo, Greece was born in Darwin, Australia. As he told students in a lecture in 2005, his grandfather was a Greek sailor who made the impromptu decision to stay in Darwin, after traveling there on a merchant ship at the start of the 20th century. Andrew Liveris attended the University of Queensland in Brisbane, graduating with a bachelor’s degree (first-class honors) in Chemical Engineering, and was awarded the University Medal for that year. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate in science from the school.
The Greek-Australian sits on the board of directors of IBM, and is vice chairman of the Business Council, and a vice chair of the Business Roundtable. He serves as president and chairman of the Board of the International Council of Chemical Associations.
He is a member of the U.S. President’s Export Council, the US-India CEO Forum, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and the American Australian Association. He serves on the board of trustees for The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, USCIB, and Tufts University.
Liveris is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of The Institute of Chemical Engineers, as well as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. In 2011 alone he received awards from the Committee for Economic Development, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) and the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute.
He was appointed Inaugural Chair of The University of Queensland in America Foundation in 2011.
In 2012, he was presented with the distinguished Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence. Liveris resides in Midland, Mich. with his wife Paula. They have three adult children.
38. GEORGE J. TSUNIS
George J. Tsunis, 46, founded Chartwell Hotels, LLC in 2006, building on a family tradition of hotel and restaurant ownership. The company currently owns and manages eight hotels and has two in development, including the Marriott, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn brands –in the states of New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Chartwell’s Holiday Inn at Williamsport, Pa. earned a “Newcomer of the Year award” from Holiday Inn in 2007.
Tsunis raised more than $500,000 for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. In September 2013, Obama nominated him for ambassador to Norway. He appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 16, after which the committee voted to send his nomination to the full Senate for final approval. At press time, that vote had not yet been scheduled.
Chartwell Hotel’s chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tsunis, makes a point of visiting the hotels as often as he can. “I don’t think there is any substitute for going and visiting the hotels as a management tool.” He notes, “Like all Greeks, my family started out in the restaurant business. And it’s all about hospitality and taking care of guests. We went from feeding them as coffee shop owners and restaurateurs, to now providing overnight accommodations.”
He added, “I’ve taken advantage of the downturn in real estate to pick up some properties. We are currently developing two hotels and a couple of office and mixed-use buildings, mostly in Pennsylvania.”
Tsunis added, “We are providing a lot of the picks and shovels for the Marcellus Shale.” He explained, “it’s the second largest natural gas find in the history of the world and there is an incredible need for hotels and office building and shopping centers an apartments throughout the northern tier of Pennsylvania.”
Tsunis and his family build on the legacy of his father, the late James Tsunis. James and his cousin Charles Tsunis began with coffee shops, carved out a name for themselves by building the Bonwit Inn on Long Island in 1971, and eventually invested in hotels and real estate. George Tsunis also oversees his family’s real estate and restaurant holdings, which include shopping centers and office buildings in the Northeast.
After studying at New York University, Tsunis was trained as an attorney at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. He was a partner at Long Island law firm Rivken Radler LLP, working in real estate development, zoning and land use.
Tsunis previously also was a Special Counsel to the Town of Huntington, Senator Alfonse D’Amato’s appointee on the U.S. Senate committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and an attorney for the New York City Council. He has worked on campaigns including those of Governor George Pataki (1994) and Suffolk County Executive Robert Gaffney (1999). His decisions on whom to support are based on what their stances are on the important issues of the community – the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greece, and Cyprus.
Active in both his local community and the Greek Orthodox Church, he was the youngest board of director member of Long Island’s Dowling College, his region’s American Red Cross chapter, and one of the youngest to receive the title of Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Order of St. Andrew.
He was named to the National Council of the Archons. He is also on the Board of Trustees of Touro Law School. He often actively works behind the scenes to promote the Hellenism and Orthodoxy’s interests in the U.S. and is a founding member of the Faith Endowment.
The Lycoming United Way presented him with The Douglas C. Dickey Humanitarian Award in 2012.
He and his wife, Olga, live in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. They have three children.
39. WILLIAM J. CATACOSINOS, PH.D
MINING AND UTILITIES
Dr. William J. Catacosinos, 82, has operated as a senior partner and principal of Laurel Hill Capital Partners, a private equity investment firm focusing on the power utilities industry, since 2000. His sons Bill and James are also partners. The company has offices in Jericho, N.Y., Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Catacosinos was a director of International Coal Group (ICG) from 2004 to 2011. ICG was a leading coal mining company operating in the United States, with more than 2,220 employees, which was acquired by Arch Coal in a massive $3.4 billion cash purchase in 2011.
That year, the ICG acquisition made big news in the coal business. ICG was principally engaged in the extracting and processing of steam and metallurgical coal in Northern and Central Appalachia. ICG produced, processed and sold steam coal from 13 regional mining complexes, which were supported by 13 active underground mines, 11 active surface mines and 11 preparation plants located throughout West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and Illinois.
Before the merger, ICG controlled around 318 million tons of metallurgical quality coal reserves and around 769 million tons of steam coal reserves. ICG also owned the Sago Mine in West Virginia, where 12 miners were killed during an explosion in January 2006. Shares at ICG soared with the news of the deal, which made Arch the second largest reserve holder of coal in the U.S.
The son of immigrants, Catacosinos was raised in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights in New York City. His studies at New York University included a master’s degree in administration and a PhD in economics. From 1953 to 1956, Catacosinos served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and from 1957 to 1969, he was Assistant Director at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y. He founded and was chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Data Systems, Inc., a computer manufacturer as well as pioneering heart fetal heart monitor company Corometrics Medical Systems, Inc., which was sold to American Home Products with big returns. He then went on to found and serve as Chairman and CEO of Applied Digital Data Systems, Inc. (ADDS), which was acquired in 1980 by NCR.
He was also chairman & CEO of Long Island Lighting Co., which built the controversial Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant (never used, though it bore a $6 billion price tag) on Long Island, from January 1984 to July 1998, pocketing a $42 million severance package after a controversial parting of the ways at the time.
From 2000 to 2004, Catacosinos served as chairman, president & CEO of TNP Enterprises Inc., the parent of Texas-New Mexico Power in Fort Worth, Texas. He then was CEO until 2005, when TNP was acquired by PNM, yielding double the initial investment.
He has served on the boards of Atlantic Bank of New York, The Center for the Study of the Presidency, First National Bank of Long Island, German American Chamber of Commerce, Ketema, Inc., Long Island Association, U.S. Life Corporation, Utilities Mutual Insurance Company and Preservation Services Inc.
Catacosinos has served as an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Graduate School of Business Administration and has lectured at many other business schools.
He and his wife, Florence, reside in Mill Neck, N.Y. A Cancer Research Professorship is named after the couple at Stony Brook University.
40. JOHN T. LYKOURETZOS
John Lykouretzos, 40, is a founder and portfolio manager the New York-based Hoplite Capital Management, a hedge fund firm he launched in 2003. As of the end of 2013, Hoplite’s portfolio value was more than $3.5 billion. Hoplite is a global long/short equity hedge fund that invests in public equities throughout the world. The firm manages funds for many renowned foundations, universities, family offices and high net-worth individuals.
Between 1999 and 2003 he was an Industrials analyst and financial services analyst and portfolio manager at Viking Global Investors, LLC. Before that, worked as an industrials analyst at Tiger Management Corporation and a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Lykouretzos graduated from Yale University in 2005 with a double major in economics and international studies. A star defensive tackle on its football team, he serves on the board of the Yale Football Alumni Committee. He was a three-time letterman who earned honorable mention All-Ivy honors under Yale’s Hall of Fame coach Carm Cozza. Lykouretzos led the Bulldogs in sacks two of his three years on the varsity. His biggest quarterback takedown came in a seven-tackle outing in The Game in 1993, when he pulled down the Harvard signal-caller on the last play of a 33-31 Yale win on their home turf.
In 2010, he donated a leadership gift to renovate the Carm Cozza Complex, a state-of-the-art facility at Yale’s Smilow Field Center.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much I love Yale and how grateful I am for the fantastic college career I had. I would pinch myself, almost daily, walking around campus,” said Lykouretzos at the complex dedication. “The honor I felt as a student was surpassed only by the honor of wearing the uniform, running out of the tunnel into the bowl and playing for Carm.”
Some of Lycouretzos’ associates at Hoplite include a 1998 lacrosse captain, a 2006 hockey player, and an all-Ivy 2001 running back.
He is Co-Chair of the Tiger Foundation, which strives to break the cycle of poverty in New York City. Lykouretzos also serves on the board of iMentor. The mission of that organization is to improve the lives of high school students from underserved communities through evidence-based, technology-enabled mentoring.
He married Joella Foster at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in 2001. They live in New York and have three children. Joella worked at Hoplite as director of investor relations and chief operating officer until 2008, when the couple welcomed their third child. Now serving as Hoplite’s managing director and chief administrative officer, the busy New Yorker rounds out her professional and parenting resumes with philanthropic and advisory roles at institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History.
41. TINA FEY
One of the highest-paid women in television in 2012-13 was none other than “Ms. Bossypants,” Elizabeth Stamatina “Tina” Fey, 43. Forbes reported she earned $10 million in 2013, less than she made in 2010-11, likely due to the ending of her critically acclaimed comedy “30 Rock” in 2013. The publication listed her as #79 overall on the Celebrity 100, ranking the world’s most powerful celebrities by various categories, including pay, press, and social networking. She tops the list of television actresses in marketability.
Her trajectory in show business was not a given, as she broke into comedy first as a member of the Chicago improvisational comedy group The Second City before getting her big break in New York City.
She put her comedic knack and writing to work as a writer for NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1997 to 2006.
Her wit lifted her to the top of that male-dominated organization, and she became the first female head writer in 1999, as well as a performer starting in 2000 through 2005. At SNL, she gave her own twist on current events as a co-anchor of the Weekend Update news segment. Life imitated art – and vice-versa – as she created the NBC television show ‘30 Rock,” which was inspired by her own SNL experience. Fey also put her stamp on American politics with a guest appearance back at SNL doing a spot-on impersonation of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2008. New York magazine reported that at SNL, Fey was making $1.5 million per year, while Forbes indicated that she earned $13 million as producer and head writer for “30 Rock” in 2010-2011, including her book sales. The previous year, her salary was listed as $7.5 million by the same publication.
Again, Fey’s turn to autobiography paid off for her, financially, as her book of autobiographical, self-deprecating anecdotes, Bossypants, sold a million copies. The New York Times estimated her advance for that book was at $5 million. Included are tales of her life growing up in Upper Darby, Pa., with plenty of references to both the Greek and German sides within her (from her mother and German/Scottish father, respectively). She talks in the book too of feeling very much a minority in college at University of Virginia, but always completely at home in the world of theater people.
Fey has written or starred in film comedies including “Mean Girls,” “Baby Mama,” “Date Night,” and “Megamind,” to name a few.
Her television work has paid off in eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Gracie Allen Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Writers Guild of America Awards.
Since 2007, Forbes, the New York Post, Time, People and other media sources agree in their listings that Fey is one of the most influential people today.
She is married to composer and producer Jeff Richmond and has two daughters.
42. MANUEL N. STAMATAKIS
INSURANCE, REAL ESTATE
Manuel “Manny” N. Stamatakis, 65, is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Valley Forge, Pa.-based Capital Management Enterprises (CME), one of the country’s leading employee benefits consulting company. Prominent in Philadelphia civic life, he is noted for his role in negotiating both the rescue and revitalization of the city’s historic shipyard and the creation of Drexel University’s College of Medicine.
When it came to the insurance business, he credits his success to knowing the details of the business inside and out and having the following rule of thumb: “Find the smartest people in that business and spend as much time with them as possible.”
Second-generation Greek Stamatakis was raised in Canonsburg, Pa. in what he calls a lower middle class household. Parents Marsha and Nicholas hailed from Karpathos and Rhodes islands, and he credits his Yiayia for teaching him about saving the coins he earned shining shoes at the local coffeehouse.
A scholarship student and fraternity president, he studied industrial engineering at Penn State University. After graduation in 1969, however, he was more interested in pursuing a part-time job in insurance than his engineering work. Together with a partner, he founded his first company, Stamritt, Inc., before launching Stamatakis and Associates in 1972, a company he folded into CME in the 1980s. He also created with a group of colleagues, First Financial Resources in the 1980s, a producers’ group with 100 offices nation-wide.
His insurance work first focused on individual retirement plans, before shifting into executive compensation and estate planning. In most recent decades, CME specializes in the lucrative business of group insurance and benefits consulting. He prides himself on saving corporate clients millions of dollars.
Stamatakis has been involved, since age 26, in real estate development projects. He is currently involved in a casino plan for Philadelphia.
On the civic side, he has been extensively involved in various ways in shaping the public life and business environment of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. In 1995 Governor Tom Ridge asked him to chair the Pennsylvania IMPACCT Commission, which was charged with finding ways to trim government spending in Pennsylvania. The Commission identified over $5 billion dollars in potential savings. He chaired the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) between 1996 and 2003. He was pivotal in the effort to restore Philadelphia as a major shipbuilding center, helping to create a partnership with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia and the Federal Government to build the newest and most modern Commercial shipbuilding facility in the United States. He told TNH: “We brought in a world-class shipbuilding company from Norway to run the Yard and they are currently undertaking the construction of the 17th and 18th ocean-going commercial ship at the Yard, representing more than 50 percent of all such ships built in the entire United States since 2000.” He is currently on the boards of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and the Philadelphia Shipyard Development Corporation (Chairman).
He chaired, for 13 years, the Drexel University College of Medicine, an institution that he was involved in helping to create out of two ailing local medical institutions. He remains on the boards of both Drexel and its College of Medicine. The Manuel Stamatakis Endowment Scholarship for medical students has raised $2.5 million for Drexel’s future doctors through golf tournaments for students. He is an avid golfer.
He serves on numerous boards, including serving as chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the Philadelphia Shipyard Development Corporation and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Investment Advisory Board. He is on the board of companies including Crowley Chemical Corporation and Mistras Group, Inc. to name but a few. He has, since the 1980s, raised “tens of millions,” according to Stamatakis, for Republican campaign fundraising, including the Presidential campaigns of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President George W. Bush.
A few of his distinctions include an honorary Doctorate of Business from the Drexel College of Business and the American Heart Association’s 2010 Heart of Philadelphia award.
www.cme-group.com, www.phillyshipyard.com, www.visitphilly.com
42. JAMES N. GIANOPULOS
James N. Gianopulos, aka Jim Gianopulos, 61, is Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, with international hits under his watch including the multi-billion-earning films “Avatar” and “Titanic.”
His father arrived in America in the 1950’s and ran a marine and industrial equipment manufacturing business. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Gianopoulos went on to study at Boston University, New York’s Fordham Law School, and New York University School of Law. Before specializing in entertainment law, however, he spent a summer working on a tanker and traveling the world.
He was in the news in 2011 fighting for anti-piracy legislation, although his career in the entertainment world began protecting the copyright privileges of members of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP). He went on to work at RCA/Columbia Pictures International Video and in funding/distribution for Paramount’s international pay TV.
In 1992, he was hired by Fox to run its international TV and worldwide pay TV. He was president of Twentieth Century Fox International from 1994 to 2000, before being appointed co-chairman along with Tom Rothman in 2000. “Gianopulos is a virtual unknown in Hollywood,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. But by 2007, Premiere counted them among the most powerful people in Hollywood.
Gianopulos was given the title of Chief Executive Officer in 2006 at Fox. In 2009, he and Tom Rothman were also appointed to oversee News Corporation’s Los Angeles-based creative production divisions, including the film and television studios.
They manage all film/TV production and marketing and global distribution through all outlets and markets, including all the new high-tech means.
Though recent years and the spread of streaming and piracy have seen declines in Hollywood box office profits, by 2006 the Gianopulos/Rothman team had overseen 20 movies that produced more than $100 million each domestically, and 26 movies that earned $100 million each internationally. “The Simpsons Movie”, the “X-Men” series, “The Devil Wears Prada,” the “Star Wars” Trilogy, the “Ice Age” series; and Fox Searchlight Pictures’ more “arthouse” successes like “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Sideways” were among the successes. Director James Cameron’s “Avatar” cost the studio $380 million, but earned $2.7 billion worldwide. Gianopulos took the helm alone after Rothman was ousted by Fox in 2012.
Gianopoulos, referring with pride to a “Greek Mafia” in Hollywood, makes sure that all of Hellenic Hollywood’s stars gather at his annual Easter party.
He is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, a member of the Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and a trustee of the American Film Institute.
Gianopoulos also serves on the National Entertainment Advisory Council for the Anti-Defamation League and The Brady Center.
He is on the X-Foundation Board of Trustees. He also has served on Honorary Committees for The Fulfillment Fund, The City of Hope and the Multiple Sclerosis Society for which he was the 2001 honoree, The Help Group, which honored him with its Humanitarian Award in 2005, the Alliance for Lupus Research and others. He has been a member and supporter of the Army Archerd Fund’s Board and on the Advisory Council of the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. He received a Gabby Award in 2011.
He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Ann, and their three daughters: Mimi, an up-and-coming actress, Alexa, and Niki.
43. RITA WILSON
NET WORTH: $20 MILLION
Rita Wilson, 57, is an American film and stage actress, producer – and most recently, singer too. She is wife of super-star actor and producer Tom Hanks. Born Margarita Ibrahimoff in Los Angeles, Ca. her father was a Pomak, or Bulgarian Muslim, born in Greece. Before emigrating to the U.S., he had lived in Bulgaria and Turkey; her mother was born and raised in a Greek village on the Albanian border. Her family changed their surname to Wilson, which was the name of a local street in Southern California.
As co-executive producer, Wilson is often credited with being the driving force behind Nia Vardalos’ smash-hit movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which became the highest-grossing independent film of all time. Wilson has had recurring roles in various television series, and has appeared in several movies, including “Midnight Caller,” “Volunteers,” “Bonfire of the Vanities,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “That Thing You Do,” and “Runaway Bride.” She also played Susan Borman, wife of astronaut Frank Borman, in the HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon,” and performed the role of Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of “Chicago” from June to August of 2006. Recently she appeared in the television series “The Good Wife.”
She has contributed to the Moffitt Cancer Center by donating “True Hearts” jewelry, made of sterling silver and 14-carat gold. The proceeds went to the benefit of several charities. She and her husband are members of the Greek Orthodox Church in Los Angeles. She has been married to Hanks since April 1988, and has two children. Factoring in her husband’s fortune, estimated to be $350 million, the couple’s net worth approaches $400 million. “Mamma Mia!”, the musical produced by the couple in 2008, made $600 million worldwide.
Wilson is the editor of the Huffington Post’ Huff/Post50 site for Baby Boomers.