Greeks, Greek-Americans Included in Forbes World's Billionaires List 2017

The National Herald Archive

A record 2,043 billionaires made Forbes’ 31st annual ranking of the world’s billionaires, as featured in the March 28, 2017 issue of Forbes magazine.

(Read TNH’s 50 Wealthiest Greek-Americans 2017 List)

Over a dozen Greek-Americans, Greeks and Cypriots are included in Forbes' list published on Monday:

#315 Jim Davis & family, $5 B Jim Davis owns New Balance, which he bought in 1972 as a small shoemaker pumping out 30 pairs a day. Four years later he scored a big hit when the New Balance 320 was rated the best running shoe on the market. Today the $3.7 billion (est. sales) produces millions of athletic and casual shoes annually and has also expanded into clothing and equipment for lacrosse and soccer. New Balance is one of the few major firms still manufacturing some of its shoes in America -- churning out more than 4 million U.S.-made pairs annually.

#581 John Catsimatidis, $3.3 B John Catsimatidis moved with his family from Greece to New York when he was an infant and grew up in an apartment in Harlem. He worked as a grocery clerk while attending NYU but dropped out for the chance to own a piece of that shop. He opened his own grocery store in 1969 and had 10 stores by age 25. In addition to the Gristedes supermarket chain, he owns oil refinery United Refining in Pennsylvania, which he bought out of bankruptcy, and real estate in New York and beyond. Catsimatidis unsuccessfully ran for mayor of New York City in 2013.

#581 Tom Gores $3.3 B Tom Gores oversees more than 25 companies with some $6 billion in assets through his Los Angeles-based private equity firm, Platinum Equity. An Israeli immigrant, Gores grew up near Detroit and stocked shelves at his father's small grocery store. His brother, Alec, is also a private equity billionaire. Tom and Alec spent their 20s learning the buyout businesses together before splitting in 1995. A sports nut, he played football, basketball and baseball in high school and still coaches youth soccer and basketball teams.

#630 John Paul DeJoria, $3 B John Paul DeJoria is known for founding tequila maker Patron Spirits Co. and hair care company Paul Mitchell Systems. DeJoria slept in his car and sold shampoo door-to-door before he teamed up with Paul Mitchell in 1980 and turned $700 into hair-care outfit John Paul Mitchell Systems. The company is still going strong with an estimated $1 billion in annual revenues. DeJoria also has interests in a range of industries, including life sciences, yachts and telecom.

#814 Philip Niarchos, $2.5 B Philip Niarchos is the oldest son of the late Stavros Niarchos, one of the world's richest shipping magnates. The oldest of his four children with Eugenia Livianos, he inherited the bulk of his father's art collection. Bought in 1957 for $3 million from actor Edward G. Robinson, who needed to pay for his divorce, the art collection includes some of the world's most recognizable pieces. It is said to be the largest private collection of works by Van Gogh, including a self portrait of the Dutch master after he chopped off his ear.

#867 C. Dean Metropoulos, $2.5 B Turnaround king C. Dean Metropoulos' latest success is the snack foods brand Hostess. He and Apollo Global Management bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2013 for $410 million. In November 2016, Metropoulos and Apollo took Hostess public via a special purpose acquisition entity created by billionaire Alec Gores' private equity firm, The Gores Group. This was not the first time that Metropoulos, who emigrated from Greece with his parents at age 10, took a beaten-down brand and spruced it up.

#867 Alexander Spanos & family, $2.4 B After more than 50 years in San Diego, Alexander Spanos's Chargers announced in January their move to Los Angeles for the start of the 2017 NFL season. Spanos bought a controlling stake in the Chargers in 1984, and the team is now worth $1.9 billion net of debt. His grandchildren John and A.G. run the team, while son Dean serves as chairman. The son of Greek immigrants, Spanos started a catering company in 1951 with an $800 loan. He plowed the profits into real estate, including apartment complexes. Today his A.G. Spanos Co. develops master-planned communities and multifamily housing across the country.

#939 George Argyros & family, $2.2 B Real estate mogul George Argyros runs Arnel & Affiliates, which owns 5,500 apartments in Orange County, Calif. and nearly 2 million square feet of commercial real estate in southern California. Until recently, he was also a board member of DST Systems, First American Financial Corp. and Pacific Mercantile bank; he remains a shareholder in these and a handful of other companies. Argyros was once the largest stockholder in DST Systems, a Kansas software developer, but has sold the bulk of his and his family's shares under a 2014 agreement.

#973 Alec Gores, $2.1 B Alec Gores and his younger billionaire brother Tom Gores immigrated to the United States from Israel with their parents and four other siblings in 1968. Alec Gores started bagging groceries at his uncle's store soon after arriving; he didn't speak any English at the time. The brothers worked together at the beginning of their careers but went their separate ways in 1995 and have competed for buyout deals ever since. Alec Gores' The Gores Group has acquired 110 companies and has $2 billion in assets as of September 2016.

#973 Aristotelis Mistakidis, $2.2 B Aristotelis Mistakidis, known as "Telis, is the director of Glencore's copper business and owns a 3% stake in the commodities and mining giant. A citizen of both the United Kingdom and his native Greece, he attained billionaire status in 2011 when the IPO of Glencore went public on the London Stock Exchange. He fell off in 2016 due to a weak commodities market, but is back this year thanks to company stocks rising 213%. Mistakidis got his start in the commodities business at Cargill and joined Marc Rich & Co. in 1993. Shortly after, the firm was bought by management and renamed Glencore.

#973 Peter Peterson, $2.1 B Peter Peterson has one of the most distinguished resumes in America. He served as secretary of commerce under President Nixon, was chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers in the '70s and early '80s, cofounded Blackstone Group in 1985 with fellow billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, and then served as the chair of New York's Federal Reserve Bank from 2000 to 2004. He made most of his fortune at Blackstone and sold a chunk of his stake for $1.85 billion (pretax) in 2007 when the company went public.

#1.030 Maritsa Lazari & family, $1.94 B Maritsa Lazari is the widow of late billionaire Christos Lazari, who died in 2015, a few months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. The pair both emigrated from the same Cyprus village; she came with her family while he arrived at age 16 to strike out on his own, initially doing odd jobs like washing dishes. The couple, who met in London, married in 1965. Christos studied fashion design and eventually created a successful fashion line. The couple used the profits from that business to buy up property.

#1.098 Spiro Latsis & family, $1.99 B Spiro Latsis has been managing the family fortune since his father, Greek shipping tycoon John S. Latsis, passed away in 2003. The family still has a foot in the shipping business through Latsco Shipping, which owns a fleet of more than a dozen oil tankers and liquefied petroleum gas carriers. But the bulk of their wealth is now invested elsewhere in companies like EFG International, a Zurich-based private banking group where Latsis is a board director. The family also owns a substantial stake in oil company Hellenic Petroleum and Lamda Development, a publicly traded real estate developer active in southeastern Europe.

DONALD TRUMP DROPS 220 SPOTS President Donald Trump is the nation's first billionaire president, but he's not as rich as he used to be, according to the Forbes 2017 Billionaires List. The magazine put his net worth at $3.5 billion, down $1 billion from the rankings it issued a year ago. As a result, his position on the Forbes' ranking dropped 220 spots, leaving him tied with 19 others as the 544th richest person in the world.

Bill Gates remains in the top spot for the fourth year in a row and has been the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. Gates has a fortune of $86 billion, up from $75 billion last year. Warren Buffett, worth $75.6 billion, up from $60.8 billion in 2016, reclaimed the No. 2 slot, after a two-year hiatus. The biggest gainer on the 2017 list is Jeff Bezos (No. 3), whose fortune increased by $27.6 billion for a total net worth of $72.8 billion. This is Bezos’ first time in the top three. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega (best known for the Zara fashion chain) drops to No. 4, despite his net worth increasing to $71.3 billion. Rounding out the top five is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, worth $56 billion.

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