NEW YORK – The 16th annual Capital Link ‘Invest in Greece’ Forum was held at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club on December 1. Nicolas Bornozis, Capital Link’s Founder and President welcomed the guests and Christos Panagopoulos, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, offered opening remarks.
In the evening a dinner was held at the Union League Club where George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO of the Libra Group, who was presented the 2014 Capital Link Leadership Award, gave an inspiring speech about building the New Greece.
A segment titled “Dawn of a New Era” included video messages by Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece, and Jyrki Katainen, an EU official who presented “The European Union Message.”
Samaras highlighted the progress made by the Greek economy over the last two years and declared that it now offers many opportunities for investors. “We are already witnessing the fruits of our joint efforts and international investors have already entered the Greek market,” he said.
“Our success story in Europe is a European success that will make all Greek-Americans proud,” concluded Samaras, who also praised the Forum as a key event for promoting potential investments to the U.S. public and for boosting the already strong, historic ties between the two countries.
The panels that were presented throughout the day included overviews of the global economy, Europe and Greece, and global capital markets.
Session also focused on sectors including telecommunications, banking, real estate, shipping and energy. Hon. Asimakis Papageorgiou, Greece’s Deputy Minister – Environment, Energy & Climate Change, spoke on energy policy and Paschalis Bouchoris, Chief Executive Officer – Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, spoke about the privatization program.
Konstantinos Skrekas, Minister of Development & Competitiveness of Greece was the keynote speaker during the luncheon and spoke about “The Restructuring of the Greek Economy – Achievements & Targets.”
CBS News correspondent Alexis Christoforous was the MC of the award dinner and introduced Logothetis as “a smart, charismatic and dedicated businessman who embraces his corporations moral and ethical responsibilities,” especially with respect to helping Greece emerge from its crisis.
Christoforous noted that the Libra Group has undertaken numerous educational and philanthropic initiatives, including the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award and its $10 million commitment to support startup businesses in Greece. Internship program gives young people opportunities to work at Libra Group locations around the world.
Bornozis greeted the guests and praised Logothetis. He also thanked everyone who contributed to the Forum’s success, including the official who travelled from Greece to perform the vital task of communicating with investors about what is now happening in Greece.
Panos Papazoglou Country Managing Partner Greece for Ernst & Young, which underwrote the dinner, offered remarks. He reinforced the message of Greece’s progress but emphasized the country is again at a crossroads with political crises looming. The keys to the future, he said, is maintaining a level of stability and EU economic recovery.
Amb. Panagopoulos congratulated and thanked Nicolas and Olga Bornozis and affirmed that the Greek people are in the last meters of their marathon and that “we are going to make it with the assistance of friends, compatriots and partners around Th world…people like George Logothetis, who despite his success has never forgotten his roots.”
“I am grateful, humbled and proud to receive this award,” said Logothetis during his acceptance speech before focusing on Greece.
The crisis “is a marriage of opportunity and duty…we believe we have to help our fellow Greeks and that anyone who invests now will benefit,” he said.
He emphasized the talent in the country, especially among the young. “The human capital we see in Greece is truly amazing,” Logothetis said, and noted that the winners of the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award value the mentoring they are provided even more than the investment funds they are given.
The Libra group has committed in investments and charitable endeavors $500 million to Greece.
Logothetis concluded his speech with a call for boldness and Bornozis, in his closing remarks said “we are ready for battle.”
Among the guests were Michel Spinellis, Greece’s Ambassador to the UN, Amb. George Iliopoulos, Greece Consul General in New York, and Manos Koubarakis, Greece’s Consul.
Noted investor John Calamos of Chicago was pleased with the Forum and the information it provided about the economic outlook and opportunities in different sectors. “They have to grow the private sector, that’s essential,” he said, but he is pleased to see a rise in entrepreneurship, especially among the young.
Nicholas Gage told TNH during a reception that if the Greek Parliament can select a new president and avoid new national elections, the political stability will enable the reforms that have been implemented so far to have an impact, “and the prospect for better days exists, but if there is a politic al crisis, everybody will take their money out and it will be a disaster.”
The Forum will conclude with Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean, ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.