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Society

For First Time, Richest Greek Shipping Oligarch is a Woman – Maria Angelicoussis

ATHENS – For the first time in a sector long dominated by powerful and colorful men, the richest Greek shipowner is a woman, Maria Angelicoussis, whose net worth is some $5.3 billion, after taking over his father’s company.

In a feature, the Bloomberg financial news agency said in a country where shipping is king that she is now queen of the hill in the traditionally male-dominated industry in which Greeks are the world leaders, billionaires whose companies are largely untaxed.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-01-31/a-40-year-old-woman-is-now-richer-than-any-man-in-greek-shipping

Only 40, she leads Angelicoussis Shipping Group, one of the biggest closely held shipowners in the world, inheriting the third-generation company from her father John, who passed away in 2021 at age 72.

As they did during Greece’s economic crisis that saw them flourish, the country’s shipping oligarchs prospered more during the now waning COVID-19 pandemic, the news site saying it’s because of a surge in freight rates.

Angelicoussis, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which makes her the second-richest person in Greece behind another woman, banking heiress Vicky Safra, Born Vicky Sarfati, Safra is a Greek citizen but lives in Crans-Montana and inherited her fortune, now $7.3 billion from her late husband, Brazilian banker Joseph Safra.

Angelicoussis declined to comment through a representative, said the news site, which added that she’s among a small but growing contingent of powerful women in shipping, ruled for generations by men like Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.

Women comprise only about a third of the workforce at ship-owning companies and just of 2 percent of seafaring crews, noted the report.

“Shipping was always considered kind of a man’s industry, but if you look around today it’s striking how many women are in very prominent positions or poised to be prominent,” Nigel Lowry, Athens correspondent for maritime intelligence firm Lloyd’s List told the news agency.

Angelicoussis joined Angeliki Frangou, Chief Executive Officer of Navios Maritime Holdings, as powerful women in the industry and The Union of Greek Shipowners in 2022 elected a woman as leader, Melina Travlos, for the first time in its century-long history.

It’s a family-centered business based on tradition and succession through generations in which the same names dominate, most keeping low profiles. Angelicoussis, an only child, was educated at Cambridge and was working as a junior doctor for the National Health Service in the United Kingdom in 2008 when the report said her father lured her back to work for him.

That came when global sea trade was less profitable and shrinking following the downfall of the US financial firm Lehman Brothers and the beginning of Greece’s financial crisis that lasted nearly a decade.

Angelicoussis’s father was “the best teacher,” Lowry said and he used his experience and expertise, and the loyalty of banks and shipyards, to grow its fleet of dry bulk ships, tankers and vessels that carry liquified natural gas.

That helped double the family’s fortune since 2016 and including ships on order, Angelicoussis’s fleet now includes 134 vessels valued at about $14 billion, according to maritime data consultant VesselsValue of her holdings.

She said her father’s death was a shock. “It was a very challenging time for me,” she said at a commodities summit in 2022. “I had to navigate personally mourning my father, who I was very close to,” as well as “big changes for the company.”

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