40. CHRIS & HARRIS PAPPAS – Texas
$220 MILLION (TNHE)
Brothers Christopher J. and Harris Pappas – 72 and 75 years of age, respectively, and still very much involved in their thriving family business – opened the first Pappas Restaurant in 1976. Today, the privately owned Pappas Restaurants, Inc. operate more than 100 restaurants in eight states. More recently, Chris’ and Harris’ children, all in their 20s and 30s, have taken on more prominent roles in the business, including marketing, real estate, culinary research and development, and construction.
Pappas Restaurants grew from the work of the brothers’ father, Jim, and his brothers at Pappas Refrigeration, which they opened in 1945. Pappas’ nine unique brands include Pappas Seafood House, Pappasito’s Cantina, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (which made the list of the 100 most romantic restaurants in America this year – the only Houston restaurant which made the cut), Pappas Grill Steakhouse, Pappas Burger, Yia Yia Mary’s Pappas Greek Kitchen, the original Dot Coffee Shop, which was established by their father Jim and his three brothers in 1967, and, most recently Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse. 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). The family-owned restaurant group will add another new concept restaurant to its empire: Pappas Shrimp Shack – as a pop-up for now, but one that will hopefully transition to its own permanent restaurant. Pappas Restaurants also has two food catering businesses and a food delivery business as well.
Chris and Harris Pappas serve as CEO and president, respectively, of Luby’s Inc., a publicly traded cafeteria chain founded more than 50 years ago. The brothers became majority shareholders in the company in 2001. Since 2018, Luby’s has been struggling and has had to close several locations after less-than-ideal performance. However, the Pappas brothers aren’t ready to give up on it yet.
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. One of their daughters, Victoria, married chef Aaron Bludorn (who worked at Cafe Boulud in New York for more than 10 years) who has decided to open up his own restaurant sometime in the summer of 2020 in Houston.
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 a member of the board of directors of Oceaneering International, Inc., a publicly held oil and gas operations firm, and also served a ten-year term on the board of trustees of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston. He is an advisory director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and of Bank-Frost National Houston. 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 a member of the World President’s Organization and on Schreiner University’s advisory board. He is 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 children and grandchildren.
The brothers’ grandfather, H.D., arrived in the U.S. in 1897 and became a restaurateur. Chris and Harris were encouraged to avoid the restaurant industry and given warnings about its long hours and unpredictable schedules. The brothers managed to stay away – for a little while. But the lure of the restaurant biz proved too strong for both brothers. Soon, Harris found himself managing his father Jim’s first restaurant, the Dot Coffee Shop, only to be followed shortly by Chris who stepped in at his brother’s request.
The Pappas Brothers 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. In 2016, Pappas Restaurants donated $500,000 to Texas Southern University which, in its newspaper, quoted Chris Pappas on that occasion: “on behalf of Pappas Restaurants, my brother Harris and I are proud to partner with Texas Southern University with this donation of more than a half a million dollars. The work that TSU does enriches not only the lives of the students on their campus, but also the entire Houston community. As native Houstonians, we strongly believe in supporting higher education in our hometown, and we are excited that our contribution will provide a place for students to live, study and support one another while pursuing a college degree.”
39. DR. WILLIAM S. STAVROPOULOS – Michigan
$235 MILLION (TNHE)
Fordham University (Pharmaceutical Chemistry); Married, 2 children
William S. Stavropoulos was born in 1939 in Southampton, New York. The son of Greek immigrants, he grew up in the nearby town of Bridgehampton, where his family owned and operated a very popular ice cream parlor and eatery – The Bridgehampton Candy Kitchen. He attended Bridgehampton School, where he excelled both academically and athletically. One of the sixteen students in his high school graduating class was his close childhood friend Carl Yaztrzemski, the beloved future Hall of Fame baseball star who played for the Boston Red Sox for 23 years. Stavropoulos holds a bachelor of science degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from Fordham University and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry from the University of Washington.
After a long and distinguished career at the Dow Chemical Company, where among other capacities he served as Chairman and CEO, Stavropoulos moved in a different direction: to president and founder of a 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 his work, which includes founding the Michigan Baseball Foundation. The Loons are affiliated with Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers. MBF’s mission, according to its website, is “to bring affordable, family-friendly entertainment to Mid-Michigan. Through the Great Lakes Loons MBF hopes to revitalize and reinvigorate the region and promote greater economic and civic prosperity.” In 2019, Brad Tammen was named the new President and General Manager of the Great Lakes Loons after what Stavropoulos called a “nationwide search.”
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 spent 39 years at Dow. In addition to leading the company, 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. 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 from 1995 to 2000 and again from 2002 to 2004, 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 featured infra). As Stavropoulos was a chemist before he became an executive, he was ambitious for Dow to become an industry leader with a commitment to ethical practices. According to Reference for Business, he focused research and development on bringing new products to market using the chemical-industry standards of Responsible Care and strived to adhere to sustainable development – that is, the use of raw material and energy obtained from biomass rather than petroleum. Stavropoulos received the prestigious American Section Award from the Society of the Chemical Industry in 2001, not only for his role in making Dow a global leader in the chemical industry but also for the high standards he imposed on the industry in the process.
Stavropoulos is a director of Teradata Corporation, and on the advisory boards for Metalmark Capital LLC and Maersk Inc. In May 2019, it was announced that Stavropoulos would be replaced by Christopher D. Pappas as Independent Lead Director of Univar, the largest chemical distributor in the United States. Stavropoulos will continue to serve on the Board.
Stavropoulos is 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. Among his 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 CEOs 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 several grandchildren. In 2016, the Bill and Linda Stavropoulos Family Foundation made a $10 million gift to the University of Notre Dame for the creation of a center specializing in biophysical research in the College of Science.
38 THEODORE ANTHONY SARANDOS, JR. – California
(Celebrity Net Worth)
Married, 2 children
Theodore (“Ted”) Anthony Sarandos Jr. is a Greek-American businessman. The fourth of five children, Sarandos’ father was an electrician. In a recent interview, Sarandos revealed his Greek heritage detailing how his paternal grandfather came from the Greek island of Samos to the US as a young boy. Their original family name was Kariotakis, which his grandfather later changed to Sarandos. In the same interview with The Standard, Sarandos described his first visit to Samos with his children:“My father described it: ‘You get into the port. Make a left. Look up the hill. There’s a yellow house with goats in the yard.’ I’m like, ‘it can’t be that simple.’ But it was. My kids were excited to meet their family. We knock on the door but they don’t speak English, and I don’t speak Greek, so I am trying to explain who I am, and finally they close the door on us. “Sarah [his daughter] starts crying, ‘I thought we were going to see our family.’ I go, ‘Sarah, imagine if someone came to the door and started screaming at you in Chinese.’ But back at the hotel the manager wrote them a letter. So I handed it to them and five minutes later we are eating together and drinking together.”
Born in Phoenix, AZ, Sarandos is best known for being the Chief Content Officer of Netflix. He is responsible for overseeing the company’s annual budget of more than $15 billion (gross) as well as the teams responsible for the acquisition and creation of all Netflix content.
Sarandos has been responsible for all content operations since 2000, and led the company’s transition into original content production that began in 2013. Before that, Sarandos was an executive at video distributor ETD and Video City/West Coast Video. He oversaw the production of series such as ‘House of Cards’, ‘Arrested Development’, ‘Orange is the New Black’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Dark’ (Germany), ‘La Casa De Papel’ (Spain), and ‘Sacred Games’ (India), as well as original films like ‘The Irishman’, ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’, ‘Bright’, ‘Bird Box’, and the 3-time Academy Award winning film ‘ROMA’.
Sarandos is also responsible for the company’s massive investment in the UK, which resulted in over 40 shows including global hits like ‘Our Planet’ and ‘The Crown’. More recently, Sarandos has landed big-ticket production deals with Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy, Kenya Barris, Marti Noxon and the Obamas. Sarandos is married to Nicole Avant, the former United States Ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009-2011 who was appointed to the post by former President Barack Obama. Sarandos landed among the 100 most influential people in the world in the ‘Titans’ list of Time magazine (a/k/a TIME 100). He is also a member of the Tribeca Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival boards and he has been named Consultant of the Digital Entertainment Group. He has served on Spotify’s board since 2016. In June 2020, Sarandos is heading to Canada’s Banff World Media Festival to give a keynote address.
37. CONSTANTINE IORDANOU
$270 MILLION (WALLMINE)
New York University; Married, 3 children
Constantine ‘Dinos’ Iordanou, 69, was president, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Arch Capital Group, Ltd, a Bermuda-based insurance/reinsurance global entity until 2018.
Born in Cyprus, Iordanou was the eldest of six children with a father who was a policeman. In an interview with Risk & Insurance, Iordanou recalls that in the house of his father “you were expected to work hard and make something of yourself. All of the kids had jobs after school. The money they earned was theirs for pocket money – but sometimes it was needed to help the family cover its grocery bills.”
When Iordanou was 17, he boarded the SS Queen Anna Maria to the United States and journeyed by himself for 17 days. After he arrived in America, he called his father, who asked him whether he had gotten a job already and whether he had registered for school – not whether he was OK. Iordanou settled in Astoria, NY with one of his uncles. His first job was pumping gas at a Shell station; he also washed dishes in a nursing home, drove a cab, and worked as a cook. Iordanou ended up working his way through New York University, earning a BS in aerospace engineering before entering the insurance industry as a trainee at American International Group (AIG). He started working upwards of 80 hours a week – not because it was asked of him, but because he wanted to.
According to Risk & Insurance, Iordanou’s big break came after the passage of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1976, which called for closer governance of hazardous waste disposal. Iordanou was given the responsibility of creating an environmental liability group at AIG. It was after this that Hank Greenberg, then AIG chairman, noticed him.
In 1987 he moved on to Berkshire Hathaway, where he worked his way up to heading their commercial casualty operations. From March 1992 through December 2001, Iordanou served in various capacities for Zurich Financial Services and its affiliates, including 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 appointed chairman of the board. He retired from the company in March 2018. His stated reasons for retiring are to spend more time with his grandchildren, focus on philanthropy, play golf, travel for leisure, and many other activities. 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 which was established in 1975. He is also 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. In May of 2018, Iordanou and Marianne received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Our Lady of Mercy Academy for his philanthropic efforts. “For the past fifteen years, Dinos and Marianne have been actively involved with Mercy: As parents of Mercy graduates, they spearheaded the campaign to build a turf field ten years ago. They have continued to work tirelessly on many projects to benefit Mercy students now and into the future.” Iordanou was honored in May, 2016 by the PanCyprian Association, whose president, Philip Christopher, said that they were honoring him in particular because he never forgot his roots. Christopher said, “he has been a trustee of our association from day one and as CEO of Arch, he went to Cyprus and opened an office there employing 20 Greek Cypriots. Hopefully other companies will follow.”
36. D. JAMES BIDZOS – Virginia
$290 MILLION (TNHE)
D. James Bidzos, 64, is another Greek-American who prospered in the information technology revolution. Founder, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Verisign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), which provides domain name registry services and Internet security worldwide, Bidzos’ company offers a range of security services, including cyber-threat reporting. Verisign currently manages $21 billion worth of .com domains, with each domain selling for $7.85 annually.
Bidzos served as Verisign’s 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. His compensation increased by 46% in 2013 to $8.5 million, including his bonus and stock awards.
Born in Greece, Bidzos 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 1990s. 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 Virginia-based Verisign 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 projects. In 2009, it sold its security service business to SecureWorks and its security consulting business to AT&T. Verisign now focuses on its Internet infrastructure services. Among the company’s services are providing .com, .net, .cc, .tv, .name, and .jobs domain names for websites. According to Simply Wall Street, over the last three years Verisign has grown its earnings per share by an average of 9.9% per year, achieved revenue growth of 3% over the last year, and has provided for a total return of 147% over three years.
Bidzos has been named one of Time magazine’s Digital 50, and is in CRN’s Computer Industry Hall of Fame. In September 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration named Bidzos, who is a certified pilot, to the FAA Airmen Certification Database. In late 2016, the National Cyber Security Hall of Fame honored Bidzos, who is an inductee, by naming him keynote speaker at its fifth annual award ceremony in October in Baltimore, MD, for his “key role in the creation of the cyber security industry.”
34. JENNIFER ANISTON – California
$300 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)
TELEVISION AND FILM
New York’s School of Performing Arts
It’s official (and hard to believe), the U.S.’s Greek-American sweetheart, Jennifer Aniston, just celebrated her 51st birthday.
Born in Sherman Oaks, CA, Aniston spent about a year of her childhood in Greece known as Jennifer Joanna Anastassakis. The daughter of Nancy Dow (a direct descendant of the royal House of Stuart of Scotland – making Aniston a royal) and 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 sitcom, Friends (1994-2004). Aniston and her five castmates struck what was a record payday at the time – $1 million each per episode for the last three seasons of the show – and she still collects sizeable residuals from the still-wildly popular sitcom’s syndication ($20 million/year as per USA Today’s calculation in 2015). Thanks to her portrayal, Rachel Green, the character Aniston played on the show, became so popular that the hairstyle she wore in the sitcom began to be known as The Rachel. In February of 2020 it was announced that the original Friends cast would reunite for an HBO Max Special (a new streaming service) in May of the same year.
Aniston has continued to appear in feature films and is often cast as the ‘girl-next-door’ type, but sometimes as a quirky villain. In 2018, Aniston made her Netflix debut with the musical comedy Dumplin. In 2019, she was seen alongside Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell in the Apple TV and drama series The Morning Show (earning $2M per episode) as well as Adam Sandler in Murder Mystery. Her success has propelled her to even greater fortunes, topping $300 million in net worth this year.
Aniston began her professional training as a drama student at New York’s School of Performing Arts – a division of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts. In 2015, Aniston told Collider that although she had a love for the theater growing up in New York City, her parents were pretty strict on her time in front of the television. “I was hell-bent because my dad was just begging me not to be in the industry. He said, ‘I do not want your heart broken. The rejection is brutal. Please, please, please don’t do that. Become a lawyer.'” she said. “That was my one rebellion. I was hoping that I was going to make it so that I could prove him wrong.”
While she was at school, Aniston thought there was something wrong with her – she thought she was ‘stupid’ – but was later diagnosed as dyslexic. She went on to appear in various off-Broadway productions, television series and films, until 1994 when Friends came along.
Besides her lucrative acting career, Aniston is in demand as a spokeswoman for brands such as Aveeno and Vitamin Water. In 2011, she reportedly made over $20 million selling her Beverly Hills home for $35 million, twice the price at which she bought it for.
The actress has also been a director and producer in recent years. She directed one of five segments that made up the cable TV movie Five (2011), which focused on women living with breast cancer and was one of 100 artists and other public figures to narrate the documentary film Unity (2015), which “investigates human existence and interconnectivity.” She received her own Hollywood Walk of Fame Star in February 2013 – the first actor from Friends to be honored with a star. Some of her other 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. She was also named GQ magazine’s first ever Woman of the Year in 2005 and was Ellen Degeneres’ very first guest for the very first episode of The Ellen Show in 2003.
Aniston’s personal life is often a source of media attention, especially her relationships with actors Brad Pitt, whom she first met on a blind date and later married from 2000 to 2005, and Justin Theroux, whom she wed in 2015; the couple announced in 2018 that they were divorcing.
Aniston is a well-known activist and a philanthropist. She has donated generously to different philanthropic organizations such as Doctors without Borders, AmeriCares, Feeding America, Clothes Off Our Back, EB Medical Research Foundation, OmniPeace, Project A.L.S., Friends of Al Faro, and many others. Aniston has also contributed appreciably to the cause of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and has hosted shows like Stand Up For Cancer and It Can’t Wait.
34. MICHAEL G. PSAROS – New York
$300 MILLION (TNHE)
Georgetown University (Business); Married, 3 children
Michael Psaros, 52, is a co-founder and co-managing partner of private equity fund, KPS Capital Partners, LP, and a member of its investment committee. KPS Capital Partners, LP is one of the world’s leading private equity firms, with approximately $11.5 billion of assets under management. KPS acquires and then turns around, non-core, underperforming, or distressed manufacturing and industrial companies on a global basis. KPS’ unique investment strategy has resulted in the creation of world-class, industry leading companies.
KPS Portfolio companies currently have aggregate revenues of approximately $8.4 billion, operate 142 manufacturing facilities in 26 countries, and employ approximately 28,000 associates, directly and through joint ventures.
Psaros is the son of George and Mary Ann Psaros and grandson of four Greek immigrants from Chios and Halicarnassus (Bodrum) in Asia Minor. He grew up in Weirton, WV, where the lifeblood of the town was the Weirton Steel Division of National Steel. Psaros’ father was a senior executive in the steel mill, and his great-grandfather worked in the open hearth furnaces. 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 manufacturing in America. Psaros subsequently co-founded his own private equity firm, KPS Capital Partners, LP, in partnership with Keilin and David Shapiro.
Psaros is the former Treasurer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America and served on its Executive Committee. During his two-year tenure in office, he led the successful financial and organizational restructuring of the Archdiocese. The changes Psaros implemented were transformative, resulting in a balanced budget and accompanied by new practices to promote accountability, responsibility, and transparency.
Psaros is an Archon, Ostiarios, of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, where he serves on its National Council. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of Friends of St. Nicholas and as Treasurer of the St. Andrew Ecumenical Patriarch Fund. He is also a founding member of FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Leadership 100 – Advancing Hellenism and Orthodoxy in America, the Executive Board of The Hellenic Initiative, and is a proud member of AHEPA.
Psaros received Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, the Homeric Award from the Chian Association, the Socrates Award from AHEPA, the Humanitarian Award from the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, the Executive of the Year Award from the Hellenic American Bankers Association, the Hellenic Heritage Award from the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church, the Phidippides Award from Hellenic Public Radio (Cosmos FM), and the Inspiration Award from the Loukoumi Foundation. He was recognized by the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity and gave the keynote address at the Centennial Gala of the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church of Weirton, West Virginia.
Psaros supports the Washington ‘Oxi’ Day Foundation, and delivered the ‘Oxi’ Day speech in the Armed Services Committee Chamber of the U.S. Senate in 2015.
Psaros serves on the Board of Directors of Georgetown University and he and his wife created The Michael and Robin Psaros Endowed Chair in Business Administration at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business where he also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Advisors. Psaros was honored by the Georgetown University Wall Street Alliance at its gala at Cipriani in New York City.
Psaros is also the Executive Producer and underwriter of the documentary short film, PISTEVO, about the centrality of Iconography in the Orthodox Christian Faith, which may be viewed at www.theartofbelief.org. The film has been viewed in over 20 countries by tens of thousands of the faithful. PISTEVO won The Award of Excellence at the IndieFEST Film Awards.
33. PETER J. BARRIS – Virginia
$315 MILLION (TNHE)
Northwestern University (Electrical Engineering); Married, 2 children
Peter J. Barris, 68, is a venture capitalist known for helping to launch companies including Groupon, CareerBuilder, SalesForce, TiVo, Jet.com and Diapers.com. Forbes included him on its Midas List of the world’s best venture capitalists and technology investors for several years between 2007 and 2014. He was managing general partner of leading venture capital investor New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA) from 1999 to 2017, having joined the company in 1992.
At NEA, he led investments in over 25 companies that have gone public or had successful acquisitions. NEA invested $14.8 million in Groupon early on and received $70 million back in 2011. That year, Groupon went public, reaping one of the greatest venture returns ever with an initial public offering value of $12.8 billion. He is currently the Chairman and General Partner of NEA.
According to the NEA website, the company’s assets grew from $1 billion to over $20 billion and the organization scaled its operations to become one of the world’s largest venture capital firms under Barris’ leadership. The company, which started with offices in Maryland and California’s Silicon Valley, now has branches in India, China – and most recently – New York City. NEA, founded more than 35 years ago, has seen 200+ portfolio companies going public and 320+ acquisitions.
Barris grew up in Chicago, IL. His father, James, was an engineer, and his grandparents were from Greece. His father encouraged Barris to follow the same career path that he did – but Barris had his eyes set on the law – more specifically, patent law – which he had heard required an engineering degree. Northwestern had excellent law and engineering schools, so he enrolled as an electrical engineering major. Eventually, he realized that patent law wasn’t where his passion lay but continued his studies of electrical engineering and then went on to earn his MBA from Dartmouth College. He eventually started his career in various management positions at General Electric Company.
At NEA, Barris took $570-million company Neutral Tandem public in 2007 and $590-million Echo Global public in 2009. He is involved with NEA affiliates, including Groupon, TV software/hardware company Hillcrest Laboratories, Internet service provider Boingo Wireless, online job recruitment site CareerBuilder, digital distribution company SnagFilms (whose founder, Ted Leonsis, is also on this list), and social media management company Sprout Social. He is on the board of directors of public companies including Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN), Goji Food Solutions Ltd., Benchprep, Hillcrest Laboratories, Inc., MediaOcean, SnagFilms, and Sprout Social.
He is Vice-Chair of the Northwestern University Board of Trustees and serves on the Board of the Tuck School Private Equity and Entrepreneur Center. He also launched the Barris Incubator Series at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, which seeks to encourage student start-ups. 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 Ecumenical Patriarchate, lives in McLean, VA. with his wife, Adrienne. They have two daughters. His interests include traveling, skiing, “any and all Greek food,” boating, and spending time with his family.
32. NICHOLAS G. KARABOTS – Pennsylvania
$335 MILLION (TNHE)
PUBLISHING, REAL ESTATE, WINERY
Nicholas G. Karabots (ne Karabotsios), now 86, has come a long way since his days of shining shoes. He has since become one of the biggest philanthropists of his generation – donating millions of dollars at a time to various causes.
Karabots, the owner of Kappa Publishing Group, Inc. (the largest publisher of puzzle magazines and books) as well as companies related to real estate and winemaking, was quoted saying: “The issue here is not ultimately your net worth, but what you do with the value you have created.” His parents, Konstantina Hrisomalis and Georgios Karabotsios, hailed from the Peloponnesian villages of Anavriti and Malendreni, 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. His father lost his restaurant business in the Wall Street crash of 1929 and Karabots held his first job at age 9, in 1942, as a shoeshine boy in Manhattan’s Union Square. In 1949, Karabots enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve (in which he served 11 years) and 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 sales and then management positions, offered by a Hellenophile from Austria, who was the owner of Polychrome, a manufacturer of supplies related to the printing industry.
In 1964, he launched, with a partner, Phota Inc., a company that manufactured photographic chemicals specific to the development of X-Ray film and assisted in the development and importation of Fujifilm to the United States. 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.
Today, Karabots is Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Spartan Organization, a company he founded that provides management and legal services to the various Karabots affiliates. He holds similar positions in his other privately held companies whose interests include printing, publishing, product fulfillment, land development. He also owns a country club and a vineyard/winery. He is assisted by his daughters Andrea Duloc and Despina McNulty, son-in-law Paul Kolkka, and granddaughter Alecia Duloc. Andrea’s husband, Michael, is the owner and president of Kable Distribution and Product Fulfillment Services, Inc., former subsidiaries of Princeton, NJ-based AMREP Corporation, Inc. (NYSE: AXR), a publicly held company in which Karabots is a controlling shareholder.
From 1993 to 2013, he was a director of AMREP Corporation, 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. The company has developed Rio Rancho, New Mexico’s third-largest city. The Karabotses’ combined businesses employ about 2,000 people between their businesses in Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Karabots’ real estate interests began with a 1980 purchase of a farm outside of Philadelphia. This led to other land acquisitions, primarily in Pennsylvania, and eventually to the design and development of Jericho National Golf Club, Inc. in Washington Crossing, PA. Karabots also owns Krasi, LLC, the operator of Karamoor Estate Vineyards and Winery and producer of Karamoor Estate Wines, which have won many awards in American wine competitions. The Karamoor Farm is 275 acres in total, with 27 acres planted with vines. Although the Karabots have called Karamoor ‘home’ since the early 1970s, the first vines were planted in 2003. According to an interview with Stay AKA, the family has been committed to making the best wine in the region and have pursued their passion for wine with a commitment to good farming practices with as minimal intervention in the vineyard as possible. The winery will soon have a second tasting room open to the public.
Apart from its huge gamut of puzzle magazines and subscription services, the Kappa group of companies also publishes wrestling, astrology, games, children’s activity books, and a wide variety of atlases and street guides. Its affiliated printing related companies in Pennsylvania and Indiana offer commercial and digital printing, and a variety of product distribution services.
Together with his wife of 60 years, Athena Dikegoros Karabots, whose parents emigrated from the Macedonian village of Rhodohorion, 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 aches for the young children who are tied to poverty and don’t know that there is something out there that is better.” In the fall of 2012, the foundation gave $7.5 million to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a new pediatric care facility which opened in February of 2013. They also donated $10 million to The Franklin Institute Museum to expand its classrooms and exhibition capabilities at its existing location, which serves thousands of children each year. The foundation has also contributed $15 million to support the Philadelphia Art Museum’s education center by its acquisition of a painting by Thomas Eakins, together with a rare 16th century horse and man armor. To date, the foundation has provided over $60 million to many organizations that focus on its 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 his wife of almost 65 years live in Pennsylvania and have three daughters and 10 grandchildren. Karabots is routinely featured in publications as one of Pennsylvania’s most generous philanthropists.
31. JOHN GEORGES – Louisiana
$350 MILLION (Celebrity Net Worth)
FOOD SERVICES, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, PHILANTHROPY, MEDIA
Tulane University; Married, 3 children
John Georges, 59, is an entrepreneur in multiple industries, an avowed philanthropist, and a strong supporter of Hellenic causes. He is 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.
Georges Enterprises began as Imperial Trading in 1916, a wholesale grocery distribution company founded by Georges’ maternal grandfather. The company is now the eighth largest convenience store supplier in the nation.
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.
In April 2013, Georges Enterprises acquired The Advocate – a Baton Rouge daily newspaper with a New Orleans edition and websites covering nearby towns Ascension and Acadiana – which is the largest newspaper in Louisiana.
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 5,000 retailers in 12 states. Recent acquisitions by Georges Enterprises include: $50 million food distributor Clifford D. Fite Company (2011), $100 million Union Grocery (2010) and historic Bourbon Street restaurant Galatoire’s (2009). Georges 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 specializes in entertainment from video games and pool tables to jukeboxes. Among Georges Enterprises’ portfolio of real estate holdings 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, the company 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 is very involved with both Louisiana public life and the community of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The former church president hosted Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he visited New Orleans in October 2009.
In May 2019, Georges’ New Orleans Advocate purchased The Times-Picayune and the accompanying nola.com website from Advance Local. The Advocate will continue to serve as a seven-day, home delivered newspaper in the New Orleans metro area. The websites have already merged into nola.com.
A notable campaign financier, Georges unsuccessfully ran for governor of Louisiana as a democrat in 2007 and Mayor of New Orleans in 2010 but fell short in both efforts.
Georges is a Trustee for the National World War II Museum, Past President of the Young Presidents Organization of Louisiana, past member of the Tulane University President’s Council, the University of New Orleans Foundation, the LSU Medical Foundation Board, New Orleans and Jefferson Parish Business Councils, World Trade Center and the Chamber of Commerce. A firm believer in education and entrepreneurship, John founded the Lemonade Day in Louisiana. A community event that gives children an opportunity to learn the inner workings of running a business, Lemonade Day has helped more than 5,000 children become entrepreneurs. Georges is also on the board of The Hellenic Initiative, and he and his wife Dathel are involved in numerous other philanthropic endeavors.
The Georges have three children: Zana, Liza, and Nike. Georges’ mother, Anita Pelias Georges, passed away this past January. She was known for her volunteer work, sense of humor, and hospitality. Her father, Constantine Pelias, was the founder of Imperial Trading.
Georges was instrumental in rebuilding the Greek community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Everything was “a wasteland,” he told TNH in 2015, “and we rebuilt everything in 90 days – it was a miracle.”