The number of billionaires on Forbes’ 35th annual list of the world’s wealthiest exploded to an unprecedented 2,755 this year – 660 more than a year ago.
Of those, a record high 493 were new to the list – roughly one every 17 hours, including 210 from China and Hong Kong.
As for the billionaires with Greek heritage, The Greek Herald has compiled a list of all of them. They are:
1. Maritsa Lazari and Family (Ranked 1,064):
Maritsa Lazari and her family’s net worth is $2.9 billion, according to Forbes.
Maritsa is a Cyprus-born British billionaire businesswoman. She was married to the Cyprus-born British billionaire property developer, Chris Lazari, until his death in 2015. They had three children together.
Christos eventually created a successful fashion line called Drendie Girl. The couple used the profits from that business to buy up property.
Lazari Investments owns more than 3 million square feet of commercial real estate in London, mostly office space that it rents out.
2. John Catsimatidis (Ranked 1,111):
John Catsimatidis has a net worth of $2.8 billion. In 2020, he ranked 299th in the Forbes 400 list.
Catsimatidis is best known as the owner of New York City supermarket chain Gristedes. He also owns oil refinery United Refining in Pennsylvania, which he bought out of bankruptcy, and real estate in New York and beyond.
He 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 New York University, but dropped out for a chance to own a piece of the shop where he worked.
He opened his own grocery store in 1969 and had 10 Red Apple stores by age 25.
3. Philip Niarchos (Ranked 1,111):
Philip Niarchos, the oldest son of the late shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, inherited much of his father’s art collection.
The collection was purchased in 1957 for $3 million from actor Edward G. Robinson and includes some of the world’s most recognisable pieces.
It is said to be the largest private collection of Van Gogh’s work, notably his ear-less self portrait, and includes Picasso’s iconic “Yo, Picasso.”
Since inheriting the collection, Philip has added post-war and contemporary works, including pieces by Andy Warhol and Maurizio Cattelan.
He has an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion.
4. Charles Dean Metropoulos (Ranked 1,205):
Charles Dean Metropoulos is an American billionaire investor and businessman of Greek descent. His net worth for this year is $2.6 billion, according to the Forbes list. Metropoulos is best known for saving the iconic Twinkies and Hostess Brands.
Through his Metropoulos & Co, he’s also turned around and sold Chef Boyardee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Bumble Bee Tuna and others.
Metropoulos and private equity firm Apollo bought Hostess Brands in 2013 and later took it public. Most recently, he’s been selling his shares.
The Greek-born entrepreneur is also a trustee of the National Hellenic Museum located in Chicago.
Metropoulos made his first American acquisition at the age of 32, when he acquired a cheese company in his wife’s native Vermont.
Metropoulos, along with private equity titan Alec Gores, took blank check company Gores Metropoulos public in February 2019.
5. Aristotelis Mistakidis (Ranked 1,362):
Aristotelis Mistakidis is a Swiss-based Greek metals trader who became a billionaire working for Glencore. His current net worth is estimated at $2.3 billion.
Mistakidis, known as “Telis,” stepped down from his role as the director of Glencore’s copper business at the end of 2018.
In 2018, Canadian regulators fined and banned Mistakidis from serving as a director due to compliance violations.
Mistakidis got his start in commodities at Cargill and joined Marc Rich & Co. in 1993. Later, the firm was bought by management and renamed Glencore.
He first became a billionaire in 2011 when Glencore went public, and currently owns more than 3% of the company’s stock.
6. George Argyros and Family (Ranked 1,580):
The grandson of Greek immigrants, Argyros worked his way through high school and college in southern California as a paperboy and grocery clerk.
Argyros, a real estate mogul, founded property firm Arnel & Affiliates in southern California in 1968 and currently serves as the CEO. His net worth is estimated at $2.1 billion.
The company owns 5,500 apartments in Orange County, California and nearly 2 million square feet of commercial real estate in southern California.
In January 2018, the Argyros family foundation pledged $7.5 million to renovate the Los Angeles Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans.
7. Ivan Savvidis (Ranked 1,833):
Ivan Savvidis, a Greek-Russian businessman, is the founder of Agrokom Group, whose assets include Russian tobacco firm Donskoy Tabak.
In 1980, he got a job at the Don State Tobacco Factory (now Donskoy Tabak) and was elected general director in 1993.
In 2003, he was elected a deputy of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian Legislation, as a member of United Russia, a pro-Putin party.
In 2004, Savvidis founded Agrokom Group; it also owns meat processing and packing plants, greenhouse facilities and a sparkling water factory.
In 2012, his Greek company Dimera purchased 51% of soccer team FC PAOK in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Savvidis is estimated to have a net worth of $1.7 billion.
8. Theodore Leonsis (Ranked 2,141):
Theodore ‘Ted’ Leonsis is founder, majority owner and CEO of Monumental Sports, which owns several teams and arenas in Washington, D.C. His estimated worth is $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Subsidiaries include the NBA’s Wizards, the NHL’s Capitals, the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, two Arena Football teams and Capital One Arena.
The grandson of Greek immigrants, Leonsis initially built his fortune as a senior executive at AOL, where he worked for nearly 14 years.
He is a cofounder and partner at Revolution Growth, a venture capital firm helmed by AOL cofounder Steve Case.
In 2017, Laurene Powell Jobs reportedly bought 20% of Monumental Sports for hundreds of millions of dollars, making her the second largest shareholder.
9. Vardis J. Vardinoyannis (Ranked 2,141):
Vardis J. Vardinoyannis has an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. He co-founded Motor Oil Hellas, a petroleum company based in Greece, with his late brother in 1970.
It went public on the Athens stock exchange in August 2001. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco was a major investor before divesting in 2005.
Vardis’ oldest son, John, is vice chairman while nephew, Nikos, also a major shareholder, is on the board.
Apart from Motor Oil, the family also invests in shipping, finance and soccer teams.
10. Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Ranked 2,378):
The son of a Greek Cypriot shipping magnate, Stelios Haji-Ioannou gets the bulk of his fortune from his stake in budget airline easyJet. His estimated net worth is $1.3 billion.
Stelios founded easyJet in 1995 after leaving his father’s company; his siblings Clelia and Polys both have large stakes in the airline.
Stelios maintains ownership of the Easy brand through his private company, easyGroup.
Through his easyGroup, Stelios has licensed the easy brand name to such businesses as easyHotel, easyCar and easyCoffee.
In 2018, he filed a trademark claim against Netflix over their show “Easy” in a UK court.
11. Polys Haji-Ioannou (Ranked 2,524):
Polys Haji-Ioannou is the son of Cypriot shipping magnate Loucas Haji-Ioannou, who at one point owned the largest private tanker fleet in the world.
Most of his wealth derives from a large stake in easyJet, the discount airline founded by his younger brother, Stelios. His estimated net worth is $1.1 billion.
Polys continues the family’s shipping legacy with his own 17-tanker fleet. He has also invested heavily in both commercial and residential real estate, particularly in Cyprus, Greece and Norway.
12. George Yancopoulos (Ranked 2,524):
With an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes, George Yancopoulos is the well-known chief scientific officer of biotech firm Regeneron.
He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and became a professor of biology by age 28.
Regeneron was cofounded by now-billionaire Leonard Schleifer in 1988. Yancopoulos joined the next year.
Yancopoulos led the invention of seven approved drugs and a technology platform designed to invent more. Yancopoulos owns about 2% of Regeneron stock.