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(1910 – 2003)

Claims to fame include:

• Oil and shipping tycoon who started from zero
• Forged a unique relationship with the Arab world
• Benefactor of seamen and public services

BORN in 1910 in the region of Ileia in the western Peloponnese, John Spyros Latsis came from a poor background. His father, Spyros Latsis, was a grocer from Katokolon. Spyros married Aphrodite Efthimiou and the couple had nine children, of which John was sixth in line.

After he had become one of the world's richest men, Latsis never forgot his origins. From 1967 onwards he established a scholarships programme for children and students in Ileia as well as funding other educational initiatives focused on his home region. He also considered himself a seafarer above being an oil, banking and property tycoon, as he later became. He cherished the title 'Captain'. One of his trademarks was wearing a gold-braided captain's hat, often in the company of monarchs, princes, presidents and prime ministers.

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