On Friday, December, 9, 2022, the 24th Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum “Sustaining Growth & investment Momentum,” concluded with an official dinner, which is held in honor of the strong political and financial bonds between Greece and the United States. In the context of the dinner, The “2022 Capital Link Hellenic Leadership Award” was presented to Mr. Panos Papazoglou, Managing Partner, EY Greece, for his outstanding contribution to Greece.
Under his leadership, through multiple initiatives, EY Greece made significant contributions to the Greek economy and became a reference point among the international investment and business community for the Greek Economy and for Investing in Greece.
The Capital Link Hellenic Leadership Award is presented annually to a person or an organization for outstanding contribution in fostering closer ties between Greece and the global business and investment community. Previous honorees were in 2012, Mr. Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Dow Chemical Company, in 2013, Mr. John Calamos, Chairman, CEO & Global Co-Chief Investment Officer of Calamos Investments, in 2014, Mr. George Logothetis, Chairman and CEO of Libra Group and in 2015, Dr. Anthony Papadimitriou, President to the Board of Directors of Alexander S. Onassis Foundation & Managing Partner of “A.S. Papadimitriou & Partners Law Firm, in 2016, Mr. Wilbur L. Ross, Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co., in 2017, Mr. Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO – Philip Morris International, in 2018, Mr. Evangelos Mytilineos, Chairman & CEO of Mytilineos in 2019, Mr. John Paulson, President & Portfolio Manager – Paulson & Co. Inc., and in 2021, Mr. Alex Fotakidis, Partner & Head of CVC Greece – CVC.
The dinner & Mr. Papazoglou’s award ceremony were honored by the participation of officials from the Greek and American government, representatives from companies and organizations that participated in the Forum, and a broad audience , including: H.E. Adonis Georgiadis, Minister of Development & Investments – H.E. Konstantinos Skrekas, Minister of Environment & Energy – H.E. Theodore Skylakakis, Alternate Minister of Finance – H.E. Yannis Tsakiris, Deputy Minister of Development & Investments, Public Investments & NSRF – Mrs. Olympia Anastasopoulou, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development, Attorney-at-Law, LLM, MBA, Mediator – Mr. Orestis Kavalakis, Secretary General of Private Investments & PPPs – Ministry of Development & Investments – Mr. Dimitrios Tsakonas, Director General – Public Debt Management Agency (P.D.M.A) – Mr. Michael Arghyrou, Chairman of Council of Economic Advisors – Hellenic Republic – Mr. Vassilis Kontozamanis, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Health – Hellenic Republic – Mr. George Pitsilis, Governor – Independent Authority for Public Revenue – Hellenic Republic – Ms. Elizabeth McCaul, Member of the Supervisory Board – European Central Bank – Mr. Yianos Kontopoulos, CEO – ATHEX Group – Dr. Vassiliki Lazarakou JSD, Chair – Hellenic Capital Market Commission; Member – Management Board of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) ; Member of the IOSCO Board – Mr. Dinos Konstantinou, Consul General of Greece in New York-Mr. Nikolaos Thomopoulos, Head of the Office of Economic and Commercial Affairs – Greek Trade Office in New York – – Mr. Dimitris Papageorgiou, Consulate General of Greece in New York – Dimitrios Tsampras, Consulate General of Greece in New York – Mary Vaxevanidou, Counsellor for Public Diplomacy, Consulate General of Greece in New York – Mr. Konstantinos Charokopos, Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), New York – Mr. Dean Metropoulos, Chairman and CEO, C. Dean Metropoulos and Company – Mr. Alex Fotakidis, Partner & Head of CVC Greece – CVC – Mr. John Kalafatis, CEO – Nu Boyana Hellenic Film Studios.
On behalf of Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, Mr. Edward Mermelstein, New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs, welcomed the dinner’s attendees. The speech that Mr. Edward Mermelstein delivered was very touching, highlighting the close business and political ties between the US and Greece and the Greek-American entrepreneurs’ significant contribution to New York city’s business growth.
Mr. Nicolas Bornozis, opened the ceremony thanking all those who participated in the Forum, and more in particular the dinner’s sponsor Mr. John Kalafatis, CEO – Nu Boyana Hellenic Film Studios who aside being a renowned businessman in New York, he is also well known for the investment in Greece for the development of six large-scale film production studios in the area of Thermi, an investment of 50 million euros. Mr. Bornozis then thanked Mrs. Alexandra Papadopoulou, Ambassador of Greece to the United States, and Mr. Yianos Kontopoulos, CEO – ATHEX Group, who gave the Dinner’s Keynote Remarks.
Mr. Nicolas Bornozis then went on to thank Mr. Panos Papazoglou, Managing Partner – EY Greece, for his incredible service during his 35 successful years, 12 of which he served as Managing Partner, with EY.
“Under Mr. Panos Papazoglou’s leadership, EY Greece has become the largest and one of the fastest-growing professional services firms in Greece, with nearly 2,200 employees today, compared to 540 in 2010, attracting some of the brightest minds in the field. Through his public interventions, articles, interviews and, above all, EY’s series of reports and surveys, on a wide range of topics and industries, such as, shipping, logistics, education, leadership, exports and FDI, Panos and the firm’s partners, established EY as a thought leader, often setting the agenda for the future of the Greek economy. He worked passionately to promote Greek entrepreneurship, not least through the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program, but never shied away from urging Greek corporations to reinvent themselves, innovate, digitalize, transform and live up to their environmental, social and governance responsibilities.”
Mr. Bornozis concluded his remarks by highlighting his joy and honor at having the opportunity to foster both a working relationship and friendship with such an exceptional person as Mr. Papazoglou.
Mr. Lazaros Papagaryfallou, General Manager/CFO – Alpha Bank, introduced Mr. Panos Papazoglou, Managing Partner – EY Greece, the award honoree.
Mr. Lazaros Papagaryfallou stated:
“Your Excellency the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic,
Your Excellencies Ministers of Finance, Development & Investments, and of Environment & Energy of the Hellenic Republic,
Your Excellency the Ambassador of Greece to the United States of America,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There is an old saying that goes “you can tell a man by the distance travelled”. And this is exactly the reason why we are here today; to reflect upon and celebrate the journey of Panos Papazoglou throughout an -admittedly- illustrious career spanning over three decades.
The award that I am going to present Panos with very shortly, is aptly named the “Hellenic Leadership Award”, and I think its title perfectly encapsulates what he brought to the table day in and day out; leadership. A fact that is not only attested by how he steered his company, EY, to an admirable market-leading position despite the decade-long crisis in Greece, but also by the way he worked to create a positive dynamic for the economy and our country, both abroad and at home.
I think it is safe to say that for more than 10 years now, Panos has been nothing short than a true ambassador of our country internationally, working diligently to help bring Foreign Direct Investment to Greece, bridging the gap that existed with the international investor community the past decades.
Under his leadership, EY have been publishing since 2019 the Attractiveness Survey Greece, capturing the pulse of international investors and what they think of our country as an investment destination, comprehensively mapping the FDI environment in Greece. Despite the economic hurdles of years past, his strong conviction that our country can become one of the most attractive investment destinations never faltered, and he always voiced his opinion that for that to happen, brave reforms are needed to free ourselves from burdens that kept us down, such as the slow speed and inefficiency of the judiciary system and the vast and complex bureaucracy apparatus.
A real high-flyer that was never risk-averse, Pano quickly rose through the ranks, and, even before leading EY in Greece, he had already built a stellar track record abroad, helping his organization grow in the Balkans, serving as Country Managing Partner and Head of Assurance of EY in Bulgaria for three years and as Head of Assurance in Romania for two years.
When Panos was called to take the mantle of EY’s Country Managing Partner back in 2010, the economic crisis had only started to show its implications, but his experience had shown him that behind every challenge there are opportunities to be had for those not faint of heart. With a 360-degree understanding of the intricate relationship between economy, technology, and innovation, he invested in growing the Greek EY practice at a time when a number of international businesses were contemplating withdrawal from the country.
Through persistence and a true vision of the future, he gathered around him young talent, gave them room to develop and grew EY from 4th among its peers into a true market leader in just a matter of years.
And this special emphasis he put on knowledge and developing talent, was something that made Panos stand out. He always spoke very highly of Greek talent and is a strong proponent of lifelong learning and the reskilling/upskilling of the Greek human capital. Being a man of action himself he was true to his vision, with EY contributing to the brain gain of the Greek economy, repatriating many talented Greeks from abroad, as during his tenure the company grew from just over 500 people to an organization of over 2,000 professionals.
It is no coincidence that EY’s Global Leadership team also entrusted him with the role of the Central and Southeastern Europe South Cluster Leader, and later on with that of the Accounts Leader for the Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe & Central Asia region.
Of course, a leader always stands by his convictions.
Panos was never shy to take the floor and publicly make his voice heard on how the economy needed a new growth model that would enable sustainable growth. He argued of a paradigm shift to export-led growth, investment in innovation and human capital, and closer interaction and cooperation between entrepreneurship and the educational system.
He had the statesmanship to mediate between the government and the various productive forces of the economy, efficiently finding convergence points to push for the implementation of such impactful measures and reforms that could help support Greek entrepreneurship and the sectors of our economy.
And he was never afraid to be critical – but very just in his assessment – of mistakes of days past, always talking about how Greek businesses and the State should work together to right the wrongs, reinvent themselves, digitalize and transform, live up to the rising environmental and societal expectations of customers and citizens and take the leap forward.
His passion to promote Greek entrepreneurship, also manifested through the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program, aiming to recognize and pay tribute to entrepreneurs who were building this new narrative though their work and accomplishments.
Ladies and gentlemen,
For those of us fortunate enough to have met and collaborated with Panos, we have come to know him as a passionate individual who can bring the best out of those around him, inspire and mobilize them to create value and shine.
I believe that I can talk from a personal standpoint, since he had always been close with the banking system and staunchly supported our sector’s transformation journey through the crisis – albeit often critical of our initial ideas and scenarios, something that I must admit brough great value in helping us develop more resilient and forward-looking plans.
Throughout his long successful career, he embodied traits as empathy, persistence and excellence, and his leadership is something to admire, celebrate and draw upon.
And although the end of his tenure as EY’s Country Managing Partner is now drawing closer, this is but a farewell; I am confident that a man with such a restless spirit as Panos’s, will continue to share with us – in other capacities – the wealth of knowledge and experience he has acquired, always staying true to who he truly is: a man of action.
So, without any further ado, I would like to call Panos Papazoglou on stage, and congratulate him for his accomplishments.
Mr. Panos Papazoglou, Managing Partner – EY Greece,
made the following statement while receiving his award:
“Thank you, this a real honor!
I know that it is customary on such occasions to declare that one accepts an award on behalf of the organization he represents and its people, but I feel that in this case it is particularly appropriate.
It has been my privilege to lead EY Greece over the last 12 years, admittedly not an easy period for any Greek company. During this time, EY has grown to become the largest professional services provider in Greece, employing nearly 2,200 people today, from just over 500 in 2011. More importantly, it is recognized by the Greek market as the leading brand and a thought leader in a wide range of issues that collectively form the agenda for Greek entrepreneurship and the sustainable growth of the Greek economy.
I may have played a small role in this, but, in all honesty, it would not have been possible without our people, their professionalism, their exceptional skills, their hard work, their energy and enthusiasm. Bringing together a team like that is the greatest challenge and the most lasting accomplishment one can think of.
It would also not have been possible if I had not been guided by EY’s values and its purpose, to build a better working world. Because, at the end of the day, we are all judged by the positive impact our work has for our people, our clients and our communities.
So, thank you, once again.
And thank you, also, Nicolas and Olga Bornozis, for your hard work over all these years in promoting the image of Greece in the US and the close ties between the two countries. I have been participating in the Capital Link Forum, almost uninterruptedly and I can tell you I will miss these gatherings in the future.”