Thursday, June 25, 2009

Global Greek Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou on the Parthenon Marbles

One of our Global Greeks, Greek Cypriot and British entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and known for his easyGroup of Companies, this time last year sent out an open letter to all parties concerned in the debate on the Parthenon Sculptures or Parthenon Marbles, as they are more widely known.

The letter was published in many British newspapers calling on the curators of the British Museum and the New Acropolis Museum, to convene and discuss the matter of the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles.

Refusing to get drawn into the question of legal ownership of the Sculptures, Stelios asked the two parties to
engage in a constructive dialogue on the Parthenon Sculptures and their reunification. Stelios’ enterprises have been actively involved in this campaign. EasyGroup has also sponsored a debate which was held by the Cambridge Union Society on the motion of the return of the Parthenon marbles to the New Acropolis Museum. That debate was won by the repatriation supporters.

Stelios, as he likes to be called, headed his open letter as follows:


Open letter from Stelios, Chairman of

To: The British Museum, London, UK

The New Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece

Re: The Parthenon Marbles

June 2008

Dear Sirs,

I've taken the liberty to write this open letter as someone almost uniquely positioned between the Greek and the British cultures, having spent most of my adult life 'flying' between the two capitals. I think the time has come for the curators of the two museums to have a constructive dialogue about the Parthenon marbles.

Away from politics and name calling, I feel there is now a win-win solution for both museums in the form of a cultural exchange. Therefore, art lovers worldwide might get the once in a lifetime chance to see these masterpieces reunited.

This is why I decided to paint 'Reunite the Parthenon marbles' on the side of our latest cruise ship.

Yours faithfully

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Bravo Stelio!

We don't know if there was any positive response to the letter, but if we judge from the lack of any tangible results and the continuing refusal of the British Museum Trustees to give an inch, as well as their absence from the Official Opening of the New Acropolis Museum on Saturday, well, it speaks for itself!
We do however applaud the initiative taken by this very Global Greek and hope that more of us take other such initiatives for the benefit of Hellenism and our Global Greek World!

About Stelios

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou – who prefers to be known as Stelios, a Serial Entrepreneur - is best known for creating easyJet in 1995, at the age of 28. In 2000, he floated - on the London Stock Exchange - the low-cost airline that revolutionized European air travel. Nowadays, the company has grown into one of Europe’s leading airlines with some 170 aircraft flying over 400 routes between 103 airports in 26 countries. Approximately 45 million people a year fly with easyJet enjoying more value for less!

Stelios is the son of a very successful Greek shipowner, the late Loucas Haji-Ioannou, who provided the seed capital for Stelios’ independent business career, which started when he created a shipping company - Stelmar - at the age of 25. Subsequently, Stelios floated Stelmar on the New York Stock Exchange in 2001; the company was successfully sold to a rival in 2005, creating significant shareholder value.

Today, Stelios remains the biggest single shareholder of easyJet PLC and a non-executive director. In parallel, before the IPO in 2000 - and true to his beliefs in serial entrepreneurship - he consolidated the ownership of the easy brand into his private company, easyGroup, and launched several easy-branded businesses. The group currently includes easyCar (car rental), easyHotel (budget hotels), easyBus (airport transfers), easyOffice (low-cost, serviced office rental for small businesses), easyPizza and easyCruise - all dedicated to offering more value for less to millions of consumers.

In 2006, at the age of 39, Stelios received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to entrepreneurship. Since then, Sir Stelios has expanded his dedication to making a difference to society by launching a number of philanthropic initiatives supporting entrepreneurship, higher education and environmental sustainability.

Stelios has pledged 200 scholarships over 10 years to the London School of Economics and Cass Business School in London - his almae mater - supporting young, exceptional scholars who want to make a difference in their chosen fields. Similarly - in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability in the UK - Stelios created the "Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year" award given to exceptional entrepreneurs who have overcome significant physical and perceptual limitations in starting their businesses. (

In Cyprus, the birthplace of his parents, Stelios co-founded CYMEPA in 1992 ( - an association dedicated to preserving the marine environment. In his own birthplace, Greece, he continues his commitment to environmental protection by supporting the Pendeli Reforestation project. Additionally, in Greece, Stelios strives to further inspire entrepreneurship through the Kouros award, a 50,000EU prize given to the outstanding business start-up of the year. Building on his many years of support for the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), Stelios has recently been appointed to the Council of Ambassadors of the WWF-UK.

More likely to be on an aircraft than in an office, Stelios is 42 years old and lives in Monaco.

To read more about Stelios: Click here

To read more about the current International Campaign for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens headed by Alexis Mantheakis :
Click here


  1. i believe that england will not give up the marbles easil, but i also believe that ultimately, it will have to do just this. i doubt that it will be in my time, but it may be in my children's.
    let's not forget that it enslaved, it imperialised, and it colonialised, but eventually, it gave all that up. so one day, it will start to return what it so unrightfully kept away from its owners.

  2. Its quite interesting and informative coverage, i like your stuffs…Great to be a part of this blog.Parthenon marble is great rock.


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