The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation announced this year that the new President of the Executive Board is Dr Peter Kalantzis, who took over from previous President Dr Peter Marxer on March 30th. Dr Marxer has served successfully for almost ten years up to the date of his resignation and was the first ever Executive Board President of the Foundation.
The Legacy of John S. Latsis
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation was established in 2005, two years after the death of John S. Latsis, as a way of preserving and continuing his vast public benefit works. John S. Latsis was born to a large, poor family in Katakolo in 1910, having to work hard from a very early age to help support the family. This early understanding of the value of hard work and support would stand him in good stead throughout his life, which was characterised by many successful entrepreneurial ventures and a generous philanthropic nature. His varied business activities included shipping, petroleum, construction, agricultural products, banking, trading and industrial goods amongst many. Married in 1940 to Henrietta Tsoukala, the couple had three children, Margarita, Marianna and Spiro Latsis.
Alongside his many business endeavours, John S Latsis was known throughout his life for his tireless philanthropic work in the fields of education, scientific research, social welfare and community and cultural initiatives. The provision of scholarships was important to John S. Latsis and one of his first ever charitable initiatives was the establishment of the John S. Latsis Ileians Scholarships Foundation, providing financial support for students from his home region. This was just the first of many Foundations and grants established during his life, with further contributions going towards emergency services and educational buildings throughout the country. John S. Latsis was also known for his extensive contributions at times of national emergency, such as the earthquakes throughout Greece during the eighties and nineties. The Latsis family created the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation in order to continue these good works in his name. The Foundation is run by a supervisory board of family members including son Spiro Latsis, daughters Marianna and Margarita, overseen by the President of the Executive Board.
Dr Peter Kalantzis
Dr Peter Kalantzis comes from a background of more than three decades in the Chemical industry, having worked in senior positions at the Swiss Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry Association, the Alusuisse-Lonza Group Ltd, Lamda Development Ltd, Petrola Hellas Ltd and the University of Basel’s Society for the Promotion of Economic Research among others. Prior to embarking on his career, Peter attended the University of Basel, where he obtained both a postgraduate and doctoral degree in Economics. During this time he was also involved in numerous research projects through the university.
Dr Peter Kalantzis currently serves on a number of boards of directors as well as the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation. These include the position of chairman for several Swiss companies including Degussa Goldhandel AG, Von Roll Holding Ltd and Clair AG, as well as board memberships at SGS Holding Ltd, CNH Industrial NV, Paneuropean Oil and Industrial Holdings and Moevenpick Holding Ltd.
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation
The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation plans, manages and provides funding for a broad range of programmes within Greece and in certain other areas of the world, with focus on science, education, health, the environment, social welfare and culture, continuing the legacy of its namesake. The grant-making approach of the Foundation prioritises emergency and disaster relief for citizens most in need, with further funding allocated in areas where it can create the greatest benefit for community development and NGO capacity building, infrastructural improvements, rewards for academic and research output and projects that are able to highlight Greek cultural wealth. This includes the Neraida Floating Museum, which works to highlight the maritime and entrepreneurial history of Greece, providing free access events and exhibits, attracting and familiarising young people with various maritime professions and promoting high levels of environmental awareness. The Foundation aims to remain aware of and responsive to current social needs and uses a complex evaluation system for all proposals received to ensure finding goes to those areas where it can have the greatest impact in sustainable, relevant and effective ways.