The richest Greek in the world is not Philippos Niarchos, Bardis Vardinogiannis or Telis Mistakidis. The names and fortunes of these Greek businessmen appear on the lists of our planet’s billionaires every year. In fact, however, the richest Greek in the world is one that few in Greece know.
Jim Davis, who was ranked 134th on America’s 400 richest people this year. Descendant of immigrants from Greece, with a personal fortune of $ 6.5 billion, he is the richest person with Greek roots in the world. In fact, it is he who is behind the famous shoe brand New Balance.
Jim and Ann Davis. In 1977, the future wife of a businessman, Anne, began working at New Balance in the HR department, and today she is vice chairman. The couple lives in Newton, Massachusetts and has two children.
According to Forbes, Davis bought a small shoe company in Boston in 1972 and turned it into a $ 3.6 billion giant. He is the President of New Balance, and his wife Anne is the Vice President. The Davis family controls 95% of the company, which has never been listed on the stock exchange.
The New Balance story begins sometime in 1906, when British immigrant William Riley founded the New Balance Arch Support Company in Massachusetts. Inspired by a chicken foot that rests on three points for maximum balance, Riley began making supportive insoles for those who had to stand for hours before moving on to sneakers.
New Balance got in the way of the current owner somewhat by accident. Jim Davis was born in 1943 in the United States to a Greek family. Jim’s father left Greece for the United States at the age of 15. Jim studied biochemistry at Middlebury College. “I aspired to become a doctor, but I realized that I hate reading,” he said in an old interview. So he started selling equipment for chemical and biological laboratories, but very soon he thought about buying a small business. “New Balance was the first thing I looked at. But I just rejected it. I knew a thing or two about sports, but I didn’t know anything about shoes. “A year later, it was still available, so I bought it,” Davis recalls.
It was 1972, on the day of the famous Boston Marathon, when he agreed to buy New Balance for $ 100,000. Over the course of ten years, he has transformed it into a prominent brand in the American market seeking international expansion. Of course, Davis owes a lot to his timing, as the popularity of running soared towards the end of the 1970s. In 1976, New Balance launched a shoe that was supposed to put it on the line, as the famous 320 was not only the first to sport the N logo, but the one that stood out from the Runner’s. Runner’s World magazine named this model the best for its time.
Emphasizing shape rather than appearance, Davis has always tried to create the best footwear to sell at the highest possible price. Somehow, in 1982, the 990 was released, the most technologically advanced and expensive sports car sold until then. She became the first pair of sneakers to break the $ 100 barrier and a legend in the athletic shoe industry.
Davis has always refused to sponsor athletes or follow fashion trends, but New Balance shoes have won fanatical fans and are sometimes among the favorites of fashionistas. Bill Clinton always wore his 1500 when he went for a run, and Steve Jobs wouldn’t go anywhere without his 992. New Balance gifted Barack Obama with a pair of gray 990 sneakers, embroidered with his name and the clear phrase “Handmade in the United States,” shortly before his re-election.
Davis is an ardent supporter of the Republicans. In September 2016, he pledged nearly $ 400,000 Trump Victory Committee (Trump Victory Committee) – the joint fundraising committee for Republican candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election, which was chaired by the chairman of the National Committee of the party, Raines Priebus. In an interview with the newspaper “The wall street journal“The day after Donald Trump’s victory, a senior executive at New Balance said Davis supported Trump because of his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Davis family established the New Balance Foundation, whose mission is to support charitable organizations whose humanitarian work is aimed at improving the lives of children and preventing childhood obesity. Davis donated $ 5 million to the University of Maine.