Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce “Person of the Year”2019:
Nicolas A. Vernicos, president of the Vernicos Maritime Group
New York, NY, April 2, 2019. The Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) honored Nicolas A. Vernicos as 2019 “Person of the Year”. The ceremony took place on Friday, March 29, 2019 during the HACC 70th Anniversary Gala held at Barry Diller’s IAC building on the West Side highway in NYC. Special guests included the Minister of Defense, Evangelos Apostolakis, the Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN, Ambassador Maria Theophilis, the Consul General of Greece in New York, Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, Consul Lana Zochiou, as well as many other prominent Greek and Greek-Americans.
Nicolas A. Vernicos, a fourth-generation shipping and tourism industry entrepreneur originally from the Greek island of Sifnos, is a well-known philanthropist and entrepreneur. He serves as the president of the Vernicos Maritime Group. From 2003-2018 Vernicos served as president of the International Chamber of Commerce-Hellas. He has significant experience in the areas of corporate governance, banking and financial services. Vernicos has been in the shipping and trading business since 1968, managing one of the oldest surviving Greek maritime firms. The enterprise was founded in Constantinople in 1851 and has operated from Piraeus since the beginning of the twentieth century.
The black-tie event produced by Angela Giannopoulos and her team at Studio 3, stopped traffic and onlookers while photos and videos of Greece were being displayed on the 110-foot-wide video screen. Attendees received an olive leaf bracelet courtesy of Apriati Jewelry while two lucky guests won three-night accommodation in Mykonos and Santorini sponsored by Katikies Boutique Hotels, Mykonos Best and Santorini Best.
Actor Anthoula Katsimatidis was the master of ceremonies while the prayer was given by Father Alex Karloutsos. Congratulatory videos were broadcast with messages from US Ambassador to Athens, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, writer Nicholas Cage and the former Deputy Minister of Finance Petros Doukas.
HACC president, Mr. Markos Drakotos, referred to the organization’s mission to promote economic and commercial ties between Greece and the USA, to promote Greek culture as well as to cooperate with other professional bodies. He made extensive coverage on the New York City Greek Film Festival, one of the major events under the umbrella of HACC, while a trailer of the upcoming selected films was displayed. The Chair of the event Mr. Clay Maitland spoke about the importance to support such events and thanked the HACC board members for their efforts. The honoree was introduced by his daughter Alexia Vernicos who spoke about Vernicos as a friend, philanthropist and as a father.
Vernicos started his speech by thanking his wife Barbara and making a brief introduction to his life as a child. He focused on the importance of the Marshall Plan, and the delivery of 100 Liberty ships with generous lending rates in recognition of losses during the World War II.
HACC, founded in 1947, is an independent, private, not-for-profit membership-based organization devoted to fostering and strengthening economic and cultural ties between Greece and the United States. HACC today provides a network and forum for its members to meet, interact and exchange ideas.