Stars over Athens: The who’s who at Calcalist's first Israel-Greece conference
As part of the conference taking place in Greece at the end of this month, a delegation of more than 100 CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior executives of the Israeli economy, along with leading Israeli government officials, will meet with their Greek counterparts to explore together ways to deepen ties in real estate, finance, hotels, tourism, energy and innovation
The economic, real estate and tourism interest in Greece is ever-growing over recent years, with large institutional entities alongside young and private investors leading our neighbor's awakening and interest in the Mediterranean basin. It seems that the country, which until recently was synonymous with an economic crisis, is becoming a success story that magnetizes investors who are already looking forward to the day after the pandemic and realizing the business and economic potential inherent in the country.
Calcalist's Israel-Greece Conference continues the series of international events that turn the spotlight on global economic centers with the aim of creating connections between the Israeli business community and the international one.
The Israel-Greece Conference will be held on 31.5-1.6 in Corinthia, Greece. For details and registration click here.
The conference, held in partnership with Brown Hotels and European real estate giant Aroundtown, will host senior government and senior executives from both countries for two days of business, social and professional meetings. The conference will include discussions and lectures that will focus on entrepreneurship, business relationships, and business opportunities created as a result of the connection between the two Mediterranean countries, from real estate, hotels and tourism, to energy and sustainability.
The conference will open with a gala cocktail event on the roof of the Lighthouse Hotel in Athens and the central plenum will take place at Isla Brown Corinthia - a new resort that is expected to open soon and is located on a pristine beach in Corinthia, about 30 minutes drive from Athens.
The Israeli delegation will be led by Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Orit Farkash-Hacohen, who in the previous government served as Minister of Tourism and Minister of Strategic Affairs and before entering politics served as Chairperson of the Electricity Authority, and Yoel Razvozov, who has served as Israel’s Minister of Tourism since 2021.
Representatives from the Greek government will include Vasilis Kikillias, who has served as the Greek Minister of Tourism since August 2021. Prior to that, he was the Minister of Health and Minister of Internal Security of Greece. Kikillias is a member of the current ruling party in Greece, "New Democracy", and has been a Member of Parliament since 2012 representing the region of Athens, where he also served in a number of positions in local politics. Prior to entering politics, Kikillias was a basketball player and a member of the Greek national basketball team..
Sofia Zacharaki has been the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Greece since January 2021 and before that served as the Deputy Minister of Education and Religion of Greece. Zacharaki is a member of the current ruling party and served as the party's spokeswoman. Prior to entering political life, she specialized in education and English and worked in a number of positions in the Greek public sector and in the European Union.
Among the senior executives in the business sector in Israel who will participate in the conference:
- Meni Weizman, together with his sons Liran, Nir and Tamir, owns about 120 hotels, including the Brown Hotel Group, restaurants and real estate properties around the world. Weizmann was one of the first Israeli businessmen to recognize the potential in Germany and in recent years, in Athens and the Greek islands and has become one of the prominent players in the Greek hotel market alongside business partners, including Yakir Gabay, the owner of the German real estate giant Aroundtown.
- Leon Avigad is the founder and co-owner of the Brown Hotel Group and the Leopard Hospitality Boutique Hotel in Tel Aviv. Avigad began his professional career as a concierge at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, and after 11 years as an employee, in his last position as VP of Dan Tel Aviv, he decided to become independent and in 2010 he and his partner Nitzan Perry founded the Brown TLV and currently the chain has 28 hotels in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Eilat, Croatia and Greece. The Tel Aviv boutique hotel group has long marked Greece as the group's next investment destination, with the establishment of dozens of hotels and resorts throughout Greece, the islands and Cyprus in the coming years, with a total cost of hundreds of millions of shekels, thus becoming the largest Israeli hotel chain in our neighbor to the Mediterranean basin.
- Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin is the chairperson of the Israel Export Institute, and served as the 20th Knesset member on behalf of the Labor Party. Nachmias-Verbin is an expert in corporate governance and is a graduate of law studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and holds a master's degree in commercial law from the Berkeley Program at Tel Aviv University. In addition, she also serves as chair of the Jewish Agency's Foundation for Victims of Terrorism and as chair of the board of directors of the Ben-Gurion House in Tel Aviv.
- Rami Levy is the founder and controlling owner of the supermarket chain "Rami Levy Shivuk Hashikma", Rami Levy Communications, and the "Cofix" cafes. In recent years, he began to expand operations into the aviation, hotel and real estate industries when he became the owner of Israir Airlines about a year and a half ago and also purchased a hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, and now plans to expand its operations to Greece as well. In 2015 he was honored to light a torch at the national lighting ceremony on Independence Day.
- Uri Sirkis has been CEO of Israir Airlines since 2011. Prior to that, he served as VP of Commerce, Marketing and Freight at El Al and managed the maritime and air transport system at Flying Cargo International Transport. Prior to entering the business world, Sirkis served in the Air Force and Unit 8200 in senior positions. Israir is the official carrier of the conference.
- Adv. Ron Bar Nir is a partner leading the Greek and Eastern European activities of the law firm of Firon Bar Nir & Co. Bar Nir advises and represents international companies with operations in Europe, and leads the field of insolvency and rehabilitation in the firm. Bar Nir is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of Tel Aviv University.
- Igal Rotem, CEO of Finaro (formerly Credorax), announced an impressive exit earlier this year with its sale to Shift4 for $575 million. The company, which offers a solution for the cancellation of online deals by the clearing bank, was sold to the American clearing company, headed by Jared Isaacman, Elon Musk's partner in the SpaceX venture.
- Yosi Levy is the CEO and one of the controlling shareholders in More Investment House. The group, which enjoys significant growth, offers study funds, mutual funds, investment portfolio management, investment funds for eligible clients and pension funds. Established in 2006, More serves many diverse clients from private investors to institutional bodies and corporations.
- Yaki Noyman is the CEO of Doral Energy, a global entrepreneurial company in the field of renewable energy and environmental infrastructure in Israel and around the world, which has been operating since 2007. The company is traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in the Tel Aviv 125 index and the Cleantech index. Noyman joined Doral in the year of its founding, and led the establishment of the commercial solar system in Katzrin, the first ever established in Israel. Before working for Doral, he served as a communications engineer at Israel Railways.
- Dorit Banet is the CEO of Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy. The company was founded in 2012 to turn the Eilat area and the southern Arava into an international center for renewable energy and innovation in carbon-reduced technologies. The company's solar farms supply all electricity consumption during the day in Eilat and the kibbutzim up to the Arava junction. In the last five years, the company has become a national and international training center in the field of renewable energies and the cleantech industry in order to become a clean energy powerhouse and deal with the global climate crisis that is hurting the economy and the fabric of life.
- Ziv Shor is the CEO of JLL Israel. JLL is an international real estate giant traded on the New York Stock Exchange worth about $9.5 billion and manages about 430 million square meters worldwide. It operates in 80 countries and employs over 100,000 people. Last year, it acquired for more than $100 million the Israeli company Skyline AI, which uses artificial intelligence information and technologies and machine learning algorithms to process information quickly and generate operational insights for real estate experts.
- Artur Khannanov is the CEO and co-owner of Watergen Corporation Europe, an Israeli company with a unique patent for the production of drinking water from humidity in the air. Prior to founding Watergen, he worked in restaurants and, among other things, served as the manager of a restaurant chain in Barcelona and the Jamie Oliver restaurant chain in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
- Inna Braverman, who survived the Chernobyl disaster and immigrated to Israel from the Soviet Union in the 1990s, is the founder and CEO of Eco Wave Power - a pioneering company in generating electricity from waves. Following the success abroad and two IPOs in Sweden and the US, she will discuss the company’s new project in Greece.
- Cobi Bitton has been the CEO of the Israel-Greece Chamber of Commerce since 2018, he is the founder and CEO of Integritas People & Business, deals with business development, leads innovation processes in organizations and private companies, advises entrepreneurs and startups, in Israel, Greece and other countries.
- Nissan Caspi is the CEO of IP Innovative Power, a company that provides storage management solutions for energy for industry, cities and buildings. Caspi is a co-owner of “Other Sources Energy Group” (OSEG) and owns Inter Industries through it. Before that he served as CEO of Global Power. The conference will present the global challenges of the energy market through the integration of MICROGRID solutions in the Greek real estate market.
- Michal Yannai is an Israeli entrepreneur and founder of the meditation and mindfulness app "My Medi". Yannai set up the app, which is intended for the Israeli audience, in 2019, after anxiety attacks that she and her husband Ben Muskal experienced. Prior to that, Yannai had a rich career in acting, voice overs, singing and presenting for years, and was even nicknamed the "Queen of the Children". Yannai will MC the opening cocktail event.
Many businesspeople from Greece and other countries will also attend the conference, including:
- Petros Machas is a co-founder and chairman of the law firm Machas & Partners. The firm specializes in mergers and acquisitions, real estate, privatization and energy. Machas has advised the Greek government regarding investment laws in the country and deals extensively with PPP tenders in the country.
- Charis Theocharis is a Greek MP from the ruling party "New Democracy", he serves as the parliamentary spokesman for the faction and in his previous role he served as Greece's tourism minister and had good relations with Israel during his tenure. Theocharis is a software engineer by training and has worked in key positions in private companies and startups in Greece and London.
- Grigoris Tasios is president of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers and for the past decade has served as president of the Halkidiki Tourism Organization. Also serves as Vice President of the Board of the Greek Tourism Confederation, President of the Hotel Association of Halkidiki and CEO and co-owner of the Philoxenia Hotel. He also holds a degree in Tourism Management.
- Dr. Katerina Sardi is the Country Manager & Managing Director of Energean Greece. The Greek energy company, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange, holds the production rights for the Crocodile and Shark gas reservoirs in Israel. Sardi, who holds a postdoctoral fellowship in fluid mechanics and natural gas combustion from Imperial College in London, has served for more than a decade in the Greek Energy Regulatory Authority as head of energy planning and international affairs.
- Errikos Arones is the CEO of the real estate company Hellenic Properties, which invests in residential, business, hotel and logistics real estate. Prior to that, he managed the non-profit organization The People Trust, which aims to reduce unemployment in Greece by encouraging entrepreneurship. In addition, for a decade he managed the family real estate company Arones Real Estate.
- Alexandros Angelopoulos is the vice president of the Greek hotel chain Aldemar Resorts, a family-owned company that owns about 5,500 hotel rooms in Greece and employs about 1,400 people. Angelopoulos serves as a founding member of the Greek National Competitiveness Committee, a member of the Governance Advisory Committee and Public Law at the Center for Sustainable Development and a board member of the Hellenic Hotels Association.
- Maria Theofanopoulou is the CEO and publisher of the travel and communications company Greek Travel Pages. She also serves as the President and CEO of Danae Airlines and the owner of GTP Headlines. Theofanopoulou also serves as a lobbyist, and speaks at conferences.
- Stavros Tolias is the CEO of the private equity fund ZOIA, which has invested about $2.5 billion in six countries, including Israel. The company managed over 20,000 properties. Tolias has two decades of experience in management, business development and real estate in Greece and southeastern Europe.
- Frank Roseen manages the capital market division and is a director at Aroundtown, the largest commercial real estate company in Germany and the fourth largest in Europe. The company specializes in the purchase and improvement of office and hotel real estate. Roseen has served as CFO of leading real estate and investment firms and holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stockholm University.
- Eleni Vrettou is the Chief Strategy and Investor Relations Officer at the real estate company Lamda Development. The company, which is traded on the Athens Stock Exchange, specializes in commercial real estate and the shopping complexes sector. She has extensive experience in banks and investments and has held a number of key positions at Pireas Bank, HSBC and Eurobank.
- Natalia Strafti is a managing partner and one of the founders of Grivalia, a company that specializes in income-producing real estate investments and asset management, and currently manages $3.1 billion in assets in Greece.
- Konstantinos Bikas was the Greek Ambassador to Israel and is currently a senior director of the Greek corporation MYTILINEOS, a leading global industrial and energy company.
As part of the conference, a delegation of more than 100 CEOs, entrepreneurs and senior executives of the Israeli economy will attend a unique meeting with their Greek counterparts to explore together ways to deepen ties in real estate, finance, hotels, tourism, energy and innovation.
Notable participants include Itzik Dayan, who together with his brother Amir owns Africa Israel Hotels and the real estate company Vivion, which owns 54 hotels in the UK and another 35 income-producing properties in Germany; businessman Nachshon Kivity, who owns and chairs B.S.R’ ; Ronit Segal, CEO of PassportCard and DavidShield Israel; Keren Barak, MK on behalf of the Likud and serves as chair of the Israel-Greece Friendship Lobby; Yossi Amrani, Israeli Ambassador to Greece, and more.