Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is best known for founding the low-cost airline easyJet and the Stelmar shipping line. He was born in Athens, Greece, on 14 February 1967.
Stelios started by founding the shipping company Stelmar in 1992 with a large loan from his father. With the success of the company and inspired by Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic he started easyJet, a “budget” airline in 1995 again with an investment by his family.
The airline was an enormous success due to the availability of second-hand aircraft and cheap aviation fuel, easyJet being one of the major leaders in the European cheap flights’ boom of the 1990s. Stelios expanded his interests with the formation of the easyGroup in 1998. Through easyGroup he owns or part-owns a range of companies, covering a range of activities such as internet cafés, credit card finance, car rental, cinemas, buses, and hotels.
“Successes are always unique and hard to copy.
The fact that easyJet became a success is due to a mixture of talent and luck.”
Stelios’ charitable foundation, the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, supports education, as well as entrepreneurial and environmental initiatives through the provision of funding and advice in the UK, Greece, and Cyprus. It also sponsors annual awards with cash prizes to entrepreneurs in the UK, Greece, and Cyprus.
Stelios lives in Monaco, London, and Athens.