Jump to: navigation, search

Stavros Niarchos

Stavros Spyros Niarchos
Born 3, 1909(1909-Template:MONTHNUMBER-03)
Athens, Greece
Died 16, 1996 (aged 86)
Zürich, Switzerland[1]
Occupation Shipping
Spouse(s) Template:Event
Children Maria Niarchos
Philip Niarchos
Spyros Niarchos
Konstantin Niarchos
Elena Ford

Stavros Spyros Niarchos (3 July 1909 – 16 April 1996) was a Greek shipping tycoon, sometimes known as "The Golden Greek." In 1952, Stavros Niarchos built the first supertankers capable of transporting large quantities of oil, and subsequently earned millions of dollars as global demand for his ships increased.


Early life

He was born in Athens, son of Spyros Niarchos and his wife, Eugenia Coumandaros. His parents were naturalized Americans and had owned a department store in Buffalo, New York before returning to Greece, three months prior to his birth. He studied law at the University of Athens, after which he went to work in the Coumandaros family's grain business.[2] During this period, he became involved in shipping by convincing his relatives that greater profits could be achieved if the firm owned the ships involved.[3]

Shipping successes

He was a naval officer in World War II, during which time part of the trade fleet he had built with his uncle was destroyed. He used about two million dollars in insurance money to build a new fleet.

Stavros Niarchos founded Niarchos Ltd., an international shipping company that at one time operated more than 80 tankers worldwide. In 1952, he built the first supertankers capable of transporting large quantities of oil. His naval rival, Aristotle Onassis, did the same in 1952. In 1956 the Suez Canal Crisis considerably increased the demand for the type of large tonnage ships that Niarchos owned. Business flourished and he became a billionaire.


Niarchos's five marriages produced two daughters: Maria and Elena; and three sons: Philippos, also known as Philippe, Spyros, and the late Konstantin.

  • His first marriage, in 1930, to Helen Sporides, a daughter of Admiral Constantine Sporides, lasted one year.
  • His second marriage was to Melpomene Capparis in 1939, whom he divorced in 1947.[4]
  • His third wife was Eugenia Livanos, a daughter of shipping magnate Stavros G. Livanos. They married in 1947 and divorced in 1965; she died in 1970 at the age of 44, after an overdose of barbiturates.
    • During this marriage he had an affair with Pamela Churchill (later Pamela Harriman).
  • His fourth wife was American automotive heiress and socialite Charlotte Ford (a daughter of Henry Ford II), in Mexico.[4] Their daughter Elena Anne Ford was born six months later. The marriage ended in divorce the following year (1967), whereupon Niarchos returned to his former wife, Eugenia. No remarriage was necessary, since the couple's 1965 Mexican divorce was not recognized in Greece. [3]
  • In 1971, Niarchos married his wife Eugenia's sister, Athina, Marchioness of Blandford, who had been the first wife of Aristotle Onassis. She died of an overdose in 1974.

From the late 1970s until his death, he was linked to Princess Firyal of Jordan. He was also said to be linked to Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy.

By his third and fifth wife Eugenia Livanos, whom he never divorced under Greek law, he had one daughter and three sons:

  • Maria Isabella Niarchos, a breeder of thoroughbreds. Married to Stephane Gouaze. Mother of two children: Athur Gouaze and Mia Gouaze
  • Philippos, also known as Philippe Niarchos, art collector. Married in 1984 to his third wife Victoria Guinness (b. 1960), who is the younger daughter of Patrick Benjamin Guinness (son of Loel Guinness and his first wife, Joan, later Princess Joan Aly Khan and finally Viscountess Camrose) and Baroness Dolores von Fürstenberg-Herdringen. They had four children together: Stavros Niarchos Jr. (b. 1985), Eugenie Niarchos (b. 1986), Theodorakis Niarchos (b. 1991), Electra Niarchos (b. 1995)
  • Spyros (b. 1955) married 1987 (divorced 1999) the Hon. Daphne Guinness (b. 1967), daughter of Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne by his second wife Suzanne Lisney, and had issue three children: Nicolas Stavros Niarchos (b. 1989), Alexis Spyros Niarchos (b. 1991) and Ines Niarchos (b. 1995). Spyros is a good friend of Prince Ernst August of Hanover, and was best man at his wedding to Princess Caroline of Monaco.
  • Konstantin, or Constantine Niarchos (1962-1999); married 1stly 1987 (divorced) Princess Alessandra Borghese, no issue; married secondly the Brazilian artist Silvia Martin, no issue. He was the first Greek to scale Mt. Everest. At his death of a massive cocaine overdose in 1999, The Independent (UK) reported he had been left one billion dollars as his share of his late father's estate.

By his fourth wife Charlotte Ford,

  • Elena Ford (b. 1966) married 1stly 1991 (divorced) to Stanley Jozef Olender, married 2ndly 1996 Joseph Daniel Rippolone (divorced), with issue.

Later career

After the oil crisis of 1973, Stavros Niarchos sold off some of his companies and launched into finances and the diamond trade. In the 1980s, he came more and more often to Geneva, from where he managed his business around the globe. The Golden Greek, as his fellow countrymen liked to call him, retired in the nineties to his main residence in Saint-Moritz, in the Swiss canton Graubünden, where he devoted a lot of time to his favorite sport, skiing.

In 1956 Niarchos acquired the important art collection of actor Edward G. Robinson and over the years put together one of the world's most significant collections with more than one hundred Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings. In 1989, he purchased Picasso's self-portrait "Yo Picasso" for $47,850,000, plus he acquired works by Van Gogh, Goya, El Greco, and Rubens.

Thoroughbred horse racing

Stavros Niarchos began investing in thoroughbred horse racing in the early 1970s when he put together a highly successful stable of racehorses that competed in France and the United Kingdom. He eventually acquired the Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard horse breeding farm in Neuvy-au-Houlme, France and Oak Tree Farm in Lexington, Kentucky where in 1984 he bred his most successful horse, Miesque. Niarchos was the leading owner in France twice (1983, 1984) and topped the breeders' list three times (1989, 1993, 1994).

After his death in 1996, his daughter Maria Niarchos-Gouazé took charge of the racing operations. She continued to build on his success, and in 2004 her colt Bago won France's most important race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Stavros Niarchos died in 1996, in Zurich. He is buried in the family tomb in Lausanne.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Time, 1996. Milestones.
  2. [1]
  3. [2]
  4. 4.0 4.1 Time, 1965. An International Marriage.


<tr style="height:2px;"><td></td></tr><tr><td class="navbox-group" style=";;">Descendants of Stavros Niarchos</td><td style="text-align:left;border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px;;;" class="navbox-list navbox-odd">
Philip NiarchosSpyros Niarchos • Konstantin NiarchosTemplate:•wElena Ford • Maria Niarchos
</td></tr><tr style="height:2px"><td></td></tr><tr><td class="navbox-group" style=";;">Philip NiarchosTemplate:•wVictoria Niarchos</td><td style="text-align:left;border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px;;;" class="navbox-list navbox-even">
Stavros Niarchos IIITemplate:•wEugenie NiarchosTemplate:•wTheodorakis ("Theo") NiarchosTemplate:•wElectra Niarchos
</td></tr><tr style="height:2px"><td></td></tr><tr><td class="navbox-group" style=";;">Spyros NiarchosTemplate:•wDaphne Guinness</td><td style="text-align:left;border-left-width:2px;border-left-style:solid;width:100%;padding:0px;;;" class="navbox-list navbox-odd">
Nicolas Stavros NiarchosTemplate:•wAlexis ("Lex") NiarchosTemplate:•wInes Niarchos
</td></tr><tr style="height:2px;"><td></td></tr><tr><td class="navbox-abovebelow" style=";" colspan="2"></span> SpetsopoulaTemplate:•wStavros Niarchos Foundation


External links


Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...