|Born||Stavros Spyros Niarchos
3 July 1909
|Died||16 April 1996
|Spouse(s)||Helen Sporides (m. 1930–31)
Melpomene Capparis (m. 1939–47)
Eugenia Livanos (m. 1947–65)
Charlotte Ford (m. 1965–67)
Athina Livanos (m. 1971–74)
Stavros Spyros Niarchos (Greek: Σταύρος Σπύρος Νιάρχος, Greek pronunciation: [ˈstavros ˈspiros 'ɲarxos]; 3 July 1909 – 16 April 1996) was a billionaire Greek shipping tycoon. Starting in 1952, he had the world's biggest supertankers built for his fleet. Propelled by both the Suez Crisis and an increasing demand for oil, he and rival Aristotle Onassis became giants in global petroleum shipping.
Niarchos was also a noted thoroughbred horse breeder and racer, several times the leading owner and number one on the French breed list.
Stavros was born in Athens, son of Spyros Niarchos and his wife, Eugenia Koumantaros. His parents were naturalized Americans who 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 Koumantaros family's grain business. During this period, he became involved in shipping by convincing his relatives their firm would be more profitable if it owned its own ships.
Niarchos was a naval officer in World War II, during which time part of the trade fleet he had developed with his uncle was destroyed. He used about two million dollars in insurance settlement to build a new fleet, and owned the yacht Atlantis.
He then founded Niarchos Ltd., an international shipping company that at one time operated more than 80 tankers worldwide. He and Aristotle Onassis were great shipping rivals. The first supertankers capable of transporting large quantities of oil were built in 1952 for the competing Niarchos and Onassis fleets. In 1955 Vickers Armstrongs Shipbuilders Ltd launched the 30,708 GRT SS Spyros Niarchos. Then the world's largest supertanker, it was named after Niarchos' second son, Spyros, born earlier that year.
Niarchos was married five times:
- To Helen Sporides in 1930, a daughter of Admiral Constantine Sporides, lasted one year.
- To Melpomene Capparis in 1939, whom he divorced in 1947.
- To Eugenia Livanos in 1947, a daughter of shipping magnate Stavros G. Livanos. They 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).
- To Charlotte Ford in 1966, daughter of tycoon automaker Henry Ford II, in Mexico. Their daughter Elena Anne Ford was born six months later. When the marriage ended in divorce the following year Niarchos returned to his former wife, Eugenia. No remarriage was necessary, since the couple's 1965 Mexican divorce had not been recognized by Greek law.
- To Athina Livanos, his third wife Eugenia's sister, in 1971. Then the Marchioness of Blandford, Athina ahad been the first wife of Aristotle Onassis. She died of an overdose in 1974.
Niarchos had two daughters and three sons:
- By his third wife, Eugenia Livanos, whom he never divorced under Greek law:
- Maria Isabella Niarchos, a breeder of thoroughbreds. Married to Stephane Gouazé. Mother of two children: Artur Gouazé and Maia Gouazé
- 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 Thomas "Loel" Guinness and his first wife, Joan, later wife of Prince 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 firstly 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 firstly 1991 (divorced) to Stanley Jozef Olender, married secondly 1996 Joseph Daniel Rippolone (divorced), with issue.
Thoroughbred horse racing
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' there list three times (1989, 1993, 1994).
After his death in 1996, his daughter Maria Niarchos-Gouazé took charge of racing operations. She too was successful, her colt Bago winning France's most important race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, in 2004, and her filly Divine Proportions capturing the 2005 Prix de Diane by winning 9 out of her 10 races until a serious tendon injury cut the horse's racing career short.
- Time, 1996. Milestones.
- Meare, David. "Tirgoviste and Spyros Niarchos - IMO 5337329". Shipspotting.com. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- Corlett, Ewan (1981). The Revolution in Merchant Shipping 1950–1980. The Ship. series editor: Basil Greenhill. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office on behalf of the National Maritime Museum. p. 25. ISBN 0-11-290320-7.
- Time, 1965. An International Marriage.
- Thomas, Robert, Jr. (1996-04-18). "Stavros Niarchos, Greek Shipping Magnate And the Archrival of Onassis, Is Dead at 86". The New York Times.
- "Ship Seizure". Time. 1953-09-14. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "Biggest Tanker". Time. 1954-02-22. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "Cover". Time. 1956-08-06. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "The New Argonauts". Time. 1956-08-06. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "The Golden Fleece". Time. 1957-11-04. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "Oil from Russia". Time. 1960-07-11. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "An International Marriage". Time: 3. 1965. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "Rivalry of Riches". Time. 1968-04-12. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "When Giants Clash". Time. 1968-03-21. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "The Burgher from Minnesota". Time. 1969-05-30. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "The Multi-million Dollar Match". Time. 1975-08-04. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- "Milestones". Time. 1996-04-29. Retrieved 2008-04-14.
- The Stavros Niarchos Foundation
- Niarchos Group
- Celebrities in Switzerland
- Mentioned in Time's People section (Monday, Sep. 28, 1970)