William Tavoulareas

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William Peter "Bill" Tavoulareas (November 9, 1919[citation needed] – January 13, 1996) was a Greek-American petroleum businessman who served as President and Chief Executive of the Mobil Corporation in the 1970s and 1980s. He was best known for his libel lawsuit against The Washington Post, due to the newspaper's investigative journalism articles criticizing him.[1][2]

He was a close friend of U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Tavoulareas was born in Messenia, Greece[1] and moved to the United States, to Queens, New York, at age 15.[1] He earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from St. John's University School of Law.[1][4]


In 1982 Tavoulareas was unsuccessful in bringing $2 million libel suit against the Washington Post for saying he used his corporate position to "set up his son" (Peter Tavoulareas) in a shipping business. The initial jury's award was put aside by the judge hearing the case because he said Tavoulareas had not proven "actual malice". The Court of Appeals confirmed the ruling, finding the story substantially true and holding that "the record abounds with uncontradicted evidence of nepotism in favor of Peter [Tavoulareas' son]".[5]


He succeeded Rawleigh Warner, Jr. at Mobil.[6]

He was also on the Boards of Aramco, Bankers Trust, Philip Morris, St. John's University, Georgetown University, Athens College, St. Francis Hospital, a Governor of New York Hospital, and served on the Boards of numerous charities both nationally and internationally.[citation needed] He was a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.


He died at age 75 in Boca Raton, Florida, where he lived in his later years.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "William P. Tavoulareas, 75, Former Mobil President, Dies". The New York Times. 16 January 1996. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b "WILLIAM P. TAVOULAREAS DIES". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  3. ^ To Ethnos (in Greek), 1988-11-06, Σχέδιο Κοσκωτά : Φάση 1η, Φιλιππόπουλος, Αλέκος
  4. ^ Barbara Rosewicz (July 28, 1982). "A three-man, three-woman jury, told that 'truth is a..." upi.com. United Press International. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  5. ^ TAVOULAREAS v. PIRO 817 F.2d 762 (D.C. Cir. 1987)
  6. ^ Arnold, Laurence. "Rawleigh Warner, Mobil CEO Who Shaped Company Image, Dies at 92". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 19 July 2016.