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George Logothetis, 39

Chairman and CEO, Libra Group
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Photograph by Ben Baker for Fortune; Grid Photo: Courtesy of Libra Group

The grandson of a ship chandler (“the lowest of the low” in the sailor’s hierarchy, Logothetis says), the London-born Greek businessman still considers himself an underdog. The Financial Times uses another word: “tycoon.” At age 19, he took over his family’s then-tiny shipping business, and over the next two decades displayed an almost uncanny knack for buying low and selling high. He bought ships for cheap during a glut, sold them at the market peak, and bought big again during the 2009 lows, snapping up some $7 billion in diversified assets since then. His holding company Libra Group now controls 30 subsidiaries across five continents, with solar assets, 80 ships, 90 helicopters and more than 40 hotels. He remembers standing in line at a New York Starbucks while Lehman was collapsing, reading headlines about the markets tanking, and thinking, “this is the opportunity of a lifetime.” No kidding.

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