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Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou  

Founder easyGroup

At 40 years of age Stelios, who prefers to be called by his first name, is best known for creating easyJet PLC when he was 28. He is often credited as the pioneer who changed the European aviation scene for the benefit of millions of consumers. easyJet PLC was partially floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 but Stelios remains the single largest shareholder. A serial entrepreneur, Stelios has established more than 17 ventures, the first of which was Stelmar Shipping at the age of 25. In November 2006 Stelios received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for services to entrepreneurship.

Nowadays, acting through his private investment vehicle, the easyGroup, which owns the easy brand and licenses it to the various easy branded ventures, including the airline, Stelios sees himself more as the manager of the brand and less as a manager of one of the companies. easyGroup businesses include easyJet PLC which is Europe's largest low cost airline, easyCar, easyCruise, easyBus and easyHotel, among others. Businesses outside the travel industry cover areas such as Internet cafés, online price comparison, personal finance, cinema, male toiletries, online recruitment, pizza delivery, music downloads, mobile telephony, and wrist watches.

Stelios was born in Greece and received his education at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the City University Business School, where he obtained an MSC in Shipping Trade and Economics.On the ""giving something back"" side, Stelios is interested in education for under-privileged students and sustainable development. In 1992 he founded CYMEPA, the Cyprus Marine Environment Protection Association. This is a non-profit making association of ship owners and Cyprus-based business people who believe in sustainable development.

In 2005 he created the Stelios Scholars at the LSE and the City of London Cass Business School, a programme worth £3m for the funding of 100 scholarships over 10 years in each establishment. In 2006 he established the Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year Award with the disability charity Leonard Cheshire, with £50,000 going to the winner.

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