Michalakis Leptos: Business leadership is integrity

There is always room for improvements, says the 80-year-old head of a land and building development business empire

Michalakis Leptos: Business leadership is integrity

Michalakis Leptos (on the right) received the 2017 Honorary Business Leader Award by the Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades

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Автор: Branislava Bobanats

He has been in business for six decades now. At the age of 80, he continues to head and manage the leading land development company in Cyprus. In his long life and professional experience, he professes the philosophy that true business leadership means, above all, integrity. He admires Henry Ford as "a talented entrepreneur and a great visionary who has changed the way modern people see the world." He is the Founder and Chairperson of the Management Board of one of the leading private universities in Cyprus. At the end of last year, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEBE) honoured him with the 2017 Honorary Business Leader Award for his overall contribution to entrepreneurship, which was given to him by the President Nicos Anastasiades personally.

All this is Michalakis Leptos, one of the legendary names in the Cypriot economy, Founder and President of Leptos Group of Companies - a business empire that unites more than 30 companies.  Besides being an undisputed leader in the Cyprus land development market, it is actively present in the construction sector, hotel management, property management, tourism, investment sector, insurance sector, health care, education. The Group has offices in Cyprus, Greece, Great Britain, Russia, China, Dubai.

Its beginning was set in 1960, when the young engineer at that time, Michael Leptos, with a diploma from the Polytechnic School of Athens, founded his first company in his home city of Kyrenia. He started his own small business in the sphere of land and building development, and thanks to his intuition and vision, he soon became a real innovator in the industry. 14 years later, however, he had to start from the beginning. After the Turkish invasion in 1974, his native city remained in the occupied part of the island, and Michalakis Leptos was forced to abandon significant projects and properties. He relocated his activities in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, and later established his business centre in Paphos, on the west coast of Cyprus.

In Cyprus, the name "Leptos" is related today with large, bold, modern and innovative mega projects of prestigious and luxury hotels, holiday villages, residential complexes that have won many international professional awards.

In October last year, the Cyprus President Nikos Anastasiades personally took part in the foundation stone laying ceremony of Limassol Del Mar - a super luxury resort complex in one of the most prestigious areas of the sea capital Limassol, which is expected to become the newest "jewel" of the Mediterranean coast of Cyprus. It is an entirely private initiative, and is being constructed by a consortium between two of the country's most renowned luxury land development entrepreneurs - Leptos Group and D. Zavos Group. Limassol Del Mar represents the "new wave" in the island's architecture, and is considered one of the most ambitious development projects in Cyprus. The complex, consisting of two luxurious towers with a total front area of 170-meter and facing the sea, with a height of 107 meters and 27 floors, will offer luxury apartments and residences, shops and restaurants, 5-star amenities and services. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2019, and the second one - a year later.

The jewel in the crown of Leptos Group, however, is the first Mediterranean smart eco city.  Neapolis Smart EcoCity ("Nea Polis- a new city in Greek) is the island's largest project, and one of the most significant in all of Southern Europe. The future modern and innovative 21st-century city will extend on more than 1.1 million square meters on the west coast of the island, in close proximity to the city of Paphos. On its territory, there will be about 6,000 new homes, hotels, an international business park, a Centre for Innovation, Research and Development, a campus of the private Neapolis University, founded by Michalakis Leptos in 2010, and now in the Top 5 of the island's universities. The business part will also include a health park/hospital that Leptos Group already has in its portfolio, a wellness centre, a rehabilitation centre, entertainment and recreation centres. The eco city is based on ecological and sustainable principles, including green technology and smart infrastructure. The cost of this project, which aims to create a prototype of an ecologically efficient and smart city on an international scale, is expected to reach about EUR 2.4 billion.

In 2009, Michalakis Leptos received for the first time the award of the KEBE for Leptos Group's contribution to the development of the Cypriot economy, which was given to him by the country's president at that time - Dimitris Christofias. 8 years later, he was once again at the top, with a recognition from the Cypriot business community, and for the second time the President of Cyprus welcomed his success. The Honorary Award that was given to him in December was for "his work, his overall contribution and business activities in Cyprus, characterized by his leadership, vision and innovative strategies."

Last year was linked with another major event in Michalakis Leptos' life and business - in May, with a spectacular celebration, honoured by the entire economic and political elite of Cyprus, he celebrated his 80th birthday. The lessons of this long journey he sums up in his philosophy of success.

"Knowledge, vision, integrity, courage, ability to make plans, fulfilment of commitments, innovation and, of course, hard work - these are the basic skills that an effective business leader must possess. Every creation requires knowledge, prediction, optimism and especially perseverance. The combination of all these elements is the real challenge. No matter how hard it is, when someone tries, there is always room for improvement. And even the most successful business leaders need to work hard to get even better results. Being a leader also means that you must always prepare the way for others, says Michalakis Leptos.

On a personal level, he has followers - his sons are among the highest managers of the Group, and Pantelis Leptos is its Vice President, as well as Chairperson of the Cyprus Land and Building Developers Association. On a social level, Michalakis Leptos relies on the youngest generation.  "You are the new power, innovation and high achievements, the hope for the restoration of our country," he said as President of the Neapolis University at last year's graduation ceremony.

"In Leptos Group, we believe that the value of each company is measured not with the momentary benefits and returns of the day, but with the inheritance it leaves for future generations," says Michalakis Leptos, businessperson No. 1 in Cyprus for 2017.
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