P. Germanos: The founder of Olympia
Panos Germanos, the founder of Olympia, stands out for his insight and his ability to foresee business opportunities. Since operations began, he has encouraged a spirit of entrepreneurial autonomy in his partners at the Olympia Group, creating independent business activities, free of constraints or dependencies. At the same time, he has passed on his personal vision of corporate development and business ethics to his partners, creating a modern Group which is financially robust and governed by steadfast corporate responsibility. With this philosophy, he ensures that the future of the Olympia Group will be both independent and more dynamic, making the transition into the new era smooth, creative and successful.
Panos Germanos is originally from Milies, in the prefecture of Ilia. He joined the workforce at a young age, while continuing his university studies and graduating from the Department of Economics at the School of Law, University of Athens.
He quickly turned to the technology sector, as his business instinct led him to foresee developments and the future. Thus, he took on key positions in the companies Union Carbide – UCAR.
In 1980, he entered the business arena, establishing the first GERMANOS store in the centre of Athens, initially selling batteries. Through important agreements and synergies, he transformed the company into a unique success story, winning his own personal wager. By 2006 he had built the largest mobile telephony retail network in Southeast Europe, with more than 5,000 employees and over 1,000 stores across seven countries (Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and FYROM).
The buyout of the SUNLIGHT Industrial Complex was a pivotal point in his career. Anticipating investment opportunities with high returns, he acquired a share in a mobile telephony company in Uzbekistan, which he went on to sell in 2006.
2006 was a landmark year for Panos Germanos. His strategic decisions and synergies led him to establish the company OLYMPIA, which is today a Global Investment Group present in 10 countries, serving as the main hub for eight autonomous business operations.
Earlier the same year, he sold his share in the Hellenic Duty Free Shops and the flagship of the Group, the GERMANOS network of stores. At the time, the sale of the GERMANOS stores to Cosmote was the largest business agreement to take place in recent years between two purely Greek companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, transforming the telecommunications market as we knew it.
Today, the OLYMPIA Group includes: a) the Public chain, with 53 technology and entertainment stores in Greece and Cyprus, b) the company SYSTEMS SUNLIGHT, which has evolved into one of the most powerful Greek export companies, present in four countries and a leader on both a European and global level, c) WESTNET, a leading company in the distribution of technology products and present in two countries, and e) the private equity company Tollerton Investments Ltd, which focuses on the European telecommunications market, operating from Cyprus.
The Group is also a shareholder in SoftOne and METIS. SoftOne develops business software and operates in four countries, and METIS specialises in the development of software for international shipping.
The Olympia Group also has a strong presence in the Polish market – through the mobile telephony company PLAY, already the number one provider in terms of subscribers – and in Northern Europe (Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Poland), through the company AASA, a consumer credit provider. At the end of 2017 the Olympia Group, jointly with VNK Capital, announced the acquisition of a stake in Lamda Development.