Working Lives Athens
Entrepreneur and social activist George Vernicos is a descendant of a seafaring family from the island of Sifnos that first begun its shipping activities in the mid-19th Century in Istanbul and moved to Piraeus in the 1920s. He has studied economics in Athens and in London.
At a young age he was involved in student activism in Greece and like many students at the time he was arrested and beaten by the military dictatorship.
After the fall of the junta in 1974 he decided to break away from the family fortune and started his own business. His love of the sea led him to work with yachts. He still remembers buying his first small yacht, selling it and slowly starting to build his fortune.
He believes Greece is a yachting paradise. One of his more famous customers, George Bush Sr, stands on a Vernicos yacht smiling at the camera in a well-placed photograph in his office to reinforce the point.
The crisis has affected his business but he believes it is part of the cycle of good times and bad times and that Greece and the rest of the world is facing hard times right now - but it will eventually pass.