Our officers and board of directors are well qualiﬁed as leaders. In their prior positions they have gained experience in core management skills, such as strategic and ﬁnancial planning, public company ﬁnancial reporting, compliance, risk management, and leadership development. Our officers and directors also have experience serving on boards of directors and board committees of other public companies and private companies, and have an understanding of corporate governance practices and trends, which provides an understanding of different business processes, challenges, and strategies. Further, certain of our officers and directors have other experience that makes them valuable, such as prior experience identifying and engaging a target in connection with a blank check company business combination, managing and investing assets or facilitating the consummation of business combinations.
Prokopios (Akis) Tsirigakis
Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and co-Chief Executive Officer
Prokopios (Akis) Tsirigakis has served as our Chairman of the Board of Directors, President and co-Chief Executive Officer since December 2015. From May 2011 until October 2013, Mr. Tsirigakis co-founded and served as Chairman and Co-CEO of Nautilus Marine, a special purpose acquisition company that completed an initial public offering on July 16, 2011 and was listed on Nasdaq. Mr. Tsirigakis has served as the CEO of Nautilus Offshore Services Inc., an offshore service vessel owner and the successor of Nautilus Marine, since October 2013 and as a Vice President of Dryships, Inc. (Nasdaq: DRYS), which acquired Nautilus Offshore Services Inc., since December 2015. From May 2005 to November 2007, he co-founded and served as Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of, Star Maritime (AMEX:SEA), a blank check company. From November 2007 until February 2011, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of, Star Bulk Carriers Corp., a dry-bulk ship-owning company and the successor of Star Maritime. From November 2003 until November 2007, he served as Managing Director of Oceanbulk Maritime S.A., a company that operated and managed dry bulk vessels. From November 1998 to November 2007, Mr. Tsirigakis established and served as the Managing Director of Combine Marine Inc., a company providing ship management services to third parties. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Tsirigakis was the Vice-President and Technical Director of Konkar Shipping Agencies S.A. of Athens, after having served as Konkar’s Technical Director from 1984 to 1991. From 1981 to 1984, Mr. Tsirigakis was the Technical Manager of Konkar’s affiliate, Arkon Shipping Agencies Inc. of New York. From 2011 to 2015, Mr. Tsirigakis served as a director of Ocean Rig UDW Inc. (Nasdaq: ORIG). Mr. Tsirigakis received his Masters Degree (1979) and B.Sc. in Naval Architecture from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
co-Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Director
George Syllantavos has served as our co-Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Director since December 2015. Mr. Syllantavos co-founded in February 2013, and is Chief Executive Officer of, Nautilus Energy Management Corp. (not affiliated with Nautilus Offshore Services Inc.), a maritime energy services company involved in maritime project business development and ship management focusing on the offshore supply and gas sectors. From September 2009 to February 2017, he was the President, Secretary, Treasurer and sole director of BTHC X, Inc. (OTCBB: BTXI), a company exploring business combination opportunities in the technology sectors and has been a Member of its Board of Directors following the acquisition of UK-based iOra Software Ltd., a company providing data encryption and secure transmission software and services for both military and commercial applications. From May 2011 until February 2013, Mr. Syllantavos co-founded and served as Co-CEO and CFO of Nautilus Marine, a special purpose acquisition company that completed an initial public offering on July 16, 2011 and was listed on Nasdaq. He served as the CFO of Nautilus Offshore Services Inc., an offshore service vessel owner and the successor of Nautilus Marine, from February 2013 until April 2014. From November 2007 to August 2011, he served as Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Director of Star Bulk Carriers Corp., a dry-bulk ship-owning company. From May 2005 to November 2007, he served as the Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Director of Star Maritime (AMEX:SEA), its predecessor, which was a blank check company. From May 1999 to December 2007, he was the President and General Manager of Vortex Ltd., an aviation consulting firm specializing in strategic analysis, fleet planning and asset management. From January 1998 to April 1999, he served as a financial advisor to Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A., where, on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer, he coordinated and led the company’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:OTE) and where he had responsibilities for the strategic planning and implementation of multiple acquisitions of fixed-line telecommunications companies. Mr. Syllantavos served as a financial and strategic advisor to both the Greek Ministry of Industry & Energy (from June 1995 to May 1996) and the Greek Ministry of Health (from May 1996 to January 1998), where, in 1997 and 1998, he helped structure the equivalent of a US$700 million bond issuance for the payment of outstanding debts to the suppliers of the Greek National Health System. From 1998 to 2004, he served as a member of the Investment Committee of a merchant banking firm, where he reviewed and analyzed many acquisition targets of small or medium sized privately-held manufacturing firms in the U.S. and internationally, of which he assisted in negotiating, structuring and implementing the acquisition of several such firms. Before that, he served for almost 5 years as an aviation consultant specializing in strategic planning and fleet asset management. Mr. Syllantavos has a B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering from Roosevelt University in Chicago and an MBA in Operations Management, International Finance and Transportation Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (USA)
Alexandros Argyros is one of our independent directors as of August 2016. Since March 2010, he has been with Axia Ventures Group serving as Managing Director and Head of the firm’s Investment Banking Division. From May 2011 until February 2013, Mr. Argyros served as a Director of Nautilus Marine, a special purpose acquisition company that completed an initial public offering on July 16, 2011 and was listed on Nasdaq. From early 2009 to March 2010, Mr. Argyros was a director of FiliaGroup, a private equity fund focusing on investments in the Environmental and Alternative Energy sectors. Prior to 2009, he spent seven years, from 2002 to 2009 with Morgan Stanley, three years, from June 2002 to August 2005 with the Global Industrials Group in New York and London and four years, from February 2006 to February 2010 with the Southeastern Europe/Greek coverage team focusing mainly on transactions involving companies, both public and private, in the commercial shipping sector. He currently sits, since 2010 on the Board of Directors of Filia Environmental Industries S.A. and FiliaCom S.A., both private companies active in the Environmental and Alternative Energy fields. Alexandros holds a BA. in Economics from Amherst College (USA).
Tiziano Paravagna is one of our independent directors as of August 2016. He is Head of Sale and Purchase and Projects department since March 2007 at IFCHOR SA, a major brokerage and advisory company in the maritime industry headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. He specializes in putting together large long-period chartering deals of major international charterers and commodity houses, especially Japanese ones, with international ship-owning groups. He created and established the Sale and Purchase and Projects department with offices in Lausanne, Switzerland and Athens, Greece. From 2004 to March 2007, Mr. Paravagna was employed as a Sale & Purchase and Projects broker for Genoa Sea Brokers S.p.A., in Genoa, Italy. Due to the nature of his work, Mr. Paravagna has developed an extensive and valuable network within the energy and transportation sectors. Mr. Paravagna has extensive experience in asset transactions in the energy and transportation sector, while during the last 10 years he has been involved in numerous transactions with an aggregate value exceeding $1.2 billion. Mr. Paravagna holds a Doctorate in Naval Architecture and Engineering from Genoa University (Italy) and was an Erasmus exchange student at Strathclyde University (Glasgow).
Eleonora (Liona) Bacha
Eleonora (Liona) Bacha is one of our independent directors as of August 2016. Ms. Bacha founded Hellaschart Ltd. in 2000, where she currently holds the position of Managing Director. Hellaschart is a chartering and brokering company serving charterers, ship owners and terminal operators worldwide. Ms. Bacha was honored with the Lloyds’ List “Shipbroker of the Year 2011” award. Prior to that, since 1990, Ms. Bacha was an executive at Hellastir Shipping Agencies, the exclusive Chartering Partner for Zim Israel Navigation within the Greek market. Ms. Bacha served as secretary of the Greece-Israel Friendship League for 3 years, from 1993 to 1996, while since 1990 she is a member of the Hellenic Shipbrokers Association, where she serves as elected member and vice president of the Board of Directors since March 2015. Since January 2016 she is a member of the W.I.B. (women in business) committee of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce. She is a founding member of the Greek Shipbrokers Shipping Companies Association, a founding member of the Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), where she served as secretary for 4 years from 1992 to 1996. She is a founding member of the Newbuilding Club, where she served as treasurer from 1988 to 1990 and a member of The Propeller Club of the United States since 1995. Ms. Bacha received her Bachelor in Economics and Political Sciences from Athens University and her Masters in Shipping, Trade and Finance from City University Business School (CASS), London.