Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Hairy Greek Is Probably Winning Speaking Prizes

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Hairy Greek Is Probably Winning Speaking Prizes

Article excerpt

QUESTION: What is the connection between me, hairs in the bath, a Greek Government airline, boardroom hassles and an attempt to take a 22ft ladder on the London Underground?

Answer: The bloke in the photograph.

This bloke is my age although I know he looks older ... He's got less hair than me but I'm sure he's got much more money.

He's probably one of the most distinguished aviation consultants in the world, a transport economist, businessman, author, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Society of Arts. He's got a Doctorate in Air Transport from the leftie London School of Economics and a publication record as long as your arm.

Since 2005, he's been a non-executive director of the British budget airline, EasyJet, founded in 1995 by Greek-Cypriot businessman Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Two months ago, Sir Stelios tried to call an extraordinary general meeting of the airline's shareholders in an attempt to remove the bloke in the photograph from the board. There was apparently a disagreement about the purchase of more aircraft. The board got behind their colleague, the meeting was called off and all parties lived to fly another day.

The bloke in the photograph is Rigas Doganis.

He was my good mate when we were both at the same grammar school outside London. His dad worked for a major UK daily newspaper and he came from Greece.

He was largely responsible for making me decide that I should learn to speak in public. He did this by winning a very prestigious English Speaking Prize in our final year at school. I formed the racist view that a Greek boy should not win a speaking prize in a British grammar school and I'd better do something about it ...

He was a very good public speaker. When we were both school prefects, he narrowly escaped expulsion for telling a joke in a school debate that the headmaster regarded as aunworthy of his schoola. …

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