Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mr. Spyros Capralos serves since July 2014 as the non-executive Chairman of our Board of Directors and as a director. He is also the Chairman of the Compensation Committee. From February 2011 to July 2014, Mr. Capralos served as our Chief Executive Officer, President and director. Effective as of January 1, 2015, Mr. Capralos also serves as Chief Executive Officer of Oceanbulk Container Carriers LLC. From October 2004 to October 2010, Mr. Capralos served as Chairman of the Athens Exchange and Chief Executive Officer of the Hellenic Exchanges Group and for the period from 2008-2010 was also the President of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges. He was formerly Vice Chairman of the National Bank of Greece, Vice Chairman of Bulgarian Post Bank, Managing Director of the Bank of Athens and has a ten-year banking experience with Bankers Trust Company (now Deutsche Bank) in Paris, New York, Athens, Milan, London. In February 2013, Mr. Capralos was re-elected as President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee for a 4-year term (2017-2021) and has served as Secretary General of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and Executive Director and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Organizing Committee for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. He has been an Olympic athlete in water polo and has competed in the Moscow (1980) and the Los Angeles (1984) Olympic Games. He studied economics at the University of Athens and earned his Master Degree in Business Administration from INSEAD University in France.
Mr. Petros Pappas serves since July 2014 as our CEO and as a director on our board of directors. Mr. Pappas served from our inception up to July 2014 as our non-executive Chairman of the board of directors and director. He served as a member of Star Maritime’s board of directors since its inception. Throughout his career as a principal and manager in the shipping industry, Mr. Pappas has been involved in approximately 300 vessel acquisitions and disposals. In 1989, he founded Oceanbulk Maritime S.A., a dry cargo shipping company that has operated managed vessels aggregating as much as 1.6 million deadweight tons of cargo capacity. He also founded Oceanbulk affiliated companies, which are involved in the ownership and management sectors of the shipping industry. Mr. Pappas is the Chairman of the UK Defense Club, a leading insurance provider of legal defense services in the shipping industry worldwide and is a member of the Union of Greek Ship Owners (UGS). Mr. Pappas received his B.A. in Economics and his MBA from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mr. Pappas was awarded the 2014 Lloyd’s List Greek Awards “Shipping Personality of the Year”.
Mr. Mahesh Balakrishnan has served as a director on our board of directors since February 2015. Mr. Balakrishnan has extensive financial and business experience, as well as in depth knowledge of the dry bulk shipping industry. Until August 2019, Mr. Balakrishnan was a Managing Director in Oaktree’s Opportunities Funds. He joined Oaktree in 2007 and focused on investing in the chemicals, energy, financial institutions, real estate and shipping sectors. Mr. Balakrishnan has worked with a number of Oaktree’s portfolio companies and has served on the boards of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE:STOR) and Momentive Performance Materials. He has been active on a number of creditors’ committees, including ad hoc committees in the Lehman Brothers and LyondellBasell restructurings. Prior to Oaktree, Mr. Balakrishnan spent two years as an analyst in the Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance group at UBS Investment Bank. Mr. Balakrishnan graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in Economics (Honors) from Yale University.
Mr. Koert Erhardt serves as a member of our board of directors since our inception. He is also the Chairman of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. He is currently the Managing Director of Augustea Bunge Maritime Ltd. of Malta. From September 2004 to December 2004, he served as the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of CC Maritime S.A.M., an affiliate of the Coeclerici Group, an international conglomerate whose businesses include shipping and transoceanic transportation of dry bulk materials. From 1998 to September 2004, he served as General Manager of Coeclerici Armatori S.p.A. and Coeclerici Logistics S.p.A., affiliates of the Coeclerici Group, where he created a shipping pool that commercially managed over 130 vessels with a carrying volume of 72 million tons and developed the use of the Freight Forward Agreement trading, which acts as a financial hedging mechanism for the pool. From 1994 to 1998, he served as the General Manager of Bulk Italia, a prominent shipping company which at the time owned and operated over 40 vessels. From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Erhardt served in various positions with Bulk Italia. From 1988 to 1990, he was the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Nedlloyd Drybulk, the dry bulk arm of the Nedlloyd Group, an international conglomerate whose interests include container ship liner services, tankers, oil drilling rigs and ship brokering. Mr. Erhardt received his Diploma in Maritime Economics and Logistics from Hogere Havenen Vervoersschool (now Erasmus University), Rotterdam, and successfully completed the International Executive Program at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France. Mr. Erhardt has also studied at the London School of Foreign Trade.
Mr. Nikolaos Karellis serves as a Director on our Board of Directors since May 2016 and as Chairman of the Audit Committee since May 2020. Mr. Karellis is currently a Director of the Advisory firm Marininvest Advisers Ltd and has more than 35 years of experience in the shipping sector at various financial institutions. Until 2013, he served as the Head of Shipping of HSBC Bank plc in Athens, Greece for 28 years, where he built a business unit providing a comprehensive range of services to Greek shipping companies. Prior to HSBC, he worked at Bank of America. Mr. Karellis received his Msc in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens and received a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Blystad serves as Director on our Board of Directors since July 6, 2018. He is an independent investor located in Oslo, Norway. The Blystad Group, which is 100% owned and controlled by Mr. Arne Blystad and his immediate family, has a long history in international shipping. Mr. Blystad began, after high school, his career as a shipbroker in London and New York. He later started various ventures within the shipping and offshore drilling space. This has involved both private and public listed companies, where he has held various board and management positions over the years. The Blystad Group has today investments in various shipping segments such as dry bulk , chemical tankers, container feeder and semi sub heavy-lift, real-estate and securities.
Mr. Raffaele Zagari serves as director on our board of directors since August 2018. In his career he has developed approximately 25 years experience in the shipping business.
Since 2010, as CEO of Augustea Group Mr Zagari engineered and implemented the expansion and consolidation of the dry bulk business that has led to the incorporation of Augustea Atlantica, and its subsidiaries in Argentina, Singapore, London and Malta (“Augustea Group”). He has actively promoted the incorporation of CBC, AOM, ABML and ABY, the joint ventures in which Augustea Atlantica is a shareholder. He has funded the towage company Augustea Grancolombia in the Santa Marta area in Colombia and he has, over the years, worked closely with Drummond Coal and Glencore on their logistical/maritime needs for their local coal loading operations which have a combined 60 million tons yearly throughput.
During this time he supervised in excess of 50 sale and purchase projects (both new building and second hand), and more than a dozen long-term ship leases primarily with the support of Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co. Since 1997 he has been actively leading the Chartering Department of Augustea Dry Bulk Division, and directing the other business of the Augustea Group.
In 2017, Raffaele was appointed Chairman of Augustea Group Holding SpA, in addition to his role as the Group’s CEO. He is also appointed as non-executive director in Steamship Mutual, one of the largest P&I marine insurance, where he also chairs the Underwriting and Reinsurance Committee.
Prior to joining Augustea, and for the period 1993-1995, Mr Zagari worked for Blenheim Shipping (a company of the former Scinicariello Augustea Group) during which time he gained extensive experience in the Japanese shipyards, Sumitomo Yokuska and Sanoyas Mitsushima, as assistant site supervisor. In 1996 -1997 , he worked at Zodiac Maritime Agencies with the operations department before joining the Augustea Group. Mr Zagari holds a Diploma in Commercial Operation of Shipping at Guldhall University London.
Mr. Brian Laibow serves on the Company’s Board of Directors since January 2020 . He is a Managing Director in Oaktree where he has worked since 2006 following graduation from Harvard Business School, where he received his M.B.A. Before attending Harvard, Mr. Laibow worked at Caltius Private Equity, a middle market LBO firm in Los Angeles, as a senior business analyst at McKinsey & Company, and as an investment banking intern at J.P. Morgan. Mr. Laibow graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in economics from Dartmouth College and studied economics at Oxford University. He serves on the Dartmouth College endowment Investment Committee, Brentwood School Finance Committee, board of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs and is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).
Ms. Dawna Men serves on the Company’s Board of Directors since January 2020 . She is an Associate in Oaktree’s Opportunities Funds and has worked with a number of Oaktree’s portfolio companies. Prior to joining Oaktree in 2018, Ms. Men spent two years as an investment banking analyst in the Financial Restructuring Group at Houlihan Lokey. Ms. Men received a B.S. degree in economics magna cum laude from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Katherine Ralph is a Managing Director in Oaktree Capital’s Opportunities Funds based in London where she has worked since 2013. Prior to joining Oaktree, Ms. Ralph spent over nine years at Linklaters LLP, where she specialized in cross-border restructurings and insolvency. Ms. Ralph holds both a B.A. (hons) degree from the University of Cambridge, and graduated cum laude with an LL.M. in banking, corporate and finance law from Fordham University. Ms. Ralph is fluent in Italian.
Mrs. Eleni Vrettou is the Executive General Manager and Group Head Corporate and Investment Banking of the Piraeus Bank Group, based in Athens, Greece since April 2019. Prior to her present position, she worked at HSBC Bank PLC (“HSBC”) for ten years, where she had held various management positions in Greece and in London. In particular, for the period of 2012 to 2019, she was the Managing Director and head of Wholesale Banking in Greece for HSBC. Prior to 2012, and for three years, she worked in London, on an international secondment with HSBC, as Director of Global Banking Credit and Lending CEE/CIS/Med and sub Saharan Africa and, between 2005 to 2009, she was the Global Relationship Manager of HSBC, in Athens. Prior to HSBC, and for two years, she was Senior Credit Officer in BANK EFG -ERGASIAS S.A. She is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Piraeus Factors S.A., Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Piraeus Leasing SA and Piraeus Leases SA and Chairman of the Board of Directors, CPB Leasing. Mrs. Vrettou holds a BSc in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.