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Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Stelios Haji-Ioannou

The son of a Greek shipping tycoon has been making waves all of his own with his “easy” branded businesses. Now he’s in Dubai, with the region’s first easyHotel.

May 26, 2010 4:13 by

Branson, the British magnate known worldwide for his Virgin label, is the iconic personality behind luxury brand, Virgin air. But Stelios doesn’t count Branson among his competitors, saying “I don’t think easyJet competes with Virgin – we’re in different areas.”

Instead, Haji-Ioannou calls Richard Branson an “inspiration” and a superior “communicator.”

A New York Times report quipped that Branson and Haji-Ioannou are often mentioned in tandem. “I wanted to start an airline because I thought that Branson was having fun running an airline,” Haji-Ioannou recalled. But Branson’s runaway success with Virgin was certainly an inspiration for Haji-Ioannou. “Taking the brand bigger is something I learned from Branson,” he remarked.

The two have yet to team up in business, however. “[Branson] was an inspiration for me – contrary to some reports we’ve never done business together, although we did discuss an aviation venture very early on,” Haji-Ioannou said.

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