When Konstantinos Macheras initially joined AB Vassilopoulos, part of the Delhaize Group, in 1997, the supermarket chain was sitting in the number 5 position within the Greek marketplace. It had just 15 stores and a turnover of around US$117 million. Almost 2 decades later, thanks to the guidance of Konstantinos as CEO, the business has grown exponentially. Today it sits in the number one position, has well over 350 stores, and a turnover of US$2 billion.
“Even more importantly we are number one in the consumer’s minds in Greece when they are thinking about food,” Konstantinos adds.
Evidently, it’s been a career filled with many highlights for Konstantinos who retired from the executive position in March, freeing up some of his time to focus on other pursuits. “There are so many opportunities for me looking forward,” he says. “I am on some supervisory boards to advise companies on their operations in Europe, and I also have an interest in a company that produces new concepts in soft drinks. It’s called Green Cola, and I will be helping them to develop their production facilities outside of Greece in various European countries. I hope this will occupy a third of my time, while another third will be spent on retailing advisory. The remaining time will be for some pleasure, and I’m not intending to stop working until I close my eyes.”
Konstantinos started his professional career in the retail industry as a purchasing manager for a supermarket company in Chicago, the US. He then worked for confectionary manufacturer Mars Incorporated for 14 years, guiding sales, marketing, and exports in the Netherlands and later in Greece. From 1996, he was appointed general manager at Chipita International in Greece and stayed in that position until October 1997 when he joined AB Vassilopoulos.
“From there I went through all the steps,” Konstantinos recalls. “I was the General Manager of Greece, then the CEO of Greece, the CEO of Romania and Serbia and a member of the executive board, then the Executive Vice President of South-East Europe and Indonesia. I stayed with AB Vassilopoulos for almost 20 years. Then about 2 years ago I decided to put an end to this career and start something new.”