Greek-American pharmaceutical leader Michael Jaharis, one of the most important figures in the history of the Greek Diaspora and and an impactful philanthropist passed away at the age of 87.
His assets reach 2.2 billion dollars, while he was number 307 on the Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest people in the U.S. for 2015.
Jaharis had bought the pharmaceutical company Key along with Philip Frost, in 1972. He worked as the company’s director until 1986 and under his leadership the company thrived until the 836 million dollar merger with Schering-Plough.
In 1988 he founded the pharmaceutical company Kos and sold it to Abbott Laboratories in 2006 for 4.2 billion dollars. In June 2013, the company Pearl Therapeutics, in which he was the largest investor, was acquired by AstraZeneca for 560 million dollars.
Mr. Jaharis had greatly contributed in strengthening the Greek Diaspora. In 2013, he and his wife, Mary, donated 2 million dollars to the Orthodox Theology and Culture “Archbishop Demetrios” seat of Fordham University. That same year the Jaharis Family Foundation pledged to donate another 2 million dollars for the alleviation of hunger and poverty in Greece.
He was an Archon Exarchos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Upon learning of his passing to the Lord, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios stated:
“Archon Michael Jaharis was an extraordinary human being endowed by God with inexhaustible energy, amazing creativity and impressive care and love for the people, especially those in sickness, distress and suffering. He was a person fully dedicated to the Church and its sacred work, an ardent American patriot and a passionate promoter of Hellenism and its universal values. Certainly he set a brilliant example of a genuine Greek Orthodox Christian stewardship to be followed by as many as possible. May his memory be eternal.”
Archon Jaharis led the effort to see New York City’s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the sole church destroyed in the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, rebuilt near its original site. “When finished,” Archon Jaharis told the Archdiocesan Council in 2012, the new structure will provide “a shining spotlight on the Greek Orthodox faith and our core values of love, respect, peace, healing, and forgiveness.”
He made remarkable charitable contributions to the DePaul University College of Law, Columbia University Medical Center, the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, the Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Metropolitan Opera. He was a founder of The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, and Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. He served as Trustee and Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University and Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the School of Medicine of Tufts University, as a member of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Visitors, and as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
He is survived by his wife Mary Jaharis, his son Dr. Steven Jaharis (Elaine), his daughter Kathryn Jaharis and five grandchildren.