Michalakis Leptos, the founder and executive chairman of the Leptos Group of Companies, who died at the age of 83 on Sunday, was a pioneering developer, the first to recognise the potential of the natural beauty of the Cypriot countryside.
He hailed from Kyrenia and after obtaining his degree in civil engineering from the Athens Polytechnic he returned to his home-town where in the sixties he embarked on his land developments projects. His successful business was ended by the 1974 Turkish invasion, Leptos losing overnight everything he had created.
This did not dampen his entrepreneurial spirit. He moved his business to the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf, focusing on major residential developments. One of his groundbreaking projects was Saudia City, a development in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with 4,000 housing units as well as palaces.
On his return to Cyprus in 1978, Leptos, identified the huge potential of Paphos with its rugged and scenic countryside. Leptos played a leading role in turning the Paphos district into what it has become today. His flagship project was Kamares Village, which he hoped to reach 1,000 villas and be the biggest holiday home development in Cyprus. There were also many more smaller residential developments in all parts of the Paphos district.
The Leptos Group, through Leptos Calypso Hotels, which is listed on Cyprus Stock Exchange, also owned a chain of hotels including the Coral Beach and the Coral Thalassa. It is also building with the Zavos Group the 27-floor Limassol Del Mar.
Leptos did not restrict his activities to land development and the tourism industry. He also established the Neapolis University in Paphos as well as Iasis Hospital.
This was a man who never rested on his laurels, constantly undertaking new projects and ventures. His mantra was the “value of an enterprise is not measured by the returns of the day, but by the legacy its leaves behind”.
The funeral will be held Tuesday at 12pm, at the Panayia Pantanassa Church in Paphos.