Raymond Matera

JUL-AUG 2017|BY BUSINESS PARTNERS

Raymond Matera has been an invaluable partner and friend to the Chamber. He inspired all of us with his intelligence, his enthusiasm, and his wit. Raymond was a visionary and a rebel. He will surely be missed. To honor his memory, members of the Chamber, friends of Raymond, share their thoughts.

Raymond Matera, the quiet power.

Ray saw things differently. His upbringing and culture combined with his insightfulness and tremendous analytical capabilities allowed Ray to understand Greece better than if he had been born a Greek. His love for the country and his desire to promote progress, institutionally and economically, guided his willingness to participate in the effort to transform Greece, to change mentalities.

Ray saw potential where others were seeing obstacles. He was a pragmatist and an optimist and gave his heart and soul and valuable competences for the advancement of the country that he considered home—and for that, we will remember him with affection and admiration.

With his exceptional thinking process, integrity and principles, Ray was instrumental in the development of the strategy that led the Chamber to the success and recognition that we enjoy today. Many of the initiatives that transformed the work and the image of the Chamber have been based on the ideas of Raymond Matera, and our magazine, Business Partners, is the most recognizable example and the pinnacle of his significant contribution. For all this, we are grateful, and we will miss his friendship and advice terribly.

—Simos Anastasopoulos, President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

Raymond Matera has been a most valuable advisor to me during my six-year presidency of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. We formed strategic policy plans, and we implemented them. Ray was a man with a vision, with innovative ideas, with great knowledge of social, political and economic issues not only in Greece but globally. I owe a lot to Ray and I miss him a lot already. I pray that he rests in peace.

—Yanos Gramatidis, Honorary President of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

With deep sadness I was informed of the passing of Raymond Matera, a great personality, a devoted and hardworking professional, a low-key but valuable partner of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, who not only developed Business Partners but also upgraded it to the highest level. Raymond has been not only an excellent and dedicated promoter of American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce publications, but also an exceptional person devoted to his work. Above all, he has been a very good friend, a human being with a big heart—which he never failed to share with others. He will be truly missed.

I would like to extend my personal and SFEE’s heartfelt condolences to his wife, family and friends.

—Pascal Apostolides, General Manager of AbbVie Pharmaceuticals S.A. and President of SFEE

Raymond Matera was a friend and a strong supporter of the Fulbright Foundation. Searching for words to capture the essence of who Raymond was is an emotionally charged and difficult task. Raymond was a rare individual, a Renaissance man, a contemporary philhellene, a highly intellectual individual, a person of ethos, integrity, intelligence, kindness, generosity, grace, discriminating taste and charm. I will miss his smile, restless mind, cool sense of humor, wittiness, invaluable advice and thought provoking ideas on education. So long, dear friend.

—Artemis Zenetou, Executive Director of the Fulbright Institute in Greece

Raymond Matera, a fond lover of Greece, a true, genuine and rare philhellene. I first met him in 2009 and was impressed to see how hard he worked during the past eight years of the Greek crisis to help restore the credibility of the country and that of Greek businesses. I will never forget our long and interesting discussions about what “we” can do to help our nation. Raymond, your ideals, your ethos, your enthusiasm, your passion for your work and for Greece will be greatly missed. Rest in peace.

—John Kyriakides, Partner at Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm

A winter afternoon at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, and two men in suits are sitting by the bar, passionately discussing new ideas. This is the image I will keep from Raymond. His interest in innovation, entrepreneurship and public policy was such that almost every time we met during our five-year friendship, there was something new on the table. Collaborating with Raymond has been a privilege and a valuable experience; his insightful glance at things and his wit made him an excellent interlocutor on any topic, and his deep knowledge of people and business made him an essential partner in any endeavor. Being readily available to help those in need and fight for the common good, even though his attitude might have been perceived as cynical by some at times, is proof of his very warm heart to anyone who would take the time to go below the surface and truly engage with him. To me, he was a friend, a mentor and a trusted advisor. I will surely miss him.

—Marcel Cremer, LLM Attorney at Law at Cremer & Partners, CIArb Accredited Mediator

We are all saddened by Raymond’s passing. Our dear colleague, friend and key team player for over twenty years will be missed. Words to express what Raymond was to us: A Philhellene, A Teacher, An Exemplary Writer, A Versed Partner, A Visionary, An Innovator, A Clear and Crafty Mind, Intelligent, An Outstanding Professional, Hard Worker, A Kind Soul, Caring Demeanor, Always There, Witty, Inspirational, Thoughtful.

You will always be in our thoughts.

—The Chamber Team

When I joined the Chamber almost nine years ago, one of the first people I met with was Raymond Matera. I still remember that meeting. He looked me up and down with those inquiring eyes, trying to figure out if I would be someone he could get along and work effectively with. In the course of our cooperation, we had our ups and downs. We had our disagreements, our arguments and opposing views, but this is all part of the game when dealing with new approaches, innovative ideas and alternative perceptions. Most of the time, our conversations went beyond the typical framework and became intellectual and philosophical, addressing a wide range of issues—from values, manners, human behavior and religion to politics, digital disruption, innovation and sports.

Raymond was not always the easiest person to get along with. Perhaps that was because he was so straightforward, honest, responsible and accountable—qualities that we don’t often see around us. His eternal drive for innovative ideas, projects and new approaches always motivated me. He was incredibly passionate about Greece and about reversing longstanding, outdated perceptions and identifying the drivers for change that would benefit the country. Some would say that he loved Greece more than many Greeks.

Raymond cared deeply about the Chamber and its further development, and this was evident in his work, his attitude and his commitment. He was very helpful to all personnel, board members and, of course, to me. I am very honored to have known him, and I will surely miss him a lot.

—Elias Spirtounias, Executive Director of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce

Raymond was an exemplary professional, a visionary, and above all a human being. At many meetings coordinated by the Chamber Reform Institute on how to get our country back on track, you would see Raymond organize the debate, building on the know-how we had acquired, and setting priorities so that our suggestions could truly make a difference. He always wanted to seek everybody’s contribution, however unusual the views, and urged us to be open, ready, and pragmatic in order to realize our goals. Above all, he was a true and prominent fellow man. Looking beyond differences of opinion, he was ready to listen, share and speak as a friend, with a sincere face and smile.

—Vassilis Antoniades, Senior Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group

Raymond was a distinguished writer, an exceptional person of intellect and kindness, a real friend. He dedicated his life to enhancing relations and understanding between Greece and his native United States. He was very knowledgeable about Greek current affairs and also very familiar with the Greek mentality. He loved Greece and had long ago decided that it would be his adopted country. He always showed remarkable professionalism in all issues he dealt with in his journalistic career. He always made sure to set standards at the highest level. As an editor, he combined authoritative reporting with elegance, a combination that transformed Business Partners into one of the most worthy publications in Greece. His low-key comments, always accompanied with humor and well-balanced criticisms, made his opinions on various developments not only on point and dignified but interesting and entertaining. He will be greatly missed by all those who had the privilege to meet him, but his signature professional contribution will always have a special place in the history of US-born individuals who loved Greece so much that they decided to make it their home.

—Spyros Filiotis, Vice President & General Manager of Pharmaserve-Lilly S.A.C.I.

Raymond was my friend. I knew him for a long time, and I was always impressed by his strength of character, his ethical standards and his journalistic talent. As editor of Business Partners, he was responsible for some of the most authoritative reports and interviews that shed light on the ongoing productive relationship and cooperation between Greece and the United States in so many areas. He made sure to respect all sensitivities of his adopted country, Greece, which he came to know so well over the years. At the same time, his depth and breadth of knowledge on every issue he set off to explore was truly unparalleled. His professional distinction was indistinguishable from a cultured intellect, a dignified behavior and a warm manner that always made him a pleasure to meet and talk with. Raymond was a quintessential East Coast American, equally adept in talking about poetry and economics, Ancient Greece and modern markets. He was also effectively a Greek, time and again expressing an authentic love for his adopted country. He dedicated his life to demonstrating that the relationship between Greece and the United States is significant to the modern world because these two countries represent, in different ways, the two fundamental pillars of Western culture. He will always be remembered by all those who were lucky enough to meet him and had the opportunity to get to know his character, his humor and his ethos.

—Dionysios Filiotis, President of EPhForT and President & Managing Director
of Pharmaserve-Lilly S.A.C.I.

Ray was a good friend. He was forthright in his opinions, in his spartan manner, and he was usually right. He never tried to be pleasant. He was punctual and correct, and I appreciate those attributes in a colleague.

On December 7, 2016, we ran the “Smart Moves” conference. Ray was excited—it was one of maybe a handful of times that I saw him excited. He decided to do a feature on it in Business Partners magazine Vol.88. I knew it was going to be great.

Sometimes, when situations became hectic, difficult either for him or for me, he would simply send me a photo or two of his beloved, magnificent view from his home in Marmari, in South Evia, looking out over the sea from a distance. “This is what is really worthwhile,” he’d write. “This is what I see from my window…” That was his friendly and unique way, without asking what the problem is, to express his support and understanding.

I will miss him… He is irreplaceable. And somehow, I have the feeling that he will remain with us.

—Litsa Panayotopoulos, Partner at Boston Hamilton Ltd. and President of AmCham’s Education, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Committee

Japonica Partners is proud to have known and worked with Raymond Matera. Raymond was an insightful and resourceful colleague, but more importantly, a dear friend. Raymond was a true patriot, fighting to the end to leave his country—not his country by birth, but by choice—a better place for his fellow Greek citizens. His thoughtful and selfless nature is an inspiration, greatly inspiring all those who had the pleasure to know him—and the entirety of the whole human family too.

—Japonica Partners

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