Name: Michael Skoulikidis, broker and CEO of Atalanta Golden Yachts.
CV: I grew up by the sea in Piraeus, and started sailing at the age of ten. I began with Optimist, then moved on to Finn and finally to offshore sailing. In 1975, while I was studying economics at Athens University, I decided to make a career out of my hobby. I worked for Vernicos Yachts and PrivatSea, in Greece and the South of France, and, in 2006, I joined Atalanta. At the same time, I was the president of the Hellenic Yacht Brokers Association for 13 years.
My most memorable sale: During the summer of 2007, we had just finished building a 52-metre motor boat and had booked a berth for it at the Monaco Yacht Show. We sold the yacht at the end of August and the new owner allowed us to exhibit the boat at the show.
On the first day, a prospective buyer appeared, was impressed by the yacht and inspected her. He wanted to buy the yacht with immediate delivery. I explained to him that it was already sold but a sister ship would be deliverable in 8 months. He tried to persuade me by offering a higher price which, of course, I could not accept.
Two days later, history repeated itself with one differentiating detail: this time, the new prospective buyer offered me a blank cheque and asked me to fill in the amount. Once again, I was obliged to refuse. Times have indeed changed since then and we must change with them.