Hiro Athanassiou


Alumna Profiled: Hiro Athanassiou
Graduated: PIERCE ‘77
Lives in: Athens, Greece
Current Position: Chairman of ELAIS – Unilever Hellas S.A.


HIRO ATHANASSIOU graduated from The American College of Greece, with a postgraduate degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Hiro has a long career at Unilever, in different roles and regions. In her last years with Unilever abroad, she had the role of Executive Vice President Operations for Latin America, South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, Israel and Russia, as well as Member of the Global Executive Board of Unilever Food Solutions. She returned to Greece to take the role of the Executive Vice President and CEO for Greece & Cyprus, while she was also member of the European Leadership Team.

During the last 10 years of her career, she also served as an Independent non-executive Director and member of various committees in Pireaus Bank and TITAN Cements International Company. She was also board member in several institutions and industry associations, like SEV (Hellenic Federation of Enterprises), IOBE (Institution of Economic and Industrial Studies), the Greek-Dutch Association, and other Sectorial Associations.

Presently, she is an independent non-executive Director for HCAP, the Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations. In this capacity, she has taken roles as member of various Board Committees, like the Nomination and Remuneration Committee, the Corporate Governance, and the Audit Committee. She is also advisor to Symbeeosis, a Greek organic food start-up. She is also co-chair of the Global Alumni Advisory Board (GAAB) of The American College of Greece.

Hiro has also worked with Orange Grove of the Dutch Embassy in Athens for mentoring female start-ups and she has also been a mentor for the Women on the Top NGO.



Q.: What are three enduring lessons you learned during your studies at PIERCE?

At this stage of life, you don’t think about “lessons to learn” you just learn and embed in an unconscious way.

  • Values of democracy and freedom of expression
  • Voice you mind, don’t shy away from what you believe
  • Don’t give up! Fight till you get where you want!

Q.: Describe PIERCE in three words.

Liberal, Academic, Fun

Q.: One of your favorite PIERCE memories?

Lunch breaks with rolls with cheese and ham.

Q.: What do you miss most from your days at PIERCE?

Classes with inspiring Tutors
Fun with classmates

Q.: Where was your favorite spot on campus?

All over

Q.: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

My teacher of Ancient Greek, who introduced me to Greek Tragedy and Comedy and notions like “Hybris and Catharsis” (she was a lady in her late 50s, unfortunately I can’t recall her name …)
My teacher of Modern Greek, who introduced me to Modern Greek Literature and Poetry – Mr. Baloumis.

Q.: Have you kept in touch with any of your classmates?

Yes, with many of them

Q.: Did having studied at PIERCE help you during your university studies and beyond?


Q.: What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Can’t remember of a specific motto, but a school is the place where you get trained for life. Together with family, it is the foundation upon which you build your life.

Q.: Who inspires you most?

In relation to PIERCE: The liberal atmosphere and free flow of ideas, inspired me more.
In general: People who dream that the world can be a better place for everybody, mostly would fight for this!

Q.: Your motto in life?


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