Past Baltic Exchange member ‘Eddie’ Kulukundis KBE passed away on 17 February 2021 aged 88 at his home in the UK. Born in London as Elias George Kulukundis, he was the only son of shipping magnate George Kulukundis and the oldest of five cousins whose fathers were the original brothers of Rethymnis & Kulukundis (R&K) based in London since 1948.
The Kulukundis and Mavrolean families created crude oil tanker company London Overseas Freighters (LOF) where ‘Eddie’, as he was known, joined the board in 1978 along with his surviving uncles and cousins. But after losses following the sustained collapse in the tanker markets, he resigned in 1985 to continue with his non-shipping philanthropic passions. However, he re-joined LOF in 1988 following a series of deaths of family members including company president Emmanuel Kulukundis, and tragically Minas Kulukundis in the PanAm Lockerbie disaster, who was en route to New York for the funeral of his uncle Capt Nicholas Kulukundis.
In 1997 LOF was sold to Frontline and Eddie subsequently remained on the board of R&K, not active in the day-to-day operations, but as investor in all the company vessels.
He was universally respected as a real gentleman ‘larger than life’ treating all he met as a good human being, although not all were.
A past Baltic Chairman reminded me what a gargantuan character Eddie was normally ordering double helpings at La Gavroche and The Ivy at a time when nouvelle-cuisine had a meagre following.
He was married to actress Susan Hampshire and received an OBE in 1993 and a Knighthood in 1998 for outstanding charity work for UK Athletics, and enormous support for the British theatre.
Sadly, he had not been well for several years and he will be very much missed by all who knew him.
Denis Petropoulos – Chairman