John Kent is an entrepreneur, with an astonishing track record of successes in many industries. From the beginning of his professional career in 1994, he has participated and invested in various business industries, always aiming to combine innovation, creativity and inspiration, providing capital gains to shareholders and the public.

His fascination with the complexity of human thought and social choices, motivated him to opt for extensive studies in industrial psychology, which has since constituted the foundation of every business decision in his career.

His first professional endeavours lead him to leave Greece early on, taking a position in London, which was to be his professional base for many years.

History

His great interest in the continuously developing Tourism industry meant that he closely followed and was inspired by the needs of the 60,000 Greek students in the UK. Feeling the pulse of international developments and recognising that the industry was fraught with out-dated procedures, in 1995 he created the Greek Flight Club, the first global reservations website, which was a resounding success. The success of greekflightclub.co.uk and gfc.co.uk resulted in their acquisition in 1997 by manosholidays.com (subsequently ThomasCook).

After the sale of his innovative website, he took over as General Manager of Gemstone Travel Ltd, a major air ticket reservations website.

Gemstone Travel quickly developed a broad and flexible holiday packages department, ranking the company, already from its first year of operation under John’s leadership, 2nd in the tourism industry and 16th in all categories, according to the UK Sunday Times and Fast Track 100 (the fastest growing companies in the United Kingdom).
This earned the company a rare and honorary distinction awarded by Queen Elizabeth herself. The company was also awarded the same distinction the following year as well.

The series of continuous major successes in the strategic Tourism industry and John’s hands-on innovative stance, impressed Richard Branson, owner of Virgin who, in 1999, wanted to meet him and work with him in organizing and managing the company’s newly-established travel sector, Virgin.com.
In the first year of operation, with John at the helm, Virgin.com generated €100 million in revenue.

As an innovator and visionary, he soon felt constrained by the structured professional environment, and sought new business challenges with room for even greater creativeness.

In 2001 he launched Travelbargains.co.uk, one of the largest holiday call-centres worldwide, and then medhotels.com in 2002, literally changing the way in which Europeans decide, book and enjoy their holidays.

Specifically, he dared to separate the established, classic holiday packages into their constituents: air tickets, accommodation and transportation, offering flexibility and freedom of choice to consumers.

It should be noted that until that point, the entire tourism industry operated on the basis of that classic practice. After John introduced the new system, he changed the dynamics of holiday packages on the UK market and worldwide, giving people a new experience in terms of enjoyment and consumption of travel and hotel amenities.

Within 4 years, medhotels.com had an EBITDA of £0.6million., £1.6million, £8million, and £15million, respectively per year, and received 17 acquisition proposals. It was eventually acquired by lastminute.com and John Kent became global CEO and General Manager, Hotels department of the LM group, and played a decisive role during the negotiations in 2005, when Sabre Holdings USA acquired lastminute.com.

In 2006, he established youtravel.com, in which Barclay’s Ventures made its first historic investment in a start-up company recognising and rewarding its dynamics and prospects. The company’s valuation on its first day of operation exceeded 15 million pounds sterling.

John’s dynamic progress in the strategic sector of tourism businesses, with high value earnings over many years, elicited intense interest from academia and he received many important offers.
So, in 2007 he became a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey’s Business School, in 2008, Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University, which also honoured him by naming the new Research Centre in Tourism “The John Kent Institute in Tourism” in 2009. This new Institute supports a large number of Ph.Ds in the area of tourism research.

Specialising, and with considerable experience, in the tourism industry, John Kent expanded his investment activity and created the Aquis Hotels & Resorts chain, operating 14 hotels in Greece. At the same time, he became a member of the Investments Committee of Encore Capital LLC offering his strategic insight into the travel industry.

Meanwhile, he participated in one of the largest ever privatisations in the hotel industry in Europe, involving the iconic Astir Vouliagmenis hotel, where he, until recently, acted as Principal in Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IVLP, under the umbrella of AGC Equity Partners.

In July 2016, having identified the opportunity for development and creativity in the area of cultural events and in show business in Greece, he established Theatrikes Skines S.A.

In a short period of time and having taken on the management of 2 Theatres (including the historic Pallas Theatre in the heart of the city), Theatrikes Skines S.A. has succeeded to stand out for the solid, top-notch quality productions of high artistic merit – something noted by critics, performers and the public, as it staged and offered some of the greatest commercial successes of the last decade in Greece. According to general acclaim, their level surpassed that of theatrical productions abroad, restoring the golden era of Theatre and launching a new optimistic period for Greek quality shows.

By way of example, during the 2017 – 2018 theatre season, two major productions were staged by Theatrikes Skines S.A. at the Pallas Theatre. Madame Sousou attracted 110,000 theatre-goers in 80 sold-out performances and the musical Cabaret, which impressed with its quality and caliber, attracting 30,000 spectators over a period of 2 months.

In addition, the Pallas Theatre staged a further 22 productions, which, in conjunction with its main performances, led to the sky-rocketing of ticket sales to 300,000.

The vast success is continuing in 2018-2019 theatre season with the theatrical blockbuster production of Witches of Smyrna which attracted over 130,000 theater-goers, setting a record for modern Greek theatrical events of the past 20 years.

My journey

October 2017
Theatrikes Skines S.A produce Madam Sou Sou, a Greek contemporary play, as Pallas’ opening project under their management, and reach unprecedented box office sales with an audience of more than 100.000 people in just 3 months.

September 2017
The “Pallas”, one of the most prestigious theatres and historical venues of Greece, is now being managed by Theatrikes Skines S.A

May 2017
In less than a year, Theatrikes Skines S.A are handling 3 venues and have produced some of the most successful projects of the season 2016-2017 in Athens.

July 2016
John founds Theatrikes Skines SA, a Theatre, Arts and Performances company

December 2013
John takes active part at the acquisition of Astir Vouliagmenis and is appointed as Principal, Astir Project in Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV LP, a fund led by AGC Equity Partners.

June 2012
FTI acquires a majority stake in Youtravel.com

January 2011
John becomes an Advisory Board member at Encore Capital LLC providing strategic insight and operational oversight in the travel industry

November 2010
John Kent was honored with a Doctorate of Business Administration from Bournemouth University

June 2010
New phase of development for youtravel.com – Buy Out of BARCLAYS PLC shareholding in youtravel.com

November 2009
John Kent was named as a BU Visiting Fellow. School of Services Management University of Bournemouth, Visiting Fellow.

November 2009
“The John Kent Institute in Tourism” The University of Bournemouth honors John Kent by naming the new Research Center for Tourism “The John Kent Institute in Tourism”. John supports this internationally significant programme of tourism research within BU’s School of Services Management, ‘namely The John Kent Institute in Tourism’. This new BU-based Institute supports a considerable number of PhD studentships in tourism research.

October 2008
John Kent nominated for “MEN OF THE YEAR 2008”, Entrepreneur STATUS MAGAZINE AWARDS

June 2008
Founded Aquis Hotels and Resorts www.aquisresorts.com – a portfolio of wholly owned hotels and hotels under management in the Meditterannean area. Aquis’ portfolio included 10 properties in Greece, in its first year of operation.

April 2007 and onwards
School of Management University of Surrey, Visiting Senior Fellow. Honorary appointed Visiting Senior Fellow.

October 2006
Youtravel.com, CEO John founded youtravel.com and in October 2006, Barclays Ventures invests in the business. On the day of investment the valuation of the company was over GBP15m. The business reached over €70m in its first year of operations.

December 2003 – August 2005
Lastminute UK, Managing Director, John stays with lastminute.com as a Global Hotel Director in LM group. In 2004 John held the position of the UK MD following his active participation in the team that led a series of mergers & acquisitions for the Group. In 2005, Sabre Holdings, US acquires lastminute.com. John is involved in the negotiation process. Lastminute.com was delisted by the FTSE & was acquired for 1.1b USD. After the acquisition, John continued with lastminute.com as a consultant for the transitional period.

November 2003
Barclays Venture Capitalists invest £5.5 m in Medhotels.com

2002 Medhotels.com, CEO
John founded Medhotels.com Medhotels.com altered the business model on which the UK and most of the large European holiday makers had been operating on until then. “Unpack the package” broke the classic holiday package into its components; flight, hotel and transfer. The entire industry since that time has continued in this direction. Note that in the first 4 years of operations MedHotels.com had EBITDA of £0.6m, £1.6m, £8m and £15m respectively for each year.

2001 Travelbargains.co.uk, CEO
Founded Travelbargains.co.uk

1999-2000 Virgin.com, Sales & Marketing Director
John was acquired personally by Richard Branson to set up call centres for the travel sector, a brand new venture for virgin.com. This sector generated about €100m in its first year.

1997-1999 Gemstone Travel Ltd., Commercial Director
GT was a three-branch UK call centre in the flights industry. John develop the package holiday department into a company ranked 2nd in the travel industry and 16th in all industries in the UK Sunday Times, “Fastrack1-100” (most growing businesses in UK) in the first year. In the second year of operations, it ranked 2nd in travel and 23rd in all businesses. The company was featured two years in a row in the “Fastrack1-100” index. John acquired Gemstone at a later stage (via his tenure at Lastminute.com)

1995 – 1997 Greek Flight Club Limited, UK Managing Director
One of the first online bookable websites worldwide. GFC was the first online agency in the UK to have online capability via GTS. GFC was sold to Manos Holidays in 1997.