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Anastasios George Leventis

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Anastasios George Leventis


Anastasios George Leventis (December 1902 - October 1978) was a prominent Cypriot businessman who owned a major merchandise trading firm in West Africa.


He started trading at the young age of 18, and rose to become the general manager of G.B. Ollivants in Ghana. In 1937, he left the firm after it was acquired by the United African Company. Leventis then formed his own company and started out as a produce buyer, partly financed by some cotton manufacturers in Britain. In the late 1940s United Kingdom authorities imposed a country by country quota on cotton imported from Africa, which was intended to influence textile and oil seed production in west Africa.

The situation created the impetus for A.G. Leventis to establish a branch in Nigeria. In a few years the company expanded from cotton exports to merchandise trading. By the 1960s his firm had grown remarkably to become one of the largest distributors in Nigeria, rising to pre-eminence as one of the largest merchandise traders in the West African region. In Nigeria, he re-structured the business from general trading into a specialized trading firm and established various department stores in the country. During this period he thrived in the country as a result of the nation's relatively open economy as it was not until the 1970s that economic nationalism became a dominant initiative. His marketing style also endeared the Leventis name to many customers in Nigeria.


In 1987 the A.G. Leventis Gallery was opened in the British Museum, to display Cypriot antiquities from the early Bronze Age to the Roman era. In 1997, a similar display was opened at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and in 2000 another at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In 2008 the A. G. Leventis Foundation endowed a new chair at Cambridge University in Greek culture. - Autobiography of Anastasios George Leventis




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