Creating a giant in the medical device manufacturing industry
Famous Greeks

Creating a giant in the medical device manufacturing industry

Peter Nicholas ranks among the richest Greek Americans in the world. With John Abele, he founded the medical device firm Boston Scientific venturing at the top for over 25 years.

Peter’s parents are of Greek descent. He graduated the Duke University in 1964 and continued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

He first worked with the global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company, where he stayed for a decade. He met his future business partner in a soccer game in 1979. They both later decided to get an $800 thousand dollars loan and start up Boston Scientific, a medical device manufacturing company, with a workforce of 38, destined to become a world group of companies with 20.000 employees and a turnover estimated at $6.3 million dollars in 2005.

In 1996, the Nicholas family donated the amount of $20 million dollars to the School of Environmental Studies of Duke University, later renamed to Nicholas School of the Environment to honour the family. In 2002, Peter Nicholas was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honour.

“Everything in life is a judgment call, and if you have been at this a number of years, you understand how things work — and this understanding helps to mitigate the risks.”

His excellent business intuition led to the buyout of Medi-Tech and Scimed Life Systems, two among various influential companies that were gradually included in the Boston Scientific Group.

In 2004, Peter Nicholas and his wife Ginny donated $72 million dollars to the Duke University, with $70 million dollars handed to the Nicholas School of Environment and $2 million dollars handed to the Perkins Library.

In 2005, Peter Nicholas was ranked #78 in the Forbes Magazine list of The 400 Richest Americans, with an estimated worth of $4 billion. Nicholas was listed as one of Forbes’ wealthiest Americans as recently as 2008, with a net worth of $1.1 billion, but has fallen off the list in recent years. As “director emeritus,” he will continue to receive an annual payment of $225,000 for life as well as medical coverage and an office space.