George L. Argyros

George Argyros
  • George L. Argyros
    CSIS Trustee
  • George L. Argyros served as U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain and Principality of Andorra from November 2001 to November 2004. Ambassador Argyros accomplished much during this extraordinary period in Spain’s history. He forged a close alliance with King Juan Carlos and then-President Jose Maria Aznar, which resulted in Spain’s support and participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He guided the U.S. response to the tragic terrorist bombings in 2003 and worked with the Spanish government to implement a new biometric passport program and container security initiative. He implemented new initiatives to assist and promote U.S. trade and investment in Spain, personally leading two major Spanish trade delegations to the United States, and negotiated the Defense Cooperation Agreement that strengthens the military alliance between Spain and the United States. Ambassador Argyros is currently chairman and CEO of Arnel & Affiliates, a prominent West Coast diversified investment company, with corporate offices located in Costa Mesa, California. He is also a general partner in Westar Capital, a private investment company. From 1981 to 1987, he was co-owner of AirCal, which was sold to American Airlines in 1987, and from 1981 to 1989, he was owner of the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club of the American League. Ambassador Argyros is a member of the Board of Directors of First American Corporation and DST Systems, Inc. Prior to his ambassadorship, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Rockwell International Corporation and the Newhall Land and Farming Company. Ambassador Argyros served as a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations for the U.S. trade representative until 1990, when President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the board of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). He completed his term on the Freddie Mac Board in March 1993. From 1976 to 2001, Ambassador Argyros set a record as the longest-serving chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chapman University, one of the West’s finest private universities. He currently remains on the Chapman Board, while also serving as a life trustee for the California Institute of Technology, where he formerly served as chairman of the Investment Committee. Ambassador Argyros is an international councillor and trustee of CSIS; trustee emeritus of the Library of Congress Open World Leadership Board; member of the Hoover Institution Board of Overseers; former chairman of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation; founding chairman of the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C.; and member and former chairman of the Board of Regents of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. Ambassador Argyros was a 1993 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award of Distinguished Americans, perhaps the single most coveted award given in America to nonmilitary, non-show business individuals. He served as president and CEO of the Washington-based Horatio Alger Association from 1995 to 1998, chairman from 1998 to 2000, and currently treasurer and chairman emeritus. In 2004, he was selected by the Horatio Alger Association to receive the Norman Vincent Peale Award in recognition for his ongoing involvement in the association and his humanitarian contributions to society. In 1997, Ambassador Argyros received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Pepperdine University; in 2001, he was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor; in 2005, he received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Chapman University; and in 2010, he received an honorary doctor of sciences degree from City of Hope. Ambassador Argyros was selected in 2005 as an archon of the Mother Church of Constantinople, an esteemed honor in the Greek Orthodox Church, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Ambassador Argyros was the 2007 recipient of the Semper Fidelis Award from the Marine Scholarship Foundation. In 2005, through the Horatio Alger Association, he and Mrs. Argyros initiated the first national college scholarship program exclusively for veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As of January 2009, 2,349 scholarships had been awarded. Born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Pasadena, California, Ambassador Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in business and economics.

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