Thessaloniki’s unorthodox leftist Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, who has taken a pro-Turkish stance, has been cited by the Huffington Post as one of the world’s eight most successful.
In an article Meet The Mayors From Around The World Transforming Their Cities, Boutaris was cited along with those from cities such as Berlin, Buenos Aires, Calgary, Paris, Bogota and Surabaya, Indonesia.
“While Greece has stumbled from crisis to crisis in recent years, many have said that if there is one glimmer of hope in the Hellenic nation, it’s in the form of Yiannis Boutaris, the mayor of the northern coastal city of Thessaloniki. Boutaris might not look like a traditional politician — he has street-bought bracelets, a diamond-studded earring and a gecko tattoo — but he has tackled daunting challenges with the audacity of an experienced policymaker.
“Despite inheriting a deficit of €100 million ($135.69 million) when he took office in early 2011, Boutaris balanced the city’s budget, revived tourism and took on widespread corruption. If Boutaris continues on this route, he might just be able to restore Thessaloniki to the thriving Byzantine city it once was and inspire the rest of Greece in the process,” HuffPost wrote.
While he has plenty of critics irritated with his style, in 2012 he was chosen as ‘the best Mayor in the World for the month of October, by the City Mayors Foundation, based in the UK.
He is the founder of KIR-YIANNI wine company, based in Giannakochori and Amyntaio in Northern Greece. He is one of the founding members of the Drasi party and Arcturos ecological organizations.