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King of the Ocean

August 2006

Michael Angelakis was always destined to work closely with the ocean. Growing up he wanted to be a marine biologist but this soon led to a passion for the seafood industry.

Michael currently combines his role as Managing Director of seafood business Angelakis Brothers with a hugely successful television career as co-host on Channel 9’s Out of the Blue.

xpress chatted with Michael about his family business and what he enjoys most in life.

xpress: How did you get involved with Angelakis Brothers?

Michael: I’ve always been involved in the family business even though I intended to sit for an accountancy course. As soon as I saw the exam paper I walked out – never to return.

The one benefit of my tertiary education was meeting many Asian students. Once they got their degrees, they bought Chinese restaurants and that’s how we started the seafood distribution business.

The first order was Lim’s Supper House in Gouger Street and I made a $40 profit. Now 38 years later, we employ 160 staff.

xpress: What’s it like running a family business?

Michael: The strength of a family-owned business is the generations of experience you can draw from as well as a strong work ethic, a sense of ownership and pride. My philosophy is you are just a caretaker for the next generation, creating new opportunities.

xpress: You and Michael Keelan work seemlessly alongside one another on Out of the Blue. What’s the secret to the show’s success?

Michael: Working with great South Australian people, strong local support and being able to use fantastic local produce.

It’s all ad lib - we don’t rehearse or read scripts and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

xpress: What’s your favourite seafood dish?

Michael: Fish and chips closely followed by my family’s recipe of barbecued octopus, squid risotto, chilli crabs and snapper bones.

xpress: What are some of the memorable experiences throughout your career?

Michael: Receiving an Order of Australia – AM medal was an obvious highlight, as is creating employment opportunities and growing the business for the next generation.

xpress: What are some of the valuable lessons you’ve learnt in business over the years?

Michael: First, do what you do best. Also, appointing a board with an independent Chairman was the smartest thing I‘ve done.

John Heard is our Chairman, personal friend and confidant and has the best interests of our business at heart.

xpress: How have the hardships you’ve endured altered your perspective on life?

Michael: The hardest challenge was my misadventure with cancer.

I now wake up with an attitude and energy to enjoy the best days of my life.

I’ve got to come back in a second life, there’s too much to do now!

Also, losing my two greatest mentors was another challenge for me. My saddest loss was my dad, who taught me the following:

  • Never forget who you are and where you came from
  • You can only eat two meals a day
  • It’s better to lose your eye than your name
  • The greatest pleasure in life is the pleasure of giving
  • To be happy and see every day as an adventure.

My other mentor was the late Peter Doyle, of Doyle’s Seafoods in Sydney who taught me many things including that to do less is to do more.