Share / Discuss

Alexandra Papalexopoulou ’88 — Greece

Builder of a Global Business

As strategic planning director for Titan, an Athens-based, family-led cement and building materials company, Alexandra Papalexopoulou ’88 guided the company’s international expansion.

“We started investing more and more abroad, going from being mostly Greek-generated revenue in 1992 to just below 7 percent last year. The rest is from other countries,” Papalexopoulou says. Through a series of acquisitions, partnerships, and greenfield investments, Titan expanded to develop major operations in 10 countries, and now has cement plants or joint ventures in Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and the United States, in addition to Greece. The U.S. is Titan’s biggest market.

Papalexopoulou has traveled the world to visit Titan’s partners and many of its plants abroad. “I find it very rewarding, very interesting,” she says.

Papalexopoulou, who studied economics at Swarthmore, initially planned to pursue a Ph.D., before a stint as a research assistant at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development convinced her that a career in academe was not for her. Instead, she earned an MBA at INSEAD, in France, before returning to Greece to join Titan, her family’s business.

Swarthmore helped prepare her for a business career, and some of those skills were nuanced, Papalexopoulou says. “Business is about interacting with people, thinking critically, being able to not stress too much under pressure,” she says. “In many ways, Swarthmore formed me into the person I am today.”

Previous: Juan Víctor Fajardo ’09 — Venezuela
Next: Emanuel Jinich ’79 — Mexico