George Kailis is a distinguished businessman and philanthropist who has resided in Melbourne for the last 30 years. He was born in Perth in 1957 and regularly visits his home town where most of his family remain. The Kailis name has been synonymous with seafood since 1926 when his grandfather, the late GP Kailis founded a fresh retail fish business in the heart of Perth.
George’s father Michael took over the reins of the business in the late fifties and established what is known today as KB Foods. George joined KB in the late 70s and along with his brothers, set about expanding the operations of the company with a plan to vertically integrate through the catching, processing, wholesaling, retailing and exporting sectors.
George married Rose Kakulas (a fellow Kazzie) in 1982 and with her unwavering support set his sights on the ‘national expansion’ of the business. George and his family moved to Melbourne in 1991 and soon after opened branches in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. International offices followed in Thailand and Vietnam.
In 2016 KB was approached by a Hong Kong based company (Legend Holdings, owners of the Lenovo computer brand) who were looking to diversify. A deal was eventually consummated and Legend Holdings became the major shareholder of KB before buying out the balance of the Kailis family shares in 2020.
During his career at KB, George played a pivotal role in the company’s global expansion which saw it become Australia‘s largest and most diversified seafood company with annual earnings in excess of $650 million. George attributes his success to the examples set by his late father Michael and his passionate love of the seafood industry.
Despite his demanding business life, George regularly found time to visit his beloved Kastellorizo. In the late 90’s George and Rose renovated a family home on the island and committed to taking their children there on regular visits.
George’s passion for all things Greek saw him join the board of The Hellenic Initiative (THI) some 9 years ago and today he chairs the Fundraising Committee for this organisation. George is also passionately interested in medical research, especially where children’s health is concerned and actively supports The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and The Meningitis Centre (WA). George’s other interests include the arts, recreational fishing and the Carlton and Liverpool football clubs.