Zissimos Frangopolous

Ziss FrangopoulosREMEMBRANCE

Zissimos Frangopoulos passed away as the result of a stroke on December 19. Ziss was born during an air raid at home in Athens, Greece, on December 16, 1944, After Yale he studied at Columbia University Graduate School of Business and then spent his whole career moving from success to success after success in banking, which you can read more about in the obituary that accompanies this remembrance. Suffice it to say he was a real wiz with numbers and a living legend in the banking world.

He and his wife Ruthie lived wherever his career took him all over the world, including New York and London, but their true home base was an old stone farmhouse in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, which they renovated and added rooms to.

“My first encounter with Ziss was in September 1967, when he arrived at my apartment door in New York City off the plane from Athens, for us to head up to Yale as freshman roommates,” says Dick Quintal. “We were joined sophomore year in Branford by Conley Brooks and Dick Whitten. We became and stayed great buddies, totally enjoying Yale, Zeta Psi, and our years of academics, adventures, and antics together.

“After college and business school, Ziss and I continued to see each other regularly through his and my banking careers, and after his retirement when he and his wife Ruthie moved to Pennsylvania, until the Covid interrupted us this past year.

“Milestones along our way included my spending a wonderful summer after freshman year with Ziss and his family in Greece – my being his best man for both of his marriages – and he, in turn, doing the honors at my own marriage to Cassy. Through it all, Ziss was my wonderful close friend, smart and fun and caring, loyal and always organized, and great to be with. Being an extremely successful senior banker at two different institutions didn’t do him any harm at all! And so like many others, I miss him very much.”

Greg Jorjorian adds, “I remember Zissimos very fondly from freshman days in Wright Hall. Those were the days of Zorba the Greek. Us Piersonites would holler up to the third floor, “ZZZZIIIISSSIIMMOSSS!” and he would dutifully come to the window with that huge smile of his and wave a hello. What a wonderful guy!”


Zissimos A. Frangopoulos passed away as the result of a stroke on Saturday, December 19th, 2020. He was born at home in Athens, Greece during an air raid on December 16, 1944, the son of the late Thalia and Ioannis Frangopoulos. He graduated from Athens College in 1963, from Yale University in 1967, and Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1969. Soon after, he started at Chemical Bank and stayed there while it merged with Manufacturers Hanover and then Chase Manhattan. He retired from Chase in 1999. While at Chemical he moved to London (1974–1979) to build and lead the successful Energy & Minerals Group Europe. He returned to London in 1981 to run Chemical Bank International Ltd. (CBIL), the agship of Chemical Bank’s merchant banking activities with of ces in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York. On his return to New York in 1984 he became Finance Director and Treasurer of the Chemical Banking Corporation, responsible for Chemical’s own mergers & acquisitions activities, regulatory relations, investor relations, equity and debt capital raising for the holding company. He worked with the Executive Team on all acquisitions and divestitures by Chemical Bank including transactions such as the merger with Texas Commerce Bank and Manufacturers Hanover. From 1993 he was Managing Director and Head of Financial Institutions Group and continued in that capacity until his retirement in December 1999. Moving to Chadds Ford, PA where they had a weekend house, he & his wife Ruthie renovated and added on to an old stone farmhouse. About the time that was completed he was asked to join the Board of Directors of Christiana Bank & Trust Company in Greenville, DE, becoming Chief Financial Of cer. A year later he became President and CEO, successfully turning around the Bank’s performance, restructuring the balance sheet, and putting in place strong risk controls. This realized a major gain for shareholders by negotiating the premium for the sale of the Bank. When Christiana was acquired by WSFS, Ziss served as a special advisor to the CEO on the integration of Christiana into WSFS Bank. Christiana is now the wealth management arm of WSFS. He was treasurer and then president of Vicmead Hunt Club.

For 32 years, Ziss was married to Ruthie Hoopes of Wilmington and Chadds Ford. He is survived his brother Karolos Frangopoulos of Athens, Greece, and his companion Jennifer Meadows. Ziss was a well-respected banker, a warm and personable man, intelligent and a wiz with numbers. He had a quick wit and a fun time entertaining. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no service is planned at this time. Please send contributions in his memory to the charity of your choice.

Published in the New York Times Jan. 7, 2021.