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The 30 Most Powerful Foreigners

Allain Gabillet, Bert Bender, Norbert Klein, Steve Bideshi, Till Becker, Dirk Wülfing, Diego Avesani and others… The business community is no stranger to these names. Each one of them manages one o...

Son Güncelleme: 01.03.2005

Allain Gabillet, Bert Bender, Norbert Klein, Steve Bideshi, Till Becker, Dirk Wülfing, Diego Avesani and others… The business community is no stranger to these names. Each one of them manages one of the leading companies in Turkey. They control large turnovers and millions of dollars worth of investments.

Foreign capital usually comes to Turkey in order to be the market leader. Indeed, they do head the field in many sectors. Multinational foreign companies usually bring foreign executives to head their operations in Turkey. A very small number of them prefer Turks. In addition to the influence they exert in their own organizations, these foreign executives who head their companies are also the most powerful names in their sectors.

These foreign executives either come to Turkey after heading a multinational’s operations in another country or are appointed directly from head office. However they come, the general impression is that these executives are pleased they have come to Turkey. Indeed, most of them describe being appointed to Turkey as being a great opportunity. They think that the experience they gain here will be very beneficial in their careers.


Capital brought together these powerful foreigners. We prepared a list of 30 names based on the rankings of the major firms in Turkey, sector data and the opinions of consultants. We learned what the powerful foreign executives thought about Turkey. Here are the 30 most powerful foreign executives in Turkey…

Foreigners in the automotive sector

The automotive sector heads the list of sectors in Turkey in which foreign capital makes it presence most felt in Turkey. The large amount of foreign capital in the sector means that there is also a high number of foreign executives. Moreover, these executives head companies which control a significant proportion of the market. The powerful foreign executives in the Turkish automotive sector include: Oyak Renault General Manager Allain Gabillet, Tofaş CEO Diego Avesani, Toyota CEO for Turkey Kazuhiro Kobayashi, Mercedes-Benz Türk Board Chairman Till Becker and Man Türkiye Board Chairman Dirk Wülfing.

Young, powerful leaders

A large proportion of the foreign executives in Turkey are young. One of these young, powerful names is Alessandro Fiorentino, Turkey country manager for Nokia, the largest mobile telephone manufacturer in the world.

The 41 year-old Fiorentino has been in Turkey for more than two years. He has ten years of experience in the IT sector. Fiorentino spent seven of these years in Italy and has been Turkey country manager for Nokia for the last two years. He says that the time he has worked in Turkey has been very positive both for Nokia and for his own career.

Carlo Costa, who was appointed to head Turk Pirelli in March 2004, is another of these young, powerful foreign executives. Like Fiorentino, Costa was previously in Italy and he is known to be one of the most powerful names in Pirelli’s head office operations.

Stefano Pasini, who heads Merloni Türkiye, which is one of the three largest white goods manufacturers in Turkey, is another of these powerful young executives… Pasini has been working for the Merloni group since 1998 and has been serving as the Turkey general manager of Merloni Elettrodomestici since January 2003.

The stars of retailing

Carrefour is one of the leading retail companies world-wide and one of the most powerful players in the Turkish market. Carrefour’s operations in Turkey are headed by Luc de Noirmont.

Another powerful foreign manager in retailing is Metro Cash & Carry Türkiye board member Bert Bender. He is responsible for the Turkish operations of Cash & Carry, which is the locomotive group of the German retailing giant, the Metro group.