Ever since 2000 Capital has conducted a survey of the powerful women who are most influential in the business community entitled “The 30 Most Powerful Women In Turkey.” This survey, which has now become a tradition, shows that the responsibilities of female executives have a very important place in the company’s place in the sector and the economy. We have identified the 30 most powerful women in Turkey by talking with management and strategic consultants, sectoral representatives and leading names in the business world.
The 30 Most Powerful Women In Turkey
It is a long time since the number of female executives numbered just the fingers on one hand. The influence of women in the world of business is increasing by the day. As presidents and CEOs they direct the largest companies in Turkey. They manage thousands of people and are responsible for the realization of major projects.
In recent years this reality has changed the appearance of the major groups in Turkey. Sabancı Holding is managed by Güler Sabancı, the representative of the third generation. The captain of the ship at Yaşar Holding is Feyhan Kalpaklıoğlu, while the Kale Group is run by Zeynep Bodur Okyay. Nor is this something which is only happening in family companies. The influence of women as professional executives is also increasing. Canan Edipoğlu is general manager of Shell Turkey. İmre Barmenberk is vice president of Dogan Holding. Gülsüm Azeri is household goods group president at Şişecam. There are also those who have established their own businesses and are competing with the giants, like Emine Kamışlı, head of Esas Holding, and Aynur Bektaş, owner of Hey Tekstil…
Appointed head of Sabanci
First place in the rankings goes to Güler Sabancı, Chair of the Board at Sabancı Holding. Güler Sabancı was appointed to head Sabancı Holding at the age of 49 following the passing away of Sakıp Sabancı. At the same time Güler Sabancı is one of the longest serving female executives in the Turkish business world. For years she worked in the management of DupontSa and Kordsa. Before she became chair of the board of the holding she was chair of the Sabancı Holding Human Resources Committee. Today Ms Sabancı manages Sabancı Holding, which comprises 60 companies and 30,000 employees and has an annual turnover of $7.3 billion. She is regarded as one of the most powerful women in the world. She was ranked 20th in the Fortune magazine list for 2004 of “The 50 Most Powerful Businesswomen in the World”. While she was ranked seventh in the Financial Times list of the “Most Powerful Women in Europe.”
Feyhan Kalpaklıoğlu manages one of the most important groups in Turkey. Kalpaklıoğlu took over as board chair of Yaşar Holding from her father Selcuk Yaşar.
Before she was appointed board chair, Ms Kalpaklıoğlu served for six years as deputy board chair. After she became chair of the holding in 2003, she was influential in the holding concentrating on agriculture, foodstuffs, paints and chemicals. She has realized important projects in corporate management.
Rank Women Group/Company Why are they ranked here?
1 Güler Sabancı Sabancı Holding Appointed chair of the holding after the death of Sakıp Sabancı. Manages one of the largest groups in Turkey.
2 Feyhan Kalpaklıoğlu Yaşar Holding Selçuk Yaşar, one of the doyens of the Turkish business community, transferred the business to her. As board chair she has played a critical role in corporatisation of the Holding.
3 Suzan Sabancı Akbank Serves as plenipotentiary board member. Played an important role in the restructuring of the bank. Has been involved in the management of Akbank since 1997.
4 Arzuhan Yalçındağ Kanal D/TÜSİAD Chair of the Kanal D Board of Directors. TÜSİAD Board member and president of the social affairs committee of TÜSİAD. The responsibilities she has undertaken at TÜSİAD have increased her influence in the business community.
5 Canan Edipoğlu Shell Türkiye One of the most important names in the fuel sector. General manager since 2003. Has been responsible for important projects at Shell, particularly in the field of finance.
6 Piraye Antika HSBC Played a critical role in the bank’s rapid growth in retail and commercial segments. An important figure when it comes to decisions regarding the HSBC Group’s investment decisions in Turkey.
7 Vuslat Doğan Sabancı Hürriyet Gazetecilik Serves as chair of the executive board. Developed Hürriyet's marketing strategy. Introduced innovations in this field. Strengthened its corporate structure.
8 Zeynep Bodur Okyay Kale Grubu Deputy chair of the board of directors and executive board chair. Deputy chair of the board of the Economic Development Foundation. Played a major role in the Kale Group’s growth.
9 İmre Barmenbek Doğan Holding For many years had major responsibilities at Doğan Holding. Deputy chair of the board of directors and member of the board of POAŞ.
10 Gülsüm Azeri Şişecam Grubu Group chair of glass household goods. Influential in Şişecam's foreign operations. Renewed Paşabahçe's store concept. Broadened the product range.
11 İdil Yiğitbaşı Yaşar Holding Deputy chair of the board. Youngest daughter of Selçuk Yaşar. One of the most important influences in the development of the holding’s strategies in the foodstuffs group in particular.
12 Alev Yaraman Şişecam Grubu Group chair of the plain glass group. Has important responsibilities in Şişecam's plain glass activities. One of the most influential executives when it comes to making strategic decisions.
13 Emine Kamışlı Esas Holding Serves as plenipotentiary board member at Ak Sigorta. Left Sabancı Holding and founded Esas Holding in 2000. Today has seven companies and 1,100 employees.
14 Hanzade Doğan Doğan Gazetecilik Began her business career with the establishment of Doğanonline. Later served as CEO of Milliyet newspaper. Has recently been the architect of change and new products.
15 Aynur Bektaş Hey Tekstil/TGSD A former banker. Entered her own company Hey Tekstil in the 500 largest companies in Turkey within 12 years. Recently became chair of TGSD. The most influential female executive in the textile sector.
16 Şule Zorlu Zorlu Holding/Linens Daughter of Ahmet Nazif Zorlu. Member of the board of directors. One of the architects of the Linens brand. Developed the Linens store concept.
17 Filiz Şahenk Doğuş Holding Deputy chair of Doğuş Holding. Heads the Holding’s tourism group. Has realized important projects in this field. Directs the group together with her brother Ferit Şahenk.
18 Hülya Atahan Oyak Holding Depute chair responsible for financial and administrative affairs. One of the people responsible for the success of the Oyak Holding finance group. One of the most influential executives in the group.
19 Ayşegül İldeniz Intel Türkiye Has served as general manager for two years. Currently director responsible for the Middle East and Africa region. Also board member of Intel Europe.
20 Ümit Boyner Boyner Holding Played an important role in the change of the Çarşı stores to Boyner. Influential in the group’s activities abroad. Member of the Holding’s board of directors.
21 Selen Zorlu Zorlu Holding/Korteks Member of the board of directors at Zorlu Holding. An important person in Korteks, which is the biggest producer of yarn in the world. Daughter of the Holding’s founder Zeki Zorlu.
22 Özlem İmece MasterCard Influential in MasterCard’s global strategy. General manager of MasterCard Europe. Has increased the influence of MasterCard in the countries in the European region.
23 Esin Mete Tekfen Holding General manager of Toros Gübre. In 2000 was appointed Tekfen Holding Vice President responsible for the Agro-industry group.
24 Semahat Arsel Koç Holding Board member of Koç Holding. Board chair of the Vehbi Koç Foundation. Particularly influential in the group’s social responsibilities projects.
25 Nazan Somer Yapı ve Kredi Bankası/BKM Deputy general manager responsible for personal banking. Board chair of the Interbank Card Center. Represents Turkey on the Visa EU Region board of directors.
26 Oya Temelli Martı Otelleri/Narin Grubu Board chair of Martı Hotels. Daughter of Halit Narin. Manages the Narin Group’s investments in tourism. One of the leading executives in the tourism sector.
27 Çim Güzelaydınlı Tekstilbank Board chair and general manager of Tekstilbank. Expanded the customer portfolio through boutique banking. Realized important projects in corporate banking.
28 Meral Ak Egemen Ak Emeklilik Her pursuit of an aggressive strategy brought Ak Emekliliği to the fore in a sector which was only just developing. One of the most important executives in the personal pensions sector.
29 Serpil Timuray Danone/Tikveşli General manager. Her ambitious policies have strengthened the company in the intensely competitive foodstuffs sector. An executive with a background in marketing, she has strengthened Danone's product portfolio.
30 Tijen Çıdam Borusan Otomotiv Has been working at Borusan Holding since 1983. Assistant general manager at Borusan Mannesmann Boru. Was appointed Borusan Oto general manager in 2005.