Until a few years ago the concept of power was defined in terms of money and authority. Today the same importance is attached to potential influence and innovation. One of the world’s most famous management experts, Joseph White, who is the author of the book “The Nature Of Leadership”, says: “Pure authority has lost its power. It has been replaced by effective power.” Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the architect of Apple Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s genius founder Bill Gates, S. Robson Walton, one of the most powerful businessmen and owner of Wal-Mart, the largest company in the world, and the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, whose US$53.5 billion fortune make him the richest person in the world, confirm this situation.
THE MOST IMPORTANT CRITERION
The classical understanding of power is also beginning to change in Turkey... During this period of change, the primary criterion for defining “being powerful” in the Turkish world is effectiveness, just as it is in the rest of the world. For example, even though he has withdrawn from active business life, Koç Holding Honorary Chair Rahmi Koç today demonstrates the extent of his influence by being able to dominate the agenda in Turkey with a single word. In addition to effectiveness, another important element is the ability to create employment. In fact, this is where the bosses derive their real strength. Koç Holding Chair Mustafa Koç wield a sensitive power through having 71,221 employees, while Sabancı Holding Board Chair Güler Sabancı has 55,200.
PROXIMITY TO THE GOVERNMENT
In recent years, close relations with the government have played an important role in the shift in the balance of power. For this reason, the redefinition of power includes maintaining good relations with the government. Of course, this situation is not unique to Turkey. Hilmi Güvenal, a partner at Reform Corporate Consulting, says that recently those who have succeeded in maintaining good relations with the government have moved one step ahead. Egon Zehnder Turkey Executive Partner Murat Yeşildere says that being close to the higher echelons of the government has always been a significant competitive advantage for the business world, and adds: “The recent increase in privatisations and the intensification of competition in regulated sectors has increased the importance of this proximity.”
THOSE WITH CASH HAVE MOVED FASTER
In the last few years, the declaration that cash is king has further increased the power of those with good cash positions. This has fuelled the further rise of bosses who have sold their banks in particular.
Fiba Holding boss Hüsnü Özyeğin, who has not hesitated to sell the successful companies that he has founded and succeeded in turning his companies into cash at the right time, acquired €3.1 billion from the sale of Finansbank. He used this cash to establish new, profitable companies at home and abroad. Experts believe that in this way Özyeğin has increased his power still further. Zorlu Holding boss Ahmet Nazif Zorlu, who sold Denizbank for $3.2 billion, is another who has gone from strength to strength. After leaving banking, he invested the money he earned in real estate and energy and became ensconced amongst the highest ranks of the most powerful.