Turkey’s Inspirational Leaders

Sani Şener - CEO of TAV Airport Holdings and TAV Construction

Sani Şener is the co-founder and chief executive officer of TAV Airports Holding and TAV Construction. Sani Şener is best known for his leadership in design, construction, financing and operation of the Istanbul Atatürk Airport’s international terminal building and its side facilities project in 1997. Under his leadership, TAV Airports was founded as a joint-stock company for Istanbul Atatürk Airport’s 500 thousand m2 of construction and operation project which was one of the first major airport Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects in the world. The construction of the colossal project was complete in only 22 months, 8 months ahead of schedule.

Since the beginning of Istanbul Atatürk Airport project, Sani Şener has been the chief executive officer of TAV Airports Company, which has fast evolved into an airport construction and operation holding group that manages 13 airports and 24 airport related subsidiary companies as of March, 2017

Pinar Abay-CEO of ING Bank

Pinar Abay was appointed a member of the management Board Banking on 1 January 2020. She is also head of Market Leaders. Prior to this appointment, Pinar Abay was member of the board of ING in Turkey and non-executive member of the board of ING in Belgium. Before joining ING, Pinar Abay worked in Istanbul, San Francisco and New York for McKinsey & Company, serving US-based banking clients.

Pinar Abay holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bilkent University, Turkey, and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, US.

Onur Genç-CEO of BBVA

Onur Genç took over as the CEO of BBVA on Dec. 31, 2018. Onur Genç joined Garanti in 2012 as executive vice president for retail banking. In 2015 he was named deputy CEO of the Turkish lender assuming wholesale banking responsibilities as well. Since Jan. 2017 Onur Genç is CEO of BBVA Compass and country manager for BBVA U.S., where he achieved significant progress, not only in the financial results of the franchise, but also on the development and improvement of digital capabilities, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Before Garanti and since 1999, Onur Genç worked at McKinsey & Company for 13 years where he eventually rose to senior partner and manager of the Turkish office at the age of 34.

Nevzat Aydın-CEO of Yemeksepeti

Nevzat Aydın is a Turkish internet entrepreneur, angel investor and a mentor. Aydın is the co-founder and global CEO of Yemeksepeti, the leading online food delivery portal in Turkey. Professional career of Nevzat Aydın started with Yemeksepeti the first online food ordering company in Turkey, providing the facility to place food orders on-line from an affiliated network of restaurants without charging the user any extra fees.[5] Aydın founded the company with Melih Odemis (Chief Technology Officer), Cem Nufusi (Sales Director) and Gokhan Akan (Chief Financial Officer), and has been the Chief Executive Officer of the company since then.

When Aydın and the team started the business in 2001, internet penetration was very low in Turkey. Yemeksepeti did not make any profit for the first 5 years, but with a strong focus on customer experience and the convenience of the business model, they managed to convince the users and the restaurants to benefit from the huge potential of internet.

In accordance with the vision of Aydın, Yemeksepeti has continuously integrated most recent technologies and adopted global standards for customer experience. The company started to invest in mobile infrastructures in 2010 and activated Online Credit Card feature in 2013

Mehmet Ali Aydınlar-CEO of Acıbadem Healthcare Group

Mehmet Ali Aydınlar is a minority shareholder and CEO of Turkey’s leading hospital chain Acıbadem Healthcare Group. Aydınlar began his career as a financial advisor in 1981, and began working for Acıbadem Hospital in 1993.

In 2000, the business expanded to become the Acıbadem Healthcare Group, becoming the only Turkish medical provider to be listed on the Turkish stock market. He was a board member of the 38th Turkey Football Federation between 14 February 2008 and 29 June 2011 and Director of Fenerbahçe Acıbadem, which is a multi-sports club Fenerbahçe S.K.’s Women’s Volleyball Branch between 2007 and 2011.

Aydınlar received an honorary doctorate from the Kütahya Dumlupınar University.

Hakan Ateş-CEO of Deniz Bank

Hakan Ateş is a businessman who founded the DenizBank AS and Garanti Bank and who has been at the head of 12 different companies. Presently, he holds the position of Chairman for Intertech Bilgi Islem ve Pazarlama Ticaret AS, President, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Denizbank AS, Chairman of EkspresInvest Securities, Chairman of Denizbank Moscow CJSC, Chairman at Deniz Investment & Securities, Inc., Chairman of DenizYatirim Securities and Chairman at Denizbank AG (which are all subsidiaries of Denizbank AS) and Chairman-Supervisory Board for DenizBank (Wien) AG, Zweigniederlassung Frankfurt.

He is also on the board of 7 other companies.

In his past career Mr. Ates was Chairman of Deniz Gayrimenkul Yatirim Ortakligi AS, Chairman at Destek Varlik Yönetim A.S., Executive Vice President-Central Operations at Interbank AS, Member-Management Board at Dexia SA, Internal Auditor at Türkiye Is Bankasi AS, Chairman of Deniz Finansal Kiralama AS, Chief Executive Officer of Garanti Bank and Executive VP-Financial Affairs & Operation at Bank Ekspres AS.

Hakan Ates received an undergraduate degree from Metu Faculty of Economics & Administrative.

Bilal-Ekşi-CEO of Turkish Airlines

Bilal Ekşi is the CEO of Turkish Airlines. Ekşi graduated from Yıldız Technical University, the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering in 1989. After graduation he joined as an Electronics and Communications Engineer the Turkish State Railways, later being assigned to the position of Workshop Manager at Metro Istanbul.

Bilal Ekşi joined Turkish Airlines in 2003. Between 2003 and 2005 he worked as Head of Overhaul Workshops. In 2005, Ekşi became the company’s Chief Ground Operations Officer. Between 2008 and 2009 Ekşi served as the Chief Production Officer at Turkish Technic, the maintenance, repair, and overhaul center of Turkish Airlines. From 2009 to 2010 Ekşi worked as Executive Vice President at Turkish Engine Center (TEC), a Joint Venture of Turkish Technic and Pratt & Whitney. In 2010 he became General Manager of the company’s sister air carrier Cyprus Turkish Airlines.

Ekşi left Turkish Airlines in April 2011, becoming Head of the Directorate General of the Turkish Civil Aviation. On October 21, 2016, Ekşi has been assigned as Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines, succeeding Temel Kotil.

Hakan Binbasgil- CEO of AKBank

Hakan Binbaşgil has been the Board Member and CEO of Akbank since January 2012. Binbaşgil joined Akbank as the Executive Vice President in charge of Change Management in 2002. He initiated the Bank’s “Restructuring Program” which transformed Akbank into one of Turkey’s leading customer-focused, modern and innovative financial institutions.

After graduating from Robert College, Hakan Binbaşgil graduated from Boğaziçi University’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Binbaşgil also holds MBA and MS degrees in Finance from Louisiana State University, USA.

Prior to joining Akbank, Binbaşgil worked as a Management Consultant in the London and İstanbul offices of Accenture, and as Executive Vice President at Pamukbank. Binbaşgil has also served on the boards of directors of numerous local and multinational companies in Turkey and abroad, and chaired various companies including Akbank AG, Aklease, AkAsset Management, AkInvestment, Akbank Dubai, and the Credit Bureau of Turkey.

In 2014, Binbaşgil was named on the CNBC Next List as being among the next generation of global trailblazers, who will be instrumental in reshaping all facets of society over the next 25 years.

He is a member of IIEB (Institut International D’Etudes Bancaires), the Emerging Markets Advisory Council of the IIF (Institute of International Finance), and TÜSİAD, Turkish Industry and Business Association.

Recep Bastug- CEO of Garanti BBVA

Recep Bastug joined Garanti BBVA in 1989 and has had an extensive career, holding a series of executive positions. From 2013 through 2018, he was a member of the bank’s executive committee and responsible for Commercial Banking and Consumer Finance. He then decided to embark on a new professional path, taking the role of Executive Board Member with Ciner Group, a leading industrial conglomerate in Turkey.

Recep Baştuğ graduated from Çukurova University Faculty of Economics. He started his career in Garanti BBVA Internal Audit Department in 1989. He worked as Corporate Branch Manager during 1995-1999, Commercial Regional Manager during 1999-2004, Commercial Banking Coordinator during 2004-2012, and served as an EVP of Commercial Banking and Consumer Finance during 2013-2018. After working as a Vice Chairman at a private company for a brief period, on September 1st, 2019, he was appointed as the Board Member, President and CEO at Garanti BBVA. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Garanti BBVA Pension and Life.

Murat Erkan- CEO of Turkcell

Murat Erkan, born in 1969, joined Turkcell Group in June 2008 as the General Manager of Turkcell Superonline and in December 2015 he was appointed as the Executive Vice President of Sales. Mr. Erkan is the acting Chief Executive Officer effective March 15, 2019.

Erkan did his undergraduate degree at Yıldız Technical University between 1986 and 1992, with the Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. In 2010, he attended the Strategic Marketing Management program at the Harvard Business School.

Mr. Erkan, who started his professional life at Toshiba, worked as an Application Engineer at Biltam Muhendislik and then served as the first “System Engineer” of Turkey at Cisco Turkey. He served as Chief Officer at Cisco Systems in charge of Technology, Sales, Business Development and Channel Management. As from 2006, Mr. Erkan served as the Business Unit Manager at Aneltech responsible for solutions related to telecommunications, mobile, ICT, defense industry and industrial products sectors. Murat Erkan graduated from the Yildiz Technical University Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering Department. He completed the Strategic Marketing Program at Harvard Business School in 2010.