Vehbi Koç - Businessman
Vehbi Koç started his working career when he was 16 at the small grocery store his father opened for him. While dealing with commerce, he became the local representative of Ford and Standard Oil. When Ankara became the capital of young Turkish Republic, construction activities increased and Vehbi Koç began trading in construction materials, building supplies and hardware. In 1938, he established Koç Ticaret Inc. in Istanbul.
Having convinced General Electric, he signed an agreement in 1948 to build a light bulb factory, which opened in 1952. Koç took important steps in industry in the 1950s and manufactured automobiles, household appliances, radiators, electronic devices, textiles and matches. He established the first Holding Company in Turkey in 1963: Koç Holdings. The new companies strengthened the Holding. Koç manufactured the first domestic car, "Anadol", in 1966.
There are more than 70 companies in the Koç Group, all of which are specialized in different sectors such as energy, consumer durables, food, retailing, finance, energy, automotives, tourism and technology. The group also has international partnerships with well-known companies such as Fiat, Ford Motor Co., LG Electronics, B & Q and UniCredit Group.
The Koç Community celebrates its 85th year in 2011. The consolidated sales revenue of Koç Holding, reached 53,812 million TL and the group raised its net profit to 1,734 million TL. The group employs more than 73,000 people and the combined export income increased to US$ 7.6 billion in 2010.
Vehbi Koç, after handing over his work in the Holding to professional executives, began to deal with social and charitable foundation services. He founded an Eye Bank at the Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, a Cardiology Institute at the Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine, the Turkish Education Foundation (Türk Eğitim Vakfı), and the Vehbi Koç Student Dorm at ODTÜ (METU). He also established the Vehbi Koç Foundation in 1969, which operates in education, health care and culture. He donated the Atatürk Library in Taksim to the Municipality of Istanbul in 1976 and in 1980 opened the first private museum Sadberk Hanım Museum in memory of his deceased wife Sadberk Hanım.
He retired in 1984 to devote more time to social activities. Vehbi Koç Vakfı Koç Özel Lisesi (The Koç High School) was opened in 1987, and Koç Üniversity opened its classroom doors in 1993. Vehbi Koç established the Türkiye Aile Sağlığı ve Planlaması Vakfı (The Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation) and functioned as the President of the Foundation until his death.
The International Chamber of Commerce declared Vehbi Koç "The Businessman of the Year" in 1987, and Vehbi Koç received a plaque in New Delhi from the Indian Prime Ministir Rajiv Ghandi. The United Nations awarded him as President of The Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation for the successful work of the foundation. Boutros Boutros-Ghali gave the prize to Vehbi Koc. "Hayat Hikayem" (My Life Story-1973) and "Hatıralarım, Görüşlerim, öğütlerim" (My Memories, My Views, My Suggestıons-1987) were published in both Turkish and English.
In "Targets and Principles", a document published for employees working
in his companies, he states, "My main law is this: As long as my state
and country exist, so do I. If there is democracy, then we all exist. We have
to provide all of our efforts in order to strengthen our economy. As the economy
expands, democratic roots will grow and our esteem in this world will increase."
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