Turkish business mogul Özyeğin hands over roles in FIBA, FINA holdings to next generation

DAILY SABAH WITH WIRES
ISTANBUL
Published 23.10.2019 15:53
Updated 23.10.2019 16:10
Photo provided by FIBA Group on Oct. 22, 2019 shows Murat Özyeğin (L), the newly-appointed FIBA and FINA holdings chairman, vice-chair Ayşecan Özyeğin Oktay (C) and their father Hüsnü Özyeğin.
Photo provided by FIBA Group on Oct. 22, 2019 shows Murat Özyeğin (L), the newly-appointed FIBA and FINA holdings chairman, vice-chair Ayşecan Özyeğin Oktay (C) and their father Hüsnü Özyeğin."

Business and finance mogul Hüsnü Özyeğin, currently Turkey's third-richest person, stepped down as board chairman of FIBA and FINA holdings with his son Murat taking over his duties, according to a statement released on Wednesday by the FIBA Group.

Özyeğin, ranked third in the Forbes 100 2019 list with a $2.1 billion in personal wealth, will continue as the honorary chairman of the group, and will also continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors of two Fiba Group banks, Fibabanka and Credit Europe Moscow.

Murat Özyeğin was appointed the chairman of both holdings whereas his sister Ayşecan Özyeğin Oktay became the vice-chair.

With 67 domestic and international subsidiaries operating in 12 countries, FIBA Group is active in several areas including banking, leasing, factoring, insurance, retail trade, real estate, energy and tourism. The group employs 13,000 people from 48 nationalities. FINA Energy is among the leading companies in Turkey's renewable energy scene with a 369-megawatt wind and 40-megawatt of solar energy installed capacity, and investments for further 260 megawatts in wind power.

Born in 1944 in the western city of Izmir, Özyeğin graduated from the prestigious Robert College in Istanbul, and later studied civil engineering at Oregon State University. In 1969, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Özyeğin worked at various jobs in the U.S. before returning to Turkey in 1974 and started working in the now-defunct Pamukbank owned by his Robert College schoolmate Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, once Turkey's richest person best known for establishing Turkey's first cellphone operator Turkcell. Özyeğin became the general manager in 1977 at the age of 32. He was appointed as the general manager of Yapı Kredi Bank, again owned by Karamehmet, in 1984 and managed to bring the rooted bank back to profit.

In 1987, Özyeğin founded Finansbank and managed to steer the bank through the tumultuous 1990s and the 2001 financial crisis, during which many banks and their parent holdings went bankrupt. Finansbank, quickly earning a spot among the largest private banks in Turkey, was acquired by Greece's largest bank National Bank of Greece (NBG) in August 2006 in exchange for $2.7 billion for 46% of shares controlled by Özyeğin, and further $800 million was paid in 2008 for the remaining 9%. It was sold to Qatar National Bank (QNB) in 2015 for 2.7 billion euros (approximately $3 billion). As of October 2016, the bank was named QNB Finansbank.

The non-Turkish operations of Finansbank were rebranded as Credit Europe Bank under FIBA Group, which currently operates in 10 countries, with the Netherlands and Russia being its primary markets, and serves 7 million customers. Özyeğin returned to retail banking in Turkey in 2010 by establishing Fibabanka.

Murat Özyeğin, 43, completed his undergraduate studies at the Carnegie Mellon University and later obtained an MBA from Harvard in 2003 before returning to Turkey to take part in the management of family companies. Ayşecan Özyeğin Oktay, 38, studied at Duke University, took part in various divisions and projects in FIBA Group and later obtained an MBA from Stanford University in 2009.

The veteran businessman said that he is leaving 50 years behind in his business life and laid foundations for the FIBA Group 32 years ago. "We have 32 full years during which we gave our country a strong financial infrastructure, significant facilities and qualified education facilities. We have achieved many successes as FIBA Group that made us proud. What is more important is that these successes were not only business outcomes. They were businesses that earned a worldwide reputation for our group, that left their mark in our business history and that drew very large investments for our country."

Murat Özyeğin said he is proud to take the helm of a group operating in 12 countries.

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