Vehbi Koç Foundation Encyclopedia use cookies to give you the best experience. If you confirm, you will accept the use of cookies. Click for detailed information on the use of cookies.

Alisbah, Hulki

Alisbah, Hulki (b. 1903, Sivas - d. May 1, 1985, Istanbul), director who played an important role in the establishment of Koç Holding and the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV), working in various roles across the Koç companies. He served on the Vehbi Koç Foundation Board of Directors between 1969 and 1985.

After graduating from the Mekteb-i Mülkiye (today’s Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences), he was appointed to the district administration in Edirne. In 1925, after passing the necessary exam, he became assistant auditor at the Divan-ı Muhasebat (today’s Turkish Court of Accounts). He left in 1931, going on to work in various roles at Ziraat Bank (1932-40) and ultimately rising to the post of assistant general manager. In early 1941, he was appointed general manager of the Turkish Grain Board. He also served as general manager of Sümerbank (1942-44) and of İller Bank (1948-49). After leaving his last position for political reasons, he accepted the offer of Vehbi Koç, an acquaintance from previous years, to take the position of general manager at Koç Ticaret AŞ. When Koç Holding was formed in 1963, he was brought in as general coordinator and continued in that role until his retirement in 1975. He continued to serve on the boards of Koç Holding companies and VKV until his death on May 1, 1985.

“Hulki Alisbah was an incredible person...”

As well as being a close friend, Hulki Alisbah was an exemplary manager, who I knew to be industrious and efficient with a meticulous and thorough work ethic. We worked together for 26 years from 1949 to 1975. In the following years, he served on the executive boards of companies in the Koç Group as well as in the Foundation management; we were together without a pause until his death. Our friendship had begun much earlier. Before coming to us, Hulki Alisbah had given 26 years of service to the state. He came to us as an extremely experienced and knowledgeable bureaucrat who had distinguished himself as Ziraat Bank Assistant General Manager, and as General Manager of the Turkish Grain Board, Sümerbank and İller Bank. In our early founding years, when there was a shortage of experienced people, Hulki Alisbah was one of the advisors from whom I derived the most benefit. It was a huge boon to have at my side someone of such maturity who had vast experience of the highest echelons of government financial bodies. I consulted Hulki Alisbah on all my major initiatives and followed his advice. During the second half of the 1940s, I discussed every economic issue I took to the Party Caucus with him and Cafer Tüzel beforehand so I didn’t upset İsmet Pasha [İsmet İnönü]. In those days, he was still working for the state and he was one of the few people whose opinions I could rely on. I used to invite him to my house and he’d come along; we were at most three to four people. We would talk at length about the economic woes of our country and discuss the remedies. Right back then, he drew my attention for his ability to view matters from a wide perspective and offer consistently rational and practical suggestions.

He came to us in 1949 after his retirement and became General Manager of Koç Ticaret AŞ. Over the 26 years that we worked together, he made a huge contribution to the growth of the Koç Group. He did the preparatory work on the Koç Holding project and was also instrumental in giving it its final shape. He supported and developed my idea to set up a foundation to institutionalize our social endeavors, preparing the Foundation’s deed of trust himself. We always benefited from his knowledge and experience when we were setting up our large industrial enterprises; in short, Hulki Alisbah had been an inseparable part of us. Our companionship lasted until 1975, the year he completed his 52nd year of work. We lost him on May 1, 1985. He was still one of my closest friends and his death brought me great pain. Something of yourself is buried and disappears whenever someone you love dies.
Vehbi Koç, Hatıralarım Görüşlerim Öğütlerim (Recollections, Observations, Counsel), Vehbi Koç Vakfı Yayınları, Istanbul, 1987, pp. 40-41
Abadan Unat, Nermin

Political scientist who received the Vehbi Koç Award for education in 2012.