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Kıraç, İnan

Kıraç, İnan (b. 1937, Eskişehir), director and businessman who spent many years as a senior director at Koç Holding companies. Between 1993 and 1997, he was also a member of the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) Board of Directors. The husband of Suna Kıraç, the youngest daughter of Vehbi Koç and Sadberk Koç, he is the father of Koç Holding and VKV Board of Directors member İpek Kıraç.
After graduating from Galatasaray High School, İnan Kıraç studied economics at the City College of Business in London. In 1961, he began his professional life at Ormak AŞ, a Koç Holding company. In 1966, he was made general manager of Otoyol, a Fiat trucks manufacturer.

İnan Kıraç, first days at the Koç Group…

After my brother İnan Kıraç graduated from Galatasaray High School, he completed his military service and began searching for a career start... İnan was nine years younger than me. When we lost our mother in 1946, he was still an elementary school student of ten years old. Our father’s death at the age of 57 was also a cause of great “domestic pain” for us at an early age...
From then on, İnan and I had to rely on each other to overcome the difficulties of life... When I was married in 1954, İnan felt like he had been “left alone”...

He seemed to withdraw into himself, and began working as a translator at the Kemer Dam building site... I wished that he would do some more serious work and be able to test his self-confidence at a more advanced level...
While I was living in Izmir, I shared my thoughts with Bernar Nahum in 1961. “You raised me, and now it is İnan’s turn. As you know, we are not a big family, and İnan is a youth of character and merit. If you take him under your wing and make him your apprentice, this country will benefit from a successful person,” I said, and opened the first door to Koç for İnan...
Monsieur Bernar took note of my proposal and promised to talk to Vehbi Koç and let me know his decision. However, I was really surprised by the idea that Bernar Nahum, who had partner and manager status, would need to get the permission of Mr. Koç to employ a young person... But my surprise turned into great astonishment fifteen days after I talked to Bernar! Monsieur Bernar told me on the telephone, “I talked to Mr. Koç about İnan. He had an objection I had not anticipated; he said that it was not right for two brothers to work at the same group!” While I was searching for an answer, he explained Mr. Koç’s objection. “Can is successful in İzmir and could in future take on important roles. An unexpected problem with his brother could prevent that. That is why I don’t think it’s right for him to work with his brother.” I had nothing left to say... Bernar said, “If you like, talk to Mr. Koç yourself, maybe you can convince him,” leaving the door open just a hopeful crack...
The first time I visited Istanbul following this disappointing conversation, I decided to visit Mr. Koç at Merkez Han, which was the Koç headquarters in the 1960s. My aim was to introduce him to İnan... I began the discussion by putting the emphasis on me: “As you can see, I work with spirit and I feel that you like me! My brother İnan is made of the same stuff. I believe he would work with total loyalty. Allow İnan a three-month trial period with Monsieur Bernard, just like you allowed me, and if he’s no good, you can throw him out!” After I said all these things one after the other, I made a comparison that I still smile to remember: “We are fish without bones, you will not be disappointed! Please accept İnan and meet him.” Mr. Koç said, “What do you mean by fish without bones?” and I answered, “We are two brothers in life! We have no-one else to support us but each other!” which gave the conversation a dramatic air... Mr. Koç’s answer to my emotional approach was to say, “Do you not consider yourself as bones?”
Despite all this, the conversation ended on a positive note. Vehbi Koç said, “Your brother should come to me at eleven o’clock on Tuesday next week. As you know, Tuesdays are my lucky days!” I felt on top of the world. I don’t want to go into detail here about how I prepared İnan before sending him to Istanbul. I will leave that for when I write the story of his life! But the truth is that Vehbi Koç, in hiring İnan for Koç, once again, showed that he was a great judge of character. With this decision, he chose not only today’s successful Chair of the Koç Holding Executive Committee, but at the same time his future son-in-law.

On December 29, 1967, when Istanbul Mayor Haşim İşcan solemnized the marriage among all the family members in the magnificent salons of Çankaya Apartment, the long-time residence of the Koç family, Vehbi Koç, reveling in the joy of seeing his children grown up and married, said, “All my children are now in their nests! I hope that their husbands too will be successful!” In doing so, he sought to conceal the true depths of his hopes and joys, as if he was frightened of letting it show.
Can Kıraç, Anılarımla Patronum Vehbi Koç (Memories of My Boss, Vehbi Koç), Milliyet Yayınları, Istanbul, 1995, pp. 173-74

 In 1970, he became the general manager of Tofaş Oto Ticaret, the marketing and distribution company for Fiat automobiles produced in Turkey. In 1973, he became the coordinator of Tofaş Group within Koç Holding, and in 1980, he became the vice president responsible for Tofaş. After carrying out this role until 1987, he became a member of the Koç Holding Managing Committee and president of the Automotive Group. From 1993 to 1994, he was simultaneously president of the Automotive Group, a member of the Koç Holding Board of Directors and the chair of the managing committee. In 1994, Kıraç became the chair of the executive board, the highest position in Koç Holding. In March 1998, after his retirement, he established the Kıraça Group of Companies together with close colleagues.

In 2000, together with his wife, Suna Kıraç, İnan Kıraç set up one of the Antalya region’s most active cultural bodies, AKMED, and the Kaleiçi Museum. One of the founders of TEGV, he also undertook the founding of the Suna-İnan Kıraç Education Park in Antalya (2001) and the TEGV Ali Numan Kıraç Activity Center in Eskişehir (2006).

The Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation, which carries out activities related to arts, culture, education and health, was established in 2003 by İnan and Suna Kıraç together with their daughter, İpek Kıraç. The Pera Museum, also affiliated with the foundation, was opened in 2005. In the same year, the Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory was established in partnership with the Boğaziçi University Foundation, later becoming affiliated to Koç University. The Istanbul Research Institute was established in 2007 to undertake research relating to Istanbul in the Byzantine, Ottoman and Republican eras.

In 2008, Suna and İnan Kıraç received the Skalite Award for their exceptional contribution to the protection of cultural assets. In 2009, they received the Istanbul Tourism Honorary Award for their contributions to Istanbul through opening the Pera Museum and the Istanbul Research Institute. In the same year, they also received the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Special Academy Award in recognition for the Pera Museum.

İnan Kıraç played a leading role in the establishment of the Galatasaray Education Foundation in 1981 and also served as its president. Mustering the support of Galatasaray High School graduates and advocates, he ensured that the institution was housed in the most modern building in the history of the republic. Through his political, financial, diplomatic and managerial efforts, he also played a pivotal role in the establishment of Galatasaray University and Galatasaray Elementary School. İnan Kıraç was bestowed with the rank “Officier” of the Légion d’honneur on December 14, 1997, by the President of France in recognition for his role in Turkish-French relations; subsequently, on December 2, 2011, his rank was raised to that of “Commandeur”. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates from Istanbul University, Galatasaray University and Süleyman Demirel University.

İnan Kıraç, who also served in the management of various foundations and societies involved in education, health and sports, built an elementary school in Istanbul, named after his mother Semiha Kıraç. Together with his brother Can Kıraç, he restored the family house and his father Ali Numan Kıraç’s offices in Eskişehir, designating it to Osmangazi University Faculty of Agriculture for use as a museum and library.

Abadan Unat, Nermin

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