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.

Kıraç, İpek

Kıraç, İpek (b. November 29, 1984, İstanbul), director and businesswoman. In addition to her other roles, she is chair of the Koç School Board of Directors and a member of the Koç Holding Board of Directors, the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV), and the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. Since 2012, she has been serving as a board member and CEO of Sirena Marine AŞ, which is one of the affiliates of Kıraça Holding.

İpek Kıraç, who is the daughter of Suna Kıraç and İnan Kıraç and the fourth grandchild of Vehbi Koç and Sadberk Koç, completed her education at İstek Foundation Elementary School and in 2002 graduated from VKV Koç Private High School (see Koç School). She chose to study biology at university as her mother Suna Kıraç had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She continued her education in biology at Brown University in the USA and completed it in 2007. Following this, she spent a month learning about ALS with Dr. Robert Brown, who runs one of the world’s most respected ALS research centers at Harvard University. Kıraç received a master’s degree in Public Health from Brown University in 2011.

İpek Kıraç’s decision to study Biology

Studying biology was the only way I could physically hope to help my mother; there was nothing else I could have done other than to sit and watch. It felt like the only way I could contribute was through biology. But of course, I also liked biology very much. My biggest lifelong dream was to work in a lab, which I also felt was a contribution to my mother. I mean, that was what I tried to do. It feels like I haven’t tried enough. My ideal is to have a laboratory of my own in Turkey. I want to work in that laboratory. I want it to be a globally-recognized laboratory and I want to do what I love there. I am like my mother: I will definitely not do anything I do not like. I like biology and I will not do anything other than biology, because it is what I love to do. Many people ask me “why don’t you study economics, or business?” I’m already going to carry the names of Suna and İnan Kıraç to the end. I will embrace what my parents leave to me. But that does not mean that I will do anything that I don’t want to do. I will not work at Koç Holding: I can’t. I want to establish my own life. I want to establish my own family.
Suna Kıraç, Ömrümden Uzun İdeallerim Var (My Ideals, Longer Than My Lifetime), Suna ve İnan Kıraç Vakfı Yayınları, Istanbul, 2006, p. 276

In 2003, İpek Kıraç established the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation together with her mother Suna Kıraç and her father İnan Kıraç. In 2005, the foundation pioneered the establishment of the Neurodegeneration Research Laboratory (NDAL) as part of the Boğaziçi University Molecular Biology and Genetics Department. The laboratory, which was the first model of academic cooperation between a state university and a private foundation in Turkey, is today affiliated to Koç University. It is considered to be a center of expertise in the molecular diagnosis of genetic and complex diseases not just in Turkey, but on an international level as well.

İpek Kıraç began her professional career in 2012, becoming the CEO of Sirena Marine Denizcilik ve Ticaret AŞ, a subsidiary of Kıraça Holding, which had been established in 1998 by her father İnan Kıraç and Claude Nahum. Sirena Marine, which was the first Turkish company to manufacture yachts on a production line, has built over 300 yachts from 2006 to the present day, at the same time becoming a global brand by blending the skills of well-known yacht designers with local expertise.

“My mother taught me to fight”

My mother taught me to fight, both while she was working and when she was ill. If there are two people I have taken as role models in life, one is my mother and the other is my father. I grew up seeing how resolutely they worked. I took their determination, resoluteness, hard-working attitudes, and ways of thinking as examples for myself. As Suna and İnan Kıraç’s daughter, the more I could resemble them in my working life, the better it would be for both me and for the company.

İpek Kıraç, who is a member of the board of trustees of TEGV and the Galatasaray Educational Foundation as well as being on the board of directors of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and VKV, is also a member of the board of directors of Koç Holding, Sirena Marine AŞ, Karsan Sanayi AŞ, Temel Ticaret ve Yatırım AŞ, Zer Merkezi Hizmetler AŞ and Moment Eğitim Araştırma Sağlık Hizmetleri ve Ticaret AŞ.

An education unit which TEGV opened in 2004 at Beykoz Anadoluhisarı was named after İpek Kıraç.

Abadan Unat, Nermin

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