Koç, Mustafa V(ehbi) (b. October 29, 1960, Istanbul – d. January 21, 2016, Istanbul), businessman. In addition to other roles, he served as chair of the board of directors at
Koç Holding between April 2003 and January 2016, and was a member of the
Vehbi Koç Foundation Board of Directors between 2004 and 2016.
The eldest son of Rahmi M. Koç and Çiğdem Koç (later Simavi) and the first grandchild of
Vehbi Koç and Sadberk Koç, Mustafa V. Koç attended Maçka Elementary School in Istanbul, followed by the Austrian High School and completed his secondary schooling at Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland. Between 1980 and 1984, he studied Business Administration at undergraduate level at George Washington University in the USA. In 1984, he returned to Turkey and began working as a consultant at Tofaş Oto AŞ.
A letter from Vehbi Koç to İnan Kıraç
In a letter to İnan Kıraç, who was at that time the vice president of Koç Holding with responsibility for Tofaş, Vehbi Koç emphasized that Mustafa Koç should not be given a privileged position because he was from the family of the owner, and that quite the contrary, he would need to work in such a way as to gain mastery over all processes: “... If Mustafa is to be well-trained, he will begin everything from basics, he will forget he is a member of the owner’s family, and he will investigate every task he begins down to the smallest details. In order to become successful, he will continue doing regular work, he will arrive before everyone and carry out instructions to the letter. If it is done in this way, it will be better for both himself and for his family. I thank you. Mustafa is entirely under your orders, in your safe-keeping. I wish you success.”
Koç Holding, Bizden Haberler (News from Us), 2016, No. 434, p. 17
After serving as sales manager at the Kofisa Trading Company in Geneva (1986-89) and as sales manager and vice head of sales at Ram Foreign Trade Inc. (1989-92), in 1992 he moved to Koç Holding as vice president of the Industry and Trade Group. Mustafa V. Koç became president of the Construction and Mining Group in 1994 and in 2001 joined the Koç Holding Board of Directors, becoming chair in April 2003.
The path that Koç Holding would follow under Mustafa V. Koç’s management was laid in 2005. The fundamental principles of a new strategic plan, that foresaw Turkey advancing through sustainable growth and stability, were defined as “focusing on sectors in which we are competitive, and which are close to the consumer”, “achieving at least fifty percent of sales overseas”, “leadership in the sectors we are part of” and “increasing the power of our brands and technology”. The business interests of group companies were assessed from the perspective of various criteria, including growth potential, competitiveness, opportunities and threats, and the value reached in these areas; it was subsequently decided to focus on four main sectors: energy, consumer goods, the automotive sector and financial services. The largest business interests of Koç Holding were in these four sectors. According to 2006 data on Koç Holding, these four sectors accounted for 91% of profits, 82% of investment spending, 87% of turnover and 90% of overseas income.
During the tenure of Mustafa V. Koç as chair of the board, Koç Holding assets went from a total of $406 million in 2002 to $25.1 billion in 2015, while net profit rose from $20.6 million to $751.4 million. At the same time, it grew from around 20,000 employees to 52,000. Koç Holding, which was the only institution from Turkey in the Fortune 500, accounted for 8.5% of the Turkish economy at the end of 2015, 9% of exports, and 9.4% of total tax revenues. Eighteen percent of the total market value of companies on the Istanbul Stock Exchange was made up of Koç Holding companies. Under Mustafa V. Koç, Koç Holding purchased Turkey’s biggest industrial establishment TÜPRAŞ (2006) and one of the country’s most important banks, Yapı Kredi (2005).
Mustafa V. Koç was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, EastWest Institute, JP Morgan International Council, Rolls-Royce International Advisory Board, Bilderberg Meetings Executive Committee and Council on Foreign Affairs International Advisory Board, as well as vice chair of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Board of Directors (1999-2004) and the chair of its High Advisory Council (2005-10), the president of the Foreign Economic Relations Board’s (DEİK) Turkey-US Business Council (1993-2000) and Finland’s honorary consul-general in Istanbul (2006-13).
The Italian government awarded Mustafa V. Koç the Cavaliere d’Industria medal in 2005 and the Leonardo International Award in 2012.
Mustafa V. Koç, who took an active interest in sports including golf, horse riding, aviation and diving, was the president of the Istanbul Golf Club from 1998 to 2004 and from 2010 to 2015. His interest in wildlife photography began in 2006, and his work was exhibited between May 25 and August 20, 2010 in the Istanbul Rahmi M. Koç Museum under the title “Karşılaşmalar/Wild Encounters”; he also published a book of the photographs with the same title. He donated the income from the sales of the book to the Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation.
Mustafa V. Koç married Caroline Giraud (see Caroline Koç), a member of the long-established Levantine Giraud family of Izmir, on July 14, 1992, and the couple had two daughters: Esra (b. 1997) and Aylin Elif (b. 2001) (see Koç family).
After Mustafa V. Koç suffered a fatal heart attack on January 21, 2016, the Mustafa V. Koç Scholarship Fund, worth 10 million Turkish lira, was formed by the Turkish Education Foundation (TEV) out of donations to TEV and contributions by Koç Group companies (2017). It is envisaged that in the first 10 years the fund will give scholarships to 3,000 girls who are being educated at vocational high schools. If they continue their education at state universities, they will continue to receive the scholarships.
Due to his enthusiasm for sports and his contributions to different areas of sporting activity, in 2017 the Turkish National Olympics Committee in collaboration with Koç Holding began the Mustafa V. Koç Sports Award program. Individuals and institutions who represent Olympic principles and values such as “friendship, excellence, respect, solidarity, equality, and a humanitarian and universal approach” may be nominated for the award, set up with the intent of rewarding “contributions to Olympic values”.
In 2017, a story and essay writing competition organized by the Koç School Middle School Turkish Department is renamed the Mustafa V. Koç Story and Essay Writing Competition in the memory of Mustafa V. Koç.
Farewell to Mustafa V. Koç…
To the valued members of the Koç Group,
Every death is early. But Mustafa Koç has left us much too early. We, those who love him, have along with the country been deeply shaken. We are each in equal sorrow. It is hard to accept our loss, difficult to talk about it: there are no words.
For us, Mustafa V. Koç was much more than “Koç Holding Board of Directors Chair Mustafa Vehbi Koç”. He was a wonderful father and husband, a dutiful child, a loving older brother, a true and faithful friend, a citizen in love with his country, a great philanthropist, an enlightened and visionary businessman, a passionate sportsman and sports-lover, and a leader who empowered and always supported his workers. But beyond this, he was a widely acclaimed and respected person, a modest man with a big heart and conscience. With his positive outlook and goodwill, he was an example to us all. The qualities that truly made him different were his humanistic values and uniting qualities. We can see that even as he leaves us, he has united those who knew him and those who did not, those here and abroad, all those who loved him, his friends, his followers and his colleagues; we are all united around the values that determined who he was, what he did, what he said and where he stood.
Mustafa Koç lived his life to the full with an energy that never seemed to end. In his work life, his social life and his hobbies, no matter what he did, he did the best. If you are a happy person, if you know how to embrace what life gives you and to share it with others, if you always keep your energy levels high, if you use this energy to inspire those around you to action, if you know how to love life and create a wave of optimism around you, then you will be the sun around which your company, your friends and your family revolve: that is, you will be their Mustafa Koç. You will enlighten and warm them.
We will not forget Mustafa Koç’s smiling eyes, his rubbing our shoulders, his winking from afar and his calming of troubled meetings. In fact, every day we will remember them more. He has left us with a huge hole. And it will not be possible to fill it.
Mustafa V. Koç, through his 32-year working life and his 13-year chairing of the board of directors, leaves us and our country with a huge, extremely successful and proud legacy. He last addressed us all together at the last Senior Directors’ meeting. Most importantly, he discussed his own dreams. In this talk, Mustafa Koç said, “Vehbi Koç established our Group, our Holding, with his dreams. Rahmi Koç expanded our Group with his dreams and established new partnerships, beginning to open it up to the outside world. My dream was to make our group a globally-renowned company. With your leadership and the contribution of your teams, we have achieved all of these dreams one by one. With new acquisitions we have expanded our group. We have secured our domestic leadership. Today I want to share with you my dream for what happens next. My next dream: To become more important in the international arena and to carry out great successes, to take our long-standing domestic leadership overseas, to support our portfolio with companies and organizations that carry out their activities in the global arena.”
Mustafa V. Koç shared his vision and his goals forcefully with us in this way. As a matter of fact, our last visit to America with him was carried out to this end, to evaluate potential investments. On this trip, I once again saw his determination in terms of his international vision. Now we will carry out these dreams and visions by keeping very close to one another.
Finally, I want to address Mustafa Koç on behalf of us all. Our dear Chair of the Board, my dear elder brother Mustafa, you have left us a flag for your vision and values, and you can be sure we will use our strength to work to carry it even further.
Our development in the economic, social and humanitarian fields will continue at the same pace. We will continue our valued projects that spread awareness of social responsibility across the country. In short, we will continue to serve our country in every area. In the international arena, we will bring our group up to the level you were aiming for, that you desired, and we will always work as best as we can for you. In the countries where we are active, your name and our company’s history will live forever through sports clubs, associations, foundations and artistic ventures. But most importantly, your name will remain right here, engraved in our hearts. You have always trusted us. We too as Koç Group employees will work with all the strength we have to be worthy of your trust. Rest assured. Rest in peace and light. But we will always miss you.
You deserve much from us; if we deserve anything from you, in the name of our entire community allow us to give you our eternal blessing.
“Talk given by Koç Holding CEO Levent Çakıroğlu on Sunday, January 24, 2016 at Koç Holding headquarters at a ceremony held for Mustafa V. Koç”, Koç Holding, Bizden Haberler (News from Us), No. 434, 2016, p. 3