Mustafa Koc, Head of Turkey's Largest Group of Companies, Dies

  • Mustafa Koc dies at 55 after heart attack in Istanbul
  • Koc Holding sales are equivalent to about 5% of Turkey's GDP

Mustafa Vehbi Koc, chairman of Turkey’s biggest group of companies, died at a hospital in Istanbul on Thursday after a heart attack. He was 55.

Mustafa Koc in April 2008
Mustafa Koc in April 2008
Photographer:Oktay Cilesiz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Koc, the eldest grandson of Koc Holding AS founder Vehbi Koc, led the group, whose 2014 sales of $31.3 billion accounted for about 5 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product, for about 13 years after taking over from his father. He is survived by his wife Caroline and two daughters. He has two brothers, Ali and Omer.

“Mustafa was an outstanding business leader, a man of true integrity and a loyal friend and partner to Ford over many decades,” Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., said in an e-mailed statement. Ford and Koc Holding have been partners for more than 80 years in motor-vehicle production in Turkey.

Mustafa Koc’s term as chairman saw landmark deals to expand the group, including the takeover of 51 percent of Tupras Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri AS, the country’s sole crude-oil refiner, from the government for $4.1 billion in 2005. He also bought 57 percent of lender Yapi Kredi Bankasi AS from Cukurova Holding AS for $1.5 billion, a deal it undertook in partnership with Italy’s Unicredit SpA in 2004.

‘A Pioneer’

“He was a pioneer for us and for all the business community with his exemplary personality,” Tusiad, the country’s top business community grouping, said in an e-mailed statement. “He contributed a lot of value to Turkey’s economy, support to Turkish private enterprise, efforts for social development and loyalty to universal democratic values .”

The Istanbul-based conglomerate, founded in 1926 in Ankara, has joint ventures with Fiat SpA and with Ford. The group owns many other companies including Turkey’s biggest home-appliances maker Arcelik AS, heavy and military vehicles manufacturer Otokar Otomotiv ve Savunma Sanayi AS, liquefied gas producer Aygaz AS, and food producer Tat Gida Sanayi AS.

Mustafa Koc completed his high school at the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in Switzerland. He graduated from the business school at George Washington University in Washington D.C. in 1984. He worked at several Koc Holding companies including Tofas and Ram Foreign Trade before joining the holding company.

“His passing away is a big loss not only for his family and Koc Group, but also for our business community and our country,” Bulent Eczacibasi, chairman of Eczacibasi Holding AS and a close friend of Koc, said in an e-mailed statement.

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