Few people get the chance to sell off $20 billion worth of state assets, especially at the tender age of 36. But Ugur Bayar can tell you all about it. A former Citibanker who heads Turkey's privatization administration, Bayar is restructuring Turkey's economy. This year, the Ankara-based graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook has presided over the $1.3 billion sale of half of POAS, the petroleum distributor, and encouraged more than 400,000 people to buy up 31% of oil producer Tupras. "I'm almost worn out," says Bayar. More sales this year will include stakes in Turk Telecom and Turkish Airlines.
The sell-offs are essential if Turkey is to meet International Monetary Fund targets for cutting inflation and boosting growth. Pruning the state sector will also bring the country closer to the European Union.
Bayar figures the privatization program can be completed over the next five years. Meanwhile, some in Turkey think the whiz-kid Bayar, scion of a political clan that includes former President Celal Bayar, may be headed for a political career.