“WE SHALL BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING COMPANIES IN THE WORLD”

Some follow automobile sales, others infrastructure investments or the Istanbul traffic. And yet others have their eyes on maritime trade… Some use the consumer index as a guide, others sales of gold… The one characteristic they all share is that they try

Capital (Turkey) - - INTERVIEW -

Zorlu Holding is now managed by a CEO. How has your life changed since Ömer Yüngül became CEO?

Ömer Yüngül is the first CEO we have ever appointed. There have been a lot of changes as a result. I have been relieved of some burdens. Now it is just the final decisions that come to me. I travel less than before. In fact, we had a professional management even before the appointment of a CEO. If we look at all of the largest companies in the world, such as Microsoft, we can see that the bosses there express their ideas. We also express our ideas but we also encourage our colleagues to express their ideas and proposals too. Whatever the majority decides is what happens and in a situation like this there isn’t anything the boss can do. If you want to be successful then it is important to use your shared expertise.

How is the year going? What kind of year do you think it will be?

I am not pessimistic. Overall we grew by 10 per cent over the first three months. We are planning to grow even more by the end of the year. When you look at all the markets you can see how they are affected by the curse of terrorism. Terrorism makes people reluctant to commit themselves. Despite all of this, I don’t think that the situation in Turkey is any cause for pessimism. Whatever else may be happening, we have an economy that is growing by 3-4 per cent. But what is important, of course, is peace and quiet.

So how would you describe the current situation in terms of opportunities?

There are always opportunities. But one must know how to sniff out the opportunities. A businessperson who does not know how to sniff them out isn’t going to go anywhere. We are working on new investments and calculations. For example, a couple of weeks ago I went to America for three days. Will there be a new investment in America? It will all become clearer over the days ahead. We have an investment in solar panels and we went to America for that. God willing, we shall put it into operation in 2017. There are some legislative amendments that

need to be made. We are ready.

What do you have on your agenda in terms of investments this year?

We are investing in energy. We have a $30-40 million investment in textiles. We are continuing with our investments at Vestel. In the medium term, we have plans for several billion dollars’ worth of investments. These investments will be in energy, white foods, electronics and mining. What are your plans in energy? We are investing in renewable energy. We have plans for a 100 megawatt investment in the near future and a 50 megawatt investment after that. By 2020 we have shall an installed power generation capacity of 40 megawatts in geothermal energy. Today Turkey currently produces around 350 megawatts of energy. We are aiming for 400 megawatts just by ourselves. We have invested $2 billion in energy over the last 10 years. A capacity of 400 megawatts in geothermal energy requires an additional investment of $600 million. What is your target about Venus? Venus puts us amongst the global players. We account for 5 per cent of the global production of televisions. We are very ambitious in mobile telephones. We are aiming to produce 40 million telephones in 2020.

You recently founded Vestel Ventures. What role will it play in Zorlu Holding?

Zorlu is a group that is open to innovations. We produced Turkey’s first locally produced telephone. It is a long-term investment. We see Vestel Ventures as enabling us to support innovative entrepreneurs. My son is involved in the business. We have handed that business to the younger generation and they are trying to realize dreams.

Are you thinking of entering new sectors or new areas of business?

We are thinking more of becoming more competitive in the sectors in which we are already active and bring in new technologies and realize innovations. Apart from that, we are not looking to enter a new sector. Where do you see Zorlu in 5-10 years? We are looking for Zorlu to take its place as one of the leading companies in the world. The products we have produced are out there. We are a preeminent brand in textiles. Vestel is one of the leading producers in the world. In the future we want to become a global brand. What is your target for turnover? We are racing towards the top. When we look at sportspeople we see that medals are awarded for first, second and third place. For that reason, I say to my colleagues: “We should regard ourselves as sportspeople and compete for first place.” Our target is to be first but I am not setting any specific date for this.

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