Vehbi Koç bigraphy, stories - Founders

Vehbi Koç : biography

July 20, 1901 - February 25, 1996

Vehbi Koç (July 20, 1901 – February 25, 1996), born in Çoraklı, Ankara, Ottoman Empire, was a Turkish entrepreneur and philanthropist. He founded the Koç Group, one of Turkey’s largest and most prestigious group of companies. During his lifetime he came to be one of Turkey's richest citizens.

Vehbi Koç was a very active businessman in industrialization, institutionalization, professional administration and, through his charitable foundations, in education, health, and social services.

Career

Vehbi Koç began his working career in 1917 at the small grocery store his father opened in Ankara for him. His first firm called "Koçzade Ahmet Vehbi" was registered in 1926 at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce. While dealing with commerce, he became the local representative of Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil (presently Mobil) in 1928. When Ankara became the capital of young Turkish Republic, construction activities increased and Vehbi Koç began trading in construction materials, building supplies and hardware. Following establishment of branch offices in Istanbul and Eskişehir in 1938, Koç gathered its enterprises under the company Koç Ticaret A.Ş.

Having convinced General Electric, he signed an agreement in 1948 to build a light bulb factory, which opened in 1952. Koç took important steps in industry in the 1950s and manufactured automobiles, household appliances, radiators, electronic devices, textiles and matches. Factories like Bozkurt Mensucat, Arçelik (1955), Demir Dokum (1954), Turkay, Aygaz (1962), Gazal, Turk Elektrik Endustrisi and a joint cable factory with Siemens were founded. In addition tractor production started under the Fiat license. The first initiative by Koç in the automotive sector turned eventually to a full-scale industry. Following an agreement with Ford Motor Company in 1959 to assemble trucks, today’s prominent automotive company Otosan came to life. Following the production of the first domestic mass-production car Anadol in 1966 and in line with improving economic activities in Turkey, Vehbi Koç collaborated with the Italian company FIAT to establish Tofaş in 1968 resulting in the production of the second domestic car Murat in 1971. Today's giant automotive industry and the supporting industries all stemmed from the tiny spark initiated by Vehbi Koç.

Vehbi Koç collected all of the companies bearing his name under the same roof in 1963 and founded Koç Holding A.Ş. achieving a major step in the economic life of Turkey. The new companies strengthened the Holding. The holdings era in Turkey started with this step by Vehbi Koç and a great number of businessmen followed him. The group also has international partnerships with well-known companies such as Fiat, Ford Motor Co., Yamaha and Allianz.

In his 76-year career, he created an immense organization with more than 108 companies in the Koç Group, all of which are specialized in different sectors such as food, retailing, finance, energy, automotives, tourism and technology. The Koç Group has 80,000 employees, ca.$40 billion turnover, $900 million of exports and $500–600 million of investment annually. Today, it is one of the world's 200 largest enterprises.

Vehbi Koç retired in 1984 to devote more time to social activities. His son Rahmi Koç took over the leadership of the Koç Group companies.

Social activities

Vehbi Koç, after handing over his work in the Holding to professional executives, began to deal with social and charitable foundation services. He founded an Eye Bank at the Faculty of Medicine of Ankara University, a Cardiology Institute at the Faculty of Medicine of Istanbul University, the Turkish Education Foundation (Türk Eğitim Vakfı), and the Vehbi Koç Student Dorm at ODTÜ (METU) .

He also established the Vehbi Koç Foundation on January 17, 1969 to promote activities in the field of education, health and culture. Vehbi Koç donated the Atatürk Library in Taksim, Istanbul to the Municipality of Istanbul in 1976 and in 1980 opened Turkey’s first private museum, the Sadberk Hanim Museum in memory of his deceased wife Sadberk Koç.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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