Women Executives Exported

Unilever, one of the world’s leading companies in fast-moving consumer goods, has been active in Turkey for more than 100 years.

Unilever, one of the world’s leading companies in fast-moving consumer goods, has been active in Turkey for more than 100 years.

Its first Turkish investment in production was the Sana margarine plant established in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district in 1952. Unilever entered the Chinese market 1980, nearly 30 years after investing in Turkey. It chose a Turkish woman executive to head a Chinese soap factory, in which it has a majority share. Reyhan Perin, its chief engineer in Turkey and a prominent Turkish woman executive, was sent to China to turn the soap factory around and make it profitable.

Many multinational corporations have been entrusting their operations in Turkey and other countries in the surrounding area to Turkish women executives for some length of time. Since the year 2000, scores of Turkish women executives have been selected to head companies of multinational corporations outside Turkey.

One example is Ümran Beba, the Turkish executive who served as president of Pepsico’s Asia Pacific Region. Pepsico is a global food and carbonated beverages producer. Mrs. Beba is the woman who was described by PepsiCo’s Global Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi as “the person who could one day become PepsiCo’s CEO.” She has frequently been on the Fortune Magazine’s Global’s list of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Women”.

The Financial Times named Mrs. Beba as one of the world’s future leaders by placing her in the list of “50 Women at the Top”. She is now Chief Human Resources and Senior Vice President at PepsiCo Asia Middle East Africa sector, where she is responsible for 30,000 employees from 50 nations serving in 90 countries.

Galya Frayman Molinas is another Turkish woman executive in the same sector, serving in high places. After graduating from the elite Bosphorus University in Istanbul in 1989, she began her career as a product manager at Unilever Turkey. She joined Coca Cola in 1996 and became its country manager executive for Turkey at the age 42. Later, she became Executive Vice President in charge of Global Strategy

There are many other Turkish women executives in top positions at multinational corporations:

Serpil Timuray began her business career immediately after completing her university education by joining Procter & Gamble in Turkey. In 2003, she began serving as general manager of DanoneSA, a joint venture between Group Danone and Sabancı Holding. In 2009, she became Vodafone Turkey’s CEO. Today, she is serving as CEO of Vodafone Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific (AMAP) region.

Ayşegül İldeniz, CEO at Silver Spring Networks. Fast Company named Ms. İldeniz as one of the world’s 100 most creative persons.

Berna Ülman is executive director, South East Europe at Visa Europe. Visa is one of the two main card payment systems in the world.

Candan Çorbacıoğlu, Europe Corporate Affairs Area Manager at Amway, the world’s number one in direct sales.

Elçin Ergün, Executive Vice President and Head of New Businesses Merck Group.

Elif Kağıtçıbaşı, Vice president and General Manager Apparel Solutions Europe Middle East Africa at Avery Dinneson, a global leader in labeling and packaging materials.

Serra Burtek Celasun, Country Manager at Sappi.

The list goes on and on.

We believe that companies and the whole society benefit when women leaders find their full potential.