New figure to take helm of critical industrialist group
Yılmaz will be the sole candidate to replace current TÜSİAD chief Boyner. DAILY NEWS photoA new figure will soon take the helm at Turkey’s leading business organization, which has witnessed an ongoing verbal spat between its current president and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) said in a written statement Oct. 12 that Muharrem Yılmaz, who is currently the deputy head of the organization, will be the sole candidate to replace Chair Ümit Boyner in January.
“TÜSİAD’s new board of directors will be voted on at the general assembly on Jan. 17,” read the statement. “The Council of Chairmen, in accordance with TÜSİAD’S established practice, has decided to propose Muharrem Yılmaz as a candidate for the post of the president of the Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.”
Boyner’s term, which was to end at the beginning of this year, was extended for a year at the general assembly last January.
Yılmaz is the chairman of Sütaş, one of Turkey’s leading dairy producers based in the northwestern province of Bursa. He will be one of the few figures from outside Istanbul to head Turkey’s top business organization, dubbed “the bosses’ club.” He will also be the first person to have led both TÜSİAD and the Young Businessmen Association of Turkey (TÜGİAD), which he headed between 1999 and 2002.
Yılmaz was born in Bursa in 1957, graduated from Galatasaray High School and studied economics at Uludağ University. He started working for Sütaş, which was founded by Yılmaz’s father, Sadık Yılmaz, when he was a university student and took the general manager post in 1989. When Sadık Yılmaz died in 2005, Muharrem Yılmaz assumed the post of chairman of the executive board of directors at Sütaş, which is now one of the 500 largest industrial enterprises, according to the Istanbul Chamber of Industry, and the top taxpayer in Bursa province.
He will take the helm at a tough time as Erdoğan has often criticized TÜSİAD’s policies.
In the latest dispute between the prime minister and TÜSİAD, the prime minister accused the association’s member companies of not paying enough taxes, prompting Boyner to respond via Twitter, saying all TÜSİAD members paid their fair share.
When asked last May about the possibility he would head TÜSİAD, Yılmaz had declined. “Heading such an organization is a full-time job, I still have a lot I want to do for Sütaş,” he said.
He also rejected that TÜSİAD was “Istanbul capital.” “There is no longer Anatolian and Istanbul capital, there is the reality of a Turkish business world,” he said.
Yılmaz also said then that he had high hopes for the preparation of a new charter. “A charter prepared by mutual agreement is important for society. This Parliament has the chance to write a new Constitution, this opportunity should not be missed,” he said.