Chapter Zero Türkiye, launched in 2023 as part of the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI), aims to facilitate the effective allocation of finance towards climate change and promote the widespread adoption of climate risk management in investment and decision-making processes. Its objective is to ensure a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.
The core mission of the initiative is to promote the implementation of the World Economic Forum’s Principles for Effective Climate Governance in line with CGI Charter, while equipping non-executive directors with skills and knowledge to make climate change a boardroom priority.
The Climate Governance Initiative was launched in 2019 at the World Economic Forum. It responds directly to the need of providing management and supervisory bodies of companies with an understanding of the impact of climate change on business and the impact of business on climate change, to enable making the best possible decisions to minimize the risk of climate change.
The purpose of the Climate Governance Initiative is to build a community of board directors and equip them to lead crucial boardroom discussions on the impacts of climate change. Members will be able to join a network of experts in governance and climate transition, made available to them through local initiatives in Türkiye and globally within an international network of other “chapters”.
To help them do this, our programmes are designed so our members can engage with the topics and areas that are relevant to them. This includes events, workshops, toolkits and other content designed for those who are just starting to engage with climate change in their boardroom, as well as more in-depth activities for those who are more experienced. Through these programmes we offer learning opportunities, access to expertise, tailored knowledge and connections with peers.
Cenk Alper received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University in 1991. He has a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the same university as well as an MBA from Sabancı University.
Mr. Alper joined the Sabancı Group in 1996 at Beksa, later taking on managing positions in Belgium and the US at Bekaert between 2002 and 2007. In 2007, Mr. Alper returned to Türkiye as the Global Technology Director at Kordsa and completed the establishment of its R&D center and Innovation division. After serving as COO, he led Kordsa’s transformation and secondary public offering as CEO between 2013 and 2017. In 2017, he took on a new role as Sabancı Holding Industry Group President. As of August 2019, Cenk Alper is the CEO and Board Member of Sabancı Holding. In recent years, he has been focusing on sustainable growth, entrepreneurship and technology management.
He is a member of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the CNBC ESG Council, WORLD. MINDS and General Assembly of 30% Club Türkiye Campaign.
Melsa Ararat, PhD
Melsa Ararat is an engaged scholar with a corporate background. Prior to joining Sabancı University as a Professor of Strategic Management she has held senior management and board positions in Europe and Asia Pacific. As an advocate of corporate governance reforms in emerging economies she worked with the World Bank Group between 2007 and 2018 and coordinated IFC’s CG Emerging Markets Research Network. Dr. Ararat also served as a governor of International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) between 2015 and 2021. She contributed to the authorship of Turkey’s Corporate Governance Principles and conceptualization of BIST Sustainability Index and GB BBVA Climate Index.
She served on the Board of the UN Global Compact Turkey Network until 2023 and she is currently serving on the Advisory Board of Human Development Foundation and chairing 30% Club Turkey Campaign. She is the founder of Sabanci University Corporate Governance Forum, CDP Turkey Climate Change and Water Programs, Business Against Domestic Violence (BADV) Project, Independent Women Directors (IWD) Platform and 30% Club Turkey Campaign. Dr. Ararat works closely with EBRD since 2019 as an advisor, with a focus on gender diversity and equality programs.
Melsa holds a PhD in Business Strategy and MSc and BSc in Chemical Engineering from Middle East Technical University. Her research and publications are focused on corporate boards and the relationship between governance and sustainability. She resides in the Netherlands.
Starting her career at Price Waterhouse (PW) after graduating from Istanbul University, Faculty of Business Administration, Cansen Başaran-Symes held numerous positions at various levels at the company’s Copenhagen, London, and Istanbul offices. Appointed as the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Turkey leader and senior partner in charge of country operations immediately after the Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand merger, she subsequently held her position as a member of the board of directors of PwC Central and Eastern Europe Region and board member in PwC Eurofirm, respectively.
Having spent over 30 years in professional services, Başaran-Symes has provided assurance and advisory services to a wide range of clients in her portfolio, including multinational companies, financial institutions, Turkey’s largest firms and holding companies as well as state-owned institutions and enterprises. In addition, she has worked on major privatisations and public offering projects in Turkey.
Cansen Başaran-Symes is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors of Allianz Sigorta A.Ş and Allianz Hayat ve Emeklilik A.Ş. and a member of International Advisory Board of Allianz SE. Alongside her duties in Allianz, Başaran-Symes served as an independent member of the board of directors at Nokia Turkey in 2014-2020, and as senior advisor at McKinsey & Company in 2018-2020. Since 2021, she is the limited equity partner and advisory board member at ScaleX Ventures.
Cansen Başaran-Symes is an active participant in the activities of many NGO’s. In 2015 and 2016, she served as the President of Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD). She is currently a Member of Council of Presidents of TUSIAD, Co-President of TÜSİAD/Berlin Bosphorus Initiative (BBI), Founder Member and Member of Board of Directors of Endeavor Turkey, Senior Advisory Board Member of BCCT and a Member of the Harvard Business School MENA and Central Asia Advisory Board.
Throughout her life, Başaran-Symes has been found worthy of many honors and prizes by the business society. She was named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” at the 2000 World Economic Forum in Davos. She was ranked several times among the “Most Powerful 50 Businesswomen” by Fortune Magazine, she also took part in prestigious lists such as “Most Modern and Successful Turkish Women” by the LIONS Association, “30 Top Businesswomen that Drive the Business World” by Business Life Magazine, “Business People of the Year”, and “Leaders of the Civil Society” by Economist Magazine.
Ata Can Bertay
Ata Can Bertay is currently an assistant professor at Sabanci Business School and also serves as the director of the Sabanci University Corporate Governance Forum. Prior to this, he held the position of Research Economist at the World Bank’s Development Economics Research Group, where he led the Global Financial Development Report, a prestigious report on financial development. His areas of expertise include banking, corporate governance, financial economics, and macrofinance.
He received his PhD and MSc degrees in Economics from Tilburg University, the Netherlands, and his B.A. again in Economics from Bogazici University, Turkey. From 2010 to 2012, he worked at the World Bank as a Consultant in DECRG. In Fall 2013, he visited NYU Stern’s Department of Finance as a Visiting Scholar.
Born in Ankara in 1968, Murat Bilgiç graduated from the Department of International Relations of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences of Middle East Technical University in 1990 and then received a master’s degree in Money-Banking Finance from the University of Birmingham. Having completed the Management Program at Manchester Business School and Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, Murat Bilgiç started his career as Assistant Inspector at the Board of Inspectors of İşbank in 1990. Bilgiç was appointed Vice Manager in the Corporate Loans Allocation Department in 1999, Regional Manager in the same department in 2002, Head of the Department in 2008, and was appointed as Executive Vice President of İşbank on March 25, 2016. Mr. Bilgiç has been serving as TSKB’s CEO and Board Member since April 7, 2022. Besides, Mr. Bilgiç serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Yatırım Finansman Menkul Değerler A.Ş.
Hakan Bulgurlu completed his bachelor’s degree at the School of Economics and the Mechanical Engineering at Texas University and earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Having started his professional career at Koç Holding in 1994, Bulgurlu worked in different positions in the Asia-Pacific region and led the Holding’s Asia-Pacific foreign trade and supply operations for 13 years in Hong Kong. From 2007 to 2010, he acted as the General Manager of Arçelik-LG, which has the largest air conditioner manufacturing facility in Europe and Middle East. Then, he joined Arçelik in 2010 and has been acting as the CEO of Arçelik since 2015. Aside from being the President of the Executive Board of APPLiA, the Brussels-based association representing European home appliance manufacturers, Bulgurlu is also one of the members of Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders within the World Economic Forum (WEF). As a member of the Executive Board of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Bulgurlu is among the founding members of Amstel Dialogue, which was established with the aim of accelerating the innovation process in Europe.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Sule Topcu Kilic is the Deputy Head, Turkey at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). She has been with EBRD since 2014 and reports directly to the Managing Director, assisting him to deliver the country strategy with a specific focus on infrastructure, energy and gas sectors and deputize him for the Bank’s operations (administration and budgeting) and lead the policy initiatives in Turkey for infrastructure, energy and natural resources sectors.
Sule Kilic has over 28 years of experience working on a variety of projects in project finance, financial advisory, M&A, private equity, bank acquisition.
During the last 18 years of her career, she took an active leading role in the development of BOT and PPP models in Turkish Transportation and Social Infrastructure Projects in Turkey, by taking a leading role in the preparation of legal framework and introduction of financing related regulations as well as the structuring and negotiations of the template Project Agreements with the relevant governmental authorities (including Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and Turkish Treasury). She also took an active role in the coordination of various stakeholders’ efforts to develop the project financing models to achieve the successful finalization of the projects in Turkish PPP Healthcare Programme as well as Transportation BOT programme.
Before joining the EBRD, Sule has spent six and half years at Unicredit Group, most recently as Managing Director leading project finance activities for the Investment Banking Platform in Turkey.
Prior to Unicredit, Sule held an array of Directorships and Vice Presidencies in project and structured finance, private equity in organisations such as Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank (Istanbul), Garanti Bank (Istanbul), Emporiki Private Equity (Athens & Istanbul), CitiBank (Istanbul) and Privatisation Administration (Ankara).
Sule is a Turkish national with a PhD in Finance from Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University, a Master’s (MBA and MSc) degree from Manchester School of Management (UMIST) (with distinction degree) and BSc in Industrial Engineering from Istanbul Technical University (ITU).
Sense Bank, Tekfen Holding
Şevki Acuner is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sense Bank, which is 100% owned by the Ukrainian state, and an Independent Board Member of Tekfen Holding, which is listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.
Mr. Acuner has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NPC UKRENERGO, the Ukrainian Electricity Transmission Company, Ukrzaliznytsia, the Ukrainian Railways Company, which is 100% owned by the state in Ukraine until the end of 2021, and in 2019 he served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Oschadbank, the State Bank of Ukraine.
Mr. Acuner also served as EBRD Country Director in Ukraine and prior to that as Acting EBRD Turkey Director in Istanbul. During his 22-year tenure at the EBRD, he held senior management positions in the Risk Management and Agriculture/Food Sector teams.
Prior to joining the EBRD, Şevki Acuner held various positions at the Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada in various countries in Canada and Europe.
Şevki Acuner is a graduate of Boğaziçi University, Faculty of Business Administration and holds a Master’s degree from Stockholm University and an MBA from Concordia University in Canada.
Murat Çağrı Süzer
Murat Çağrı Süzer started his career at Danone in 2006 and worked as sales and commercial marketing manager, respectively. In 2008, he became a consultant at McKinsey, a global consulting firm. He continued to work as Senior Consultant and Project Manager between 2008-2013. During these years, he undertook the management of important projects in the finance sector in Turkey and abroad in many areas such as growth, profitability, transformation, strategy, risk management, human resources, M&A.
In May 2013, Murat Çağrı Süzer started to work as Marketing Coordinator at Garanti BBVA Payment Systems and was appointed as Assistant General Manager responsible for Digital Channels and Commercial Cards at Garanti BBVA Payment Systems in 2015. In May 2013, Murat Çağrı Süzer started to work as Marketing Coordinator at Garanti BBVA Payment Systems and was appointed as Assistant General Manager responsible for Digital Channels and Commercial Cards at Garanti BBVA Payment Systems in 2015.
As of May 2020, Süzer returned to Turkey and appointed the position of General Manager of Garanti BBVA Payment Systems Inc. In June 2022, in addition to his current responsibilities, he became responsible for Garanti BBVA’s Consumer Finance, Business Partnerships and Foreign and Financial Technology Subsidiaries. In September 2023, in addition to his existing responsibilities, he appointed the roles of Garanti BBVA Customer Solutions and Digital Banking. Mr. Süzer currently serves as Garanti BBVA Payment Systems General Manager and Garanti BBVA Financial Technologies, Customer Solutions and Digital Banking Executive Vice President.
Murat Çağrı Süzer’s duties at the Board of Directors level continue at Garanti BBVA Ödeme Sistemleri A.Ş., Garanti BBVA Emeklilik A.Ş., Garanti BBVA Dijital Varlıklar A.Ş. and Garanti Bank Romania, respectively. Mr. Süzer is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Teachers Academy Foundation (ÖRAV) and SALT, and continues to serve on the Mastercard Eastern Europe Advisory Board, American Express Global Advisory Board and Mastercard Global Blockchain Advisory Board. Mr. Süzer also served on the Board of Directors of the Retail Bankers Association of America (CBA) between 2018 and 2020.
Murat Çağrı Süzer graduated from Middle East Technical University, Department of Industrial Engineering and received his MBA degree from INSEAD in France and Singapore, and has 17 years of experience in banking and business administration.
Cevdet Alemdar received his BS degree from Industrial Engineering department of Bogazici University in 1992 and completed his MBA degree in Sabanci University in 2000.
He joined the group in 1993 and took various leadership positions, respectively in Beksa, Sakosa, Kordsa, Temsa Is Makinalari and Brisa. After administering wire investments serving to manufacturing and construction industries in Turkey, he has taken on general manager roles in Brazil, Thailand and China, and lead marketing and sales functions in technical textiles for Kordsa in South America and Asia Pacific regions.
Returning to Turkey, he has steered Kordsa’s R&D and innovation processes as VP of Technology and Market Development. Later, he guided Temsa Is Makinalari to transform from a construction equipment company to a heavy machine and truck provider in Turkey. Next, as CEO he lead Brisa, a joint venture of Bridgestone ve Sabancı Holding, an important tire manufacturing venture in the world and leader of Turkey’s tire and mobility solutions. From April 2020 onwards, he is Sabancı Holding Industrials SBU President. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Kordsa, Brisa, Temsa Skoda Transportation and Temsa Motorlu Araclar, member of the board of Teknosa.
He is SUNUM’s (Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center) Chairman of the Board, TUSIAD’s board member, DEİK / Turkey – USA Business Council (TAİK) board member and Bogazici University alumni.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Ksenia joined the EBRD in 2011 and since has been working on implementation of FI-intermediated sustainable energy and green economy financing facilities with partner banks, MFIs and leasing companies in Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and coordinating Green Economy Financing Facilities (GEFF) activities in all EBRD countries of operations. Ksenia has substantially contributed to development and rollout of strategic tools including the Green Technology Selector. She has led on greening of financial products, such as green leasing, green trade finance, green equity, and introduced innovative approaches including certification-based financing and climate governance action planning. Since 2019, Ksenia has been working with partner financial institutions to introduce corporate climate governance and climate risk management approaches to ensure step-by-step alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. In 2020 Ksenia initiated and led the EBRD’s engagement with the global Climate Governance Initiative (CGI) and establishment of climate chapters in the EBRD region. Currently, Ksenia serves on the Advisory Board of the Chapter Zero Ukraine and Caucasus.
Prior to joining the EBRD, Ksenia has worked for a German consultancy GFA and implemented environmental policy, climate investment and energy efficiency projects on behalf of different institutions including EU, the World Bank, the EBRD, UNDP, as well as for private power utilities (E.ON, Endesa, RWE, Gazprom). During her years with GFA Ksenia has been also actively involved in TurSEFF, KazSEFF and RuSEFF programmes of the EBRD.
Women Entrepreneurs Association of Türkiye, Yuvam Dünya
Kıvılcım Pınar Kocabıyık started her career in 2007 as a Management Trainee at BMW Turkey. She joined Borusan Group and held different positions until 2013 including Sales, Marketing and Procurement. Between the years 2013-2019, she served as a General Manager at 38-30 Farm, which they established as a farm focusing on sustainable agriculture and open-air art valley. She is a co-founder and sustainability lead of AkkoMarka Group, one of the pioneering green restaurant chains in Turkey, operating in 9 countries.
Kocabiyik is an impact investor and mentor to entrepreneurs of all ages. She also serves as an Investment Committee Member at TechOne Venture Capital.
She is also supporter of several NGOs; Founder and Chair of Yuvam Dünya Association; Board Member at Kagider ; Member at Women on Board Association and Endeavor. She is Board Member at Turquoise Coast Environment Fund; Advisory Board Member at Circles of Impact Foundation. She is a graduate of YGA.
Kocabıyık holds degrees in Statistics from Yıldız Technical University and Geography from Istanbul University. She has completed programs in Sustainability at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Climate Change Specialization at Yale University and Chief Sustainability Officer at MIT. She is currently pursuing an Executive MBA at Sorbonne University.
He completed his undergraduate education at Istanbul Technical University Mechanical Engineering Department in 1990 and his postgraduate education at Istanbul Technical University Institute of Science Mechanical Engineering Department in 1993.
He started his career at Arçelik A.Ş. Starting as a Research Engineer in the R&D Department, Özkadı worked as an Engineer (1992 – 1998), Specialist (1998 – 2004) and Manager (2004 – 2010) until 2010. Between 2010 and 2015, he served as Energy and Environment Manager and between 2015 and 2020, he worked as Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Director. While he was still in office, he served as the President of the Environmental Committee of Koç Group between 2014 and 2016. Özkadı was appointed as Senior Director of Quality, Sustainability, and Corporate Affairs in March 2020. As of November 2023, he has been appointed as Deputy General Manager responsible for Sustainability, Quality, and Customer Services.
At the same time, he serves as TUSIAD Environment and Climate Change Working Group Chairman, TURKTRADE (Foreign Trade Association of Turkey) Board Member, TÜRKBESD (White Goods Manufacturers’ Association of Turkey) Board Member and the European Home Appliances Manufacturers Association (APPLiA) Council member.
Board Directors Association Türkiye
Mehmet Sami is the Founding Partner of Pretium Corporate Advisory in Istanbul, Turkey. Mr. Sami has more than 34 years of experience in corporate finance, private equity advisory (including raising the first fund for Turkey) and capital markets. Within 34 years, worked in Investment Banks, a Brokerage Firm, Big 4 Corporate Finance Division and his own Boutique Consulting firm, to establish international – local client base and presence (New York, Dubai & Tokyo Rep Offices), while undertaken various Turkish privatization, IPOs, cross-border M&A and large international joint ventures in Turkey.
After starting at Finansbank and later at Euroturk Bank (JV of ABN Amro, Indosuez, Generale Bank) initiated and founded the Investment Banking, Research and Institutional Cash Equity Trading divisions of Ata Invest, which became one of the largest independent firms in Turkey. After nearly 19 years at Ata Invest, he became the Lead M&A and Debt Advisory Partner in 2012 and served on the Deloitte Global M&A Executive Council. Since 2015, under his own firm, has been consulting foreign banks and multinationals on portfolio review & monitoring services, macro-micro risks and possible impacts, while consulting on corporate finance alternatives.
As an Independent Board Member, restructured and set corporate governance standards in Turkish firms (both listed and private). Besides serving on the Board of Turkish Corporate Governance Association, has become the Founding Member of Board Directors Association of Turkey (BDA) – which is a member of Global Network of Director Institutes (GNDI) and later became BDA Chairman in 2020. Mehmet Sami’s recent Non-Executive Director roles include; Enerjisa Enerji (Sabanci Holding/E.ON JV), Akcansa Cement (Sabanci Holding/Heidelberg Cement JV), Kordsa Global and Türk Traktör (Koç Holding/CNH Industrial JV) and served as the Chairman of some of their Corporate Governance, Audit and Early Risk Detection Committees.
Başak Vardar, who has been serving as the CEO of Deloitte Turkey since June 2020, is also a member of the Deloitte DCE Executive Committee. She has specialized in the field of corporate finance throughout her career and was the leader of Deloitte Turkey Financial Advisory department prior to her current position. Vardar, who started her career in the field of audit, worked in various managerial roles at Andersen and EY for 11 years before joining Deloitte Turkey in 2007 as the financial advisory partner for mergers and acquisitions. She managed sales, acquisitions, mergers, privatization, restructuring and valuation projects for many large-scale investors and family businesses operating in different sectors, primarily consumer products, energy, manufacturing and services. A member of TÜSİAD and YASED, Vardar is a graduate of Bilkent University Faculty of Business Administration.