10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bulent Eczacibasi

Bulent Eczacibasi is a seasoned businessman, renowned philanthropist, and esteemed cultural enthusiast hailing from Turkey. As the chairman of Eczacibasi Holding, his influence extends across sectors such as pharma, home care products, and building materials. This article unveils lesser-known aspects of his persona, his passions, and his pursuits.

1. An Heir to a Powerful Business Empire

Bulent Eczacibasi was born into a family that built an industrial empire in Turkey. The Eczacibasi group was established by his father, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacibasi, in 1942. As the heir to this vast business network, Bulent was groomed from a young age to continue his family’s legacy.

Despite of being an heir to the Eczacibasi empire, Bulent is known for his humility and innovative vision. He has successfully expanded and diversified the business while maintaining the ethical standards the group is known for.

2. An Education in Two Continents

Bulent is a product of an international education. He completed his primary and secondary education in Istanbul, Turkey. He then moved to the United States for further studies.

He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Administrative Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1979, and later earned an MBA from Columbia University, New York in 1981. This bi-cultural educational experience has greatly shaped his business acumen and understanding of global affairs.

3. A Strong Adherent of Corporate Social Responsibility

It’s a lesser-known fact that Bulent is a strong advocate of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He believes in giving back to the community and uplifting those in need. Under his leadership, Eczacibasi Holding innovated CSR practices in Turkey.

Bulent also serves as the Chairman of the Eczacibasi Foundation, which focuses on projects to improve education, culture, and arts in Turkey. The organization has a specific focus on scientific research and social development.

4. A Champion of Turkish Culture and Contemporary Arts

Bulent’s passion for culture and the arts is evident in his work. He is the Chairperson of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV), an institution that has shaped Turkey’s culture and arts scene for over 40 years.

Meanwhile, his leadership at IKSV has seen the organization arrange major cultural events including the Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul Film Festival, and Istanbul Music Festival. These prestigious events have significantly contributed to promoting Turkish culture and arts internationally.

5. A Well-Recognized Global Business Leader

Throughout his career, Bulent has earned numerous accolades and recognitions. For instance, he was honored with the “Businessman of the Year” award by Istanbul Chamber of Commerce in 2004. Bulent also received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit, in 2018.

In 2019, he was named among the “100 Most Influential People in Global Healthcare” by Time Magazine. This goes to show his significant impact not just in Turkey, but on the global stage as well.

6. His Stint in Athletics

In his younger years, Bulent was an avid sports enthusiast. In fact, he was a member of the basketball team during his high school and college years.

His love for sports continues to this day, with the Eczacıbaşı sports club, established as the first Turkish sports club by women, for women, being a part of his brainchild. The club competes nationally and internationally, winning numerous titles over the years.

7. A Passion for Photography

Bulent has a deep-seated passion for photography. He has leveraged this interest to support aspiring photographers in Turkey through various initiatives.

The Istanbul Modern Photography Gallery, which was renamed as the Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Photography Gallery in 2011, was established under his patronage. The Gallery is dedicated to promoting photography as an art form, and to showcasing established and emerging photographers from Turkey and across the globe.

8. His Efforts in Sustainability

Bulent has been a prominent voice in sustainability and environmental consciousness in Turkey and beyond. He firmly believes that businesses have a crucial role in driving the shift towards sustainable growth, taking climate action, and creating a circular economy.

Under his leadership, Eczacıbaşı Holding has been a part of various global initiatives and alliances working towards sustainability. This includes the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

9. His Family

Despite his business commitments, Bulent is a devoted family man. He is married to Oya Eczacıbaşı, a well-known figure in the Turkish arts and culture scene.

The couple has two children together, Can Eczacıbaşı and Melis Eczacıbaşı. Can has followed in his father’s footsteps, holding an important executive role in the family business, while Melis is involved in social initiatives and arts.

10. His Vision of Digital Transformation

Lastly, Bulent’s vision for the future of Eczacıbaşı Holding is largely centered on digital transformation. He staunchly believes that digital technologies are revolutionizing the way businesses operate.

Under his leadership, the group has made significant investments to spearhead the digital transformation across its businesses. He is keen on exploring new technologies like AI, IoT, and Big Data, and how these can streamline operations and create new ventures.

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