Mustafa Vehbi Koç, Chairman of Koç Holding, which is Turkey’s largest company, died Thursday at the age of 56. Koc was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack, and died several hours later. He was the eldest son of billionaire Mustafa Rahmi Koc and since 2003 he had been chairman of the board of the family's Koç Holding.
The holding has interests in energy, cars, durable consumer goods and finance. It is also active in technology, retail, food, agriculture, tourism and shipyards.
Koc is expected to be succeeded by his brother and fellow board member Ali, who built the company’s information and telecommunications group and which he ran as chairman from 2000 to 2002.
Mustafa Koc was a highly respected businessman in both Turkish and international circles, a member of the prestigious Bilderberg group, and a reputed philanthropist.
Koc Holdings had revenue of $22.5 billion in 2014 and profit of about $900 million.
Mustafa Koc was also instrumental in building the company’s automotive holdings, which account for nearly half of Turkey’s production in the sector, including joint ventures with Ford, Fiat and Peugeot.
Built by Mustafa Koc’s grandfather Vehbi after WWI, starting from a small grocery store, the company now has about 90,000 employees around the world, and 12,000 dealerships. Most recently, in August, Koc Holdings subsidiary Setur was in negotiations to acquire two marinas in Greece.
"The company has a very strong institutional strength so will manage through this," commented Timothy Ash, credit strategist at investment bank Nomura in London.
"We have lost our dear friend who made great contribution on economic and social development of our country," Turkey’s top business organization, TUSIAD, said in a statement Thursday. Koc was the head of the High Advisory Council of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) between 2005 and 2010.
The funeral of the late Mustafa V. Koç, Chairman of Koç Holding, will be held on Sunday, January 24, 2016, at the Marmara University Theology Faculty Mosque in Altunizade, Üsküdar following the noon prayers (around 12:20). The funeral service will take place at the Zincirlikuyu Cemetery, Koç Family Plot. Condolences will be accepted at the Elmadağ Divan Hotel, for seven days starting Friday, January 22, 2016, between the hours 16:00–19:00.