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Board Members

Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM - Chairman

Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM is the President and CEO of YILDIRIM Group of Companies. He was born in Sivas, Türkiye in 1960. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University in 1983. In 1989, he received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University. He began his career as a design and project engineer at Paceco Corporation, working for five years at the container crane manufacturing firm.

Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM joined the management board of the family-owned company in 1993. The same year, he conducted the first international achievement of the company, directly importing coal from Russia. Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM led the group in new initiatives in the 2000s, and in 2008, the Group made its first international acquisition in Sweden.

Today, YILDIRIM Group is a global player in metals and mining, port management, coal and coke, fertilizers and chemicals, energy, and maritime industry. Lloyd’s List ranks Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM among the top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry, and among top 10 most powerful people in container terminals industry. Consulting company Drewry lists him as one of the top 20 global leaders in port operations. Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM is also among the top three leaders of the global chromium industry.

In addition to his responsibilities at YILDIRIM Group, he is a Board Member of CMA CGM Group, and YILDIRIM Group owns 24% of its shares. He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees at Garip & Zeycan YILDIRIM Foundation, and the Chairman of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Türkiye-Colombia Business Council.

Robert Yüksel YILDIRIM has two children.

Mehmet YILDIRIM - Vice Chairman / In the memory of (1963 - 2017)

Mehmet Yildirim was born in Sivas, Türkiye in 1963. He graduated from high school in Samsun, Türkiye. After his education, he started his business ventures in construction materials and coal trading.

Mehmet Yildirim is the Executive Vice President of YILDIRIM Group of Companies. In addition to his duties at management board, he is also acting as the COO of the Group. He is responsible from operational structuring, efficiency and optimization at YILDIRIM Group Companies.

Mehmet Yildirim is married and has two children.

Ali Rıza YILDIRIM - Vice Chairman

Ali Rıza YILDIRIM, the pioneer of the core initiatives that constitute the industrial and commercial activities of YILDIRIM Group, started his professional career in 1970. He continues his duty as the Chairman of YILDIRIM Group, with 55 years of experience in the business world.


Born on May 29, 1957 in Sivas, Türkiye, Ali Rıza YILDIRIM was introduced to business at an early age through his father Garip YILDIRIM’s construction materials company, Garip YILDIRIM & Sons Co., which was established in Samsun in 1963. Ali Rıza YILDIRIM focused on sales and marketing in the first phases of his career. He was also responsible for the growth and diversification of the company’s activities as the eldest son of the YILDIRIM family.


He established his first foreign trade relations in 1988 after carefully observing the opportunities created by the economic reforms in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. He started to cooperate with Russian coal mine operators, and started the first imported coal trade in Türkiye, especially from the Siberia.


Believing that the activities of the family business should not be limited in Samsun, he relocated parts of the company to Istanbul in 1995. He entered the maritime sector in 2000, leading the rapid development of import and export activities and the growth of the company.


He led the acquisition of Gemlik Gübre in Bursa, Eti Krom in Elazığ, and Sümerbank Beykoz Kundura Leather Factory in Istanbul during the early 2000s privatization era in Türkiye. In addition to these 3 successfully completed acquisitions, he also participated in the tenders of 72 different companies from various sectors organized by the Privatization Administration of Türkiye. He withdrew from the tenders after reviewing the acquisitions as not suitable for YILDIRIM’s financial and strategic targets.


As the Chairman of the Board, he led YILDIRIM Group’s entry into commodities production industry with Gemlik Gübre and Eti Krom. During the period when these companies joined the Group, he played an active role in modernizing the plants, developing the assets, and increasing the market shares of the companies in their respective sectors. He increased the profitability and efficiency of Gemlik Gübre and Eti Krom, and elevated them as tax champions in Bursa and Elazığ provinces.


After the establishment of the holding structure, Ali Rıza YILDIRIM led the company’s growth in the fertilizer industry, especially by participating in the daily activities of Gemlik Gübre, and made the company a key player in the international market. Ali Rıza YILDIRIM took the first steps to transform YILFERT Holding, the Group’s fertilizer and chemical subsidiary, into an international brand by focusing on global acquisitions and business development.


Closely involved in the financial management and market operations of YILDIRIM Group, Ali Rıza YILDIRIM has ensured the integration of industrial facilities in many European countries into the Group and is currently continuing his entrepreneurial activities.


Ali Rıza YILDIRIM is married with two children and lives in Beykoz, Istanbul. His wife, Serpil YILDIRIM is the General Director of Beykoz Kundura. His son Tarık YILDIRIM, who is based in Amsterdam, involves in start-ups as a seed investor and financial mentor in the fields of technology, education and genomics. Tarık YILDIRIM also conducts interdisciplinary researches in science and philosophy. His daughter, S. Buse YILDIRIM is involved in cultural heritage and art & culture industry as an entrepreneur. She is the Managing Artistic Director of Beykoz Kundura as a curator and documentary filmmaker.

Mustafa Kemal ERKANAT - Board Member- In the memory of (1962 - 2020)

Mustafa Erkanat was born in Samsun in 1962. He was awarded a bachelor’s degree from Istanbul Technical University on Aerospace Engineering in 1983.

He moved to the United States in 1984, where he worked for Foodmaker Inc. at various managerial positions until 2005.

He joined YILDIRIM Group of Companies in 2005 as the general coordinator. He is currently the Chief Administrative Officer of YILDIRIM Group of Companies.

He is married and has two children.

Ozer OZ - Board Member

Ozer Oz was born in Istanbul, Türkiye in 1972. He received his bachelor’s degree in management engineering from Istanbul Technical University in 1992. In 1995, he was awarded a master’s degree in finance from Golden Gate University, San Francisco.

Over the course of his professional career, Mr. Oz performed the role of general manager of ISBAS, the first privately owned free zone in Istanbul, Turkey; and was a shareholder and the general manager of KOSBAS in Kocaeli, Türkiye, the only free zone where shipyards were allowed to operate.

Mr. Oz joined YILDIRIM GROUP in 2003 as General Coordinator of Gemlik Gubre, YILDIRIM’s subsidiary for fertilizer production. During the following years, he was appointed as Vice President of YILDIRIM GROUP responsible for business development and has been acting as board member in various YILDIRIM companies. Mr. Oz currently occupies the position of the Chief Operating Officer in the YILDIRIM GROUP.

Ozer Oz is married and has two children.

Dr. Evren OZTURK - Board Member

He was born in 1981 in Istanbul, Türkiye. Dr. Evren Ozturk is an alumnus of Marmara University’s Ph.D. program in finance.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he was awarded three master’s degrees from Marmara University, Yildiz Technical University and Gebze Institute of Technology in Financial Markets and Investment Management, Economics, and Strategy Science. He completed his doctoral studies in Finance and Accounting at Marmara University to receive his Ph.D.

Evren Ozturk joined Yildirim Group in 2005. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer and the Board Member of Yildirim Group, He undertook various responsibilities that ensured continuous growth and strong financial structuring for the Group, accumulating more than 25 acquisitions and mergers projects in a global scope. Here are some key points regarding his position in Yildirim;

•           Oversight of Yildirim Holding’s financial relationships and obligations – at the group and an entity level

  • Lead the Group’s capabilities across finance, capital raising, budgeting and expense management
  • Instrumental in establishing strong corporate governance frameworks and a disciplined investment approach

•           Strategic decision maker in the qualifying/quantifying and awarding of advisory mandates to the international banking community 

•           Managing Director of both Yildirim Asset Management & Yildirim Overseas Investments

  • Ownership & oversight of investment strategies (both Private Equity and M&A) and shareholder relations
  • Fundamental to the success and diversification of Yildirim Holding’s portfolio interests, both in Türkiye and specifically internationally

•           At the forefront of delivering exponential growth in EBITDA, revenues and investment realisation

•           Critical to the success in securing significant and/or full ownership of highly strategic assets;

  • Across multiple industries and positioning Yildirim as a market leader in a number of industry sectors

Dr. Ozturk is married with two children.

Prof. Dr. Ercument ERDEM

Ercüment Erdem is the Founder and Senior Partner of Erdem & Erdem Law Office. He has more than 30 year experience in international commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, corporate finance and arbitration.  He has extensive experience in cross-border projects concerning project finance, privatization, mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions in wide geography including Europe, Asia and CIS countries.

Prof. Dr. Erdem is a member of Istanbul Bar Association, the vice president of ICC Commercial Law and Practice Commission, and a member of the ICC Court of Arbitration, ICC Institute Council, ICC Incoterms Expert Group, and ICC Turkish National Committee Arbitration Council as well as a member of several ICC task forces. He is a member of the Association Suisse de l’Arbitrage (ASA), International Bar Association (IBA), Association Henri Capitant des amis de la culture juridique française, and the Research Institute of Banking and Commercial Law. He is also the president of the Mergers and Acquisitions Commission of the Competition Association Advisory Board.

He has a highly strong academic background. He is E. Professor lectured in leading universities such as Galatasaray University in Turkey and Fribourg University in Switzerland. He has 30 years of experience as a scholar and his research contains competition and antitrust, international commercial law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate law etc. He still gives lectures at Galatasaray University and Fribourg University.

He has authored books on international trade law, competition law, mergers and acquisitions, commercial enterprise law, CIF sales, bonds, contracts etc. In addition he has authored numerous articles in national or international publications related to commercial law, competition and antitrust, contracts, arbitration, complex business litigation issues, dispute resolution etc.