Founder Vehbi Koç

The principle of Koç Group Companies is well-reflected in the spoken word of Vehbi Koç, as he addressed managers in 1960: “Remember! We exist as long as our state and country exists!”

Objective and Principles of Vehbi Koç

Our Customers are the focus of everything we do.
Our top priority is to create value for our customers; to respond promptly to their expectations with quality. It is our duty to take responsibility for our products for the long term.

To be “the best” is our ultimate goal.
To be the best in quality, service, supplier, and dealer relationships; to offer the best investment opportunity for our shareholders; and to sustain this reputation are our primary goals. To achieve these goals we are committed to managing our businesses to be the leader in the market.

Our most important asset is our people.
The quality of our products and services is based on the quality of our people. For the continuity of Koç Group, we follow a policy of recruiting the best people, and providing opportunities for development and advancement. To fully utilize the talents, strength, and creativity of our people, we create a work environment which nourishes increased productivity, cooperation, and solidarity.

Creation of wealth for continuous development is our key objective.
Creating value for our shareholders is a guiding principle to assure continuity of service, investments in the future and to encourage and leverage small and large savings; and allocating resources from our operations to create value and to ensure efficient utilization of all resources with a view to support the economic and social development of our people and our society are our key objectives.

Honesty, integrity, and superior business ethics are the foundations of our business conduct.
We conduct our business based on good intentions, mutual benefit, and fair treatment in all our relationships. We are committed to conforming at all times to the highest ethical and legal standards. We are a leader in serving our society and safeguarding the interests of future generations. Protection of the environment and promotion of a higher level of environmental awareness are our duty to both our country and our planet.

We aspire to strengthen the Turkish economy from which we derive our own strength.
I would like to express a guiding principle of our Group with these words: “This is my code: I live and prosper with my country. As long as democracy exists and thrives, so do we. We shall do our utmost to strengthen our economy. As our economy prospers, so will democracy and our standing in the world.”

Vehbi Koç


Vehbi Koç born in 1901 in Ankara, studied in Ankara Preparatory School. He stepped into the world of business in 1917, at the age of 16. He took over his father’s store in 1926 and registered it as “Koçzade Ahmet Vehbi” with Ankara Chamber of Commerce.

While engaging in activities of trade, he acquired the franchise of international companies such as Ford and Standard Oil. Vehbi Koç, who also undertook some contracting jobs, took the first step towards incorporation and founded Koç Ticaret A.Ş. in Istanbul in 1938.

In 1948, he played a leading role in the establishment of General Electric’s light bulb factory in Turkey, and this factory, of which he was a co-investor, commenced production in 1952. This factory has an important role in the history of the Group as the first industrial endeavour of Koç Group of Companies.

Social Initiatives

Vehbi Koç regarded charitable work as a social duty. The first social initiatives of Vehbi Koç, who many others with this principle, was with institutions from various different fields.

Vehbi Koç Student Lodgings (1946)

Ankara University Faculty of Medicine, Vehbi Koç Eye Bank (1963)

İstanbul University Faculty of Medicine, Cardiology Institute (1964)

Turkish Educational Endowment (1967)

Middle East Technical University Vehbi Koç Student Lodgings (1968)

Industrial Investments and Establishment of Koç Holding

The 1950s was a period seeing Vehbi Koç take bold steps in industry and prioritized domestic industrial investments. In this period, he worked for the domestic production of many products such as automobiles, domestic goods, radiators, electronic devices, textiles, matches and many other similar products.

Türk Traktör, the first company of the Turkish automotive industry, started its operations in 1954. In the same year, Türk Demir Döküm Factory was established. This was followed by Arçelik established in 1955 still the largest private industrial company in Turkey, and Aygaz established in 1961 along with many more industrial organizations.

In order to manage the increasing number of industrial companies from one location and create the best resources, Vehbi Koç, a believer in institutionalization, founded Turkey’s first holding in 1963: Koç Holding.

Vehbi Koç

İstanbul - 1966










First domestic light bulb production


Siemens Franchise


First Washing Machine Production


First domestic automobile: Anadol


Opening of TEV




ICC The Businessman of the Year Award


First Lecture at Koç University

New Companies and Enterprises

New companies and initiatives followed the establishment of Koç Holding marking many firsts in Turkey from the automotive industry to Tat Tomato Paste Factory, a leading force for the agriculture potential of Turkey.

1966 – The first domestic automobile of Turkey, Anadol, manufactured.

1967 – Tat Tomato Paste Factory established.

1968 – Tofaş established in partnership with Fiat.

1970 – The first capital export stock corporation of Turkey, Ram, founded.

1971 – Tofaş starts manufacturing “Murat” brand automobiles.

Social Services and Foundations

As the operations of Koç Holding were being carried out by professional managers, Vehbi Koç focused on social initiatives and foundation services.

Inspired by a trip abroad in 1967, he led efforts in the establishment of the Turkish Education Foundation in order to direct the donations of wreath to education.

In 1969, he established the Vehbi Koç Foundation to engage in the fields of education, healthcare and culture. The foundation realized many cultural, educational and healthcare-related projects.

In 1976, Atatürk Library in Taksim was donated to Istanbul Municipality.

In 1980, Sadberk Hanım Museum, the first private museum of Turkey, was opened in commemoration of his late wife, Ms. Sadberk.

In 1987 Koç School, a foreign language teaching institution, and in 1993 Koç University were opened.

Retirement Period

Stepping down from his duties in 1984, Vehbi Koç focused more on social activities.

In 1985, he established the Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation (TPAV) in order to provide a solution to the problems of the country with regard to the population and family health, and served as the Chair of this Foundation until his death.

Vehbi Koç, who was named “Businessman of the Year” in 1987 by International Chambers of Commerce, received his award from the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in person with the ceremony being held in New Delhi.

In 1994, the United Nations honoured Turkish Family Health and Planning Foundation (TPAV) and Vehbi Koç in recognition of their successful efforts. Vehbi Koç received the UN World Population Planning Award from the UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali in person on June 14, 1994.


Vehbi Koç published “Hayat Hikayem (1973) / My Life Story: The Autobiography of a Turkish Businessman (1977)” and “Hatıralarım, Görüşlerim, Öğütlerim (1987)/Recollections, Observations, Counsel (1991)” in order to share his experiences with the next generation.

Vehbi Koç defines his Constitution in “Objectives and Principles” issued for his companies as follows:

“This is my constitution: I will be here as long as my state and my country is here. We are here as long as there is democracy. We should give our all to strengthen the national economy. With a stronger economy, democracy shall be well-rooted, and our global reputation shall improve.”

Industry, commerce and international partnerships.
Associations, social services, education and culture initiatives.
95 years with every minute dedicated to creating value.

Vehbi Koç is a business person, who has become a role model and inspiration for every individual living in Turkey not only with industrialization, institutionalization and professional management but with his education initiatives, investments in the healthcare sector and social service projects.