BKD News

Capital Markets Board (CMB) New Communiqué entered into force on 3 January 2014.


CMB's new corporate governance communiqué changed the provisional target of having at least one female board member to a target of having not less than 25% female board members, and also determined a target date. The relevant provision is as follows:

4.3.9. The company has set a target rate for female board members of not less than 25% and a target date, and has established a policy that will make it possible to reach these targets. The board of directors will evaluate the progress achieved in reaching these goals on an annual basis.

Click here for the aforementioned notification.


EPWN-European Professional Women's Network 1st Meeting in Turkey


The European Professional Women's Network's first meeting was held at The Sofa Hotel, Nişantaşı. Ways to help to women in their professional careers and the essentials for survival and progress in the business world were discussed with the female executive attendees. Director of Independent Women Directors Project, Melsa Ararat, a speaker at the meeting, emphasized the importance of women on boards. Ararat stated that the board ready women database has been created and she continued that the companies will become more relevant for women's work environment with the inclusion of women at executive levels and in companies’ decision-making processes. You can find further information about the meeting here.


1st Women Directors in Turkey Conference


The first Women Directors in Turkey Conference which is in the extend of “Independent Women Directors Project” actualized by Sabancı University Corporate Governance Forum took place at Conrad Hotel on 14th of November.


The welcome speaker of the event was, Füsun Ülengin, Sabancı University Faculty of Management Dean. After the welcome speech, İmre Barmanbek who is board member at Doğan Holding and one of Turkey’s first professional women directors took place for opening speech. Barmanbek stated that ' I see this project as an important start for the voluntary quota to increase the presence of women in boards and to fill this quota. Thereafter, the next necessary step should be increasing the number of senior female executives in companies.'



"The effort continue in the good way however it is not enough."


The keynote speaker of the conference, co-founder of Global Board Ready Women and president of Global Telecom’s Women Network Bridget P. Cosgrave, gave information about women director ratios in Europe companies’. Cosgrave remarked that all the effort continue in the good way however it is not enough.

Turkey’s “Women Empowered Board” Companies  

At the conference the first “Women Empowered Board Awards” were given by Swedish Consul General Jens Odlander. Turcas Petrol, Martı Hotel Enterprises, Logo Software, Türk Tuborg and Hürriyet Journalism were deemed worthy of an award. The award was based on an index analysis designed by Sabancı University faculty members Melsa Ararat, Işın Güler and Özgecan Koçak.


“Independent Women Directors Project Report”  

The “Independent Women Directors Turkey 2013” Report, which is prepared by Sabancı University Corporate Governance Forum Director and Independent Women Directors Project Director Melsa Ararat, Sabancı University, was launched on 14th of November, at the 1st Women Directors in Turkey Conference. According to the analysis covering all BIST companies, no women board member found in the 44.5% of all BIST companies. In the comparison between 2008 and 2013 it is seen that the ratio of women board member in the BIST-100 companies was 8.63% in the 2008 and it only increased to 11.25% in the 2013. You can reach the report from here.


Women in Leadership

European Professional Women's Network(EPWN),  an online networking and leadership development platform for professional women, will be launched on 20th of November at The Sofa Hotel, Teşvikiye in Istanbul. The honoured guest of the launch will be Marijo Bos, EPWN'S President. Melsa Ararat, Director of Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey will give a speech in official launch of EPWN.

1st Women Directors in Turkey Conference

The Independent Women Directors (IWD) project, which is a part of the ‘Global Board Ready Women’ Project, aims to improve the position of women and increase the effectiveness of boards through gender diversity.

It will be our pleasure to see you at the 1st Women Directors Conference which will take place on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at Conrad Hotel.

*You may kindly find the program details and RSVP form by clicking here.

Female directors appointed to the boards of  publicly listed companies  within the scope of “Independent Women Directors" are  introduced to the press in  a meeting held on Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

BIST companies  started to nominate  female candidates to the boards within the scope of "Independent Women Directors" Project implemented  by Sabancı University Corporate Governance Forum.

On May 29, 2013, a round table meeting is held at the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul where newly appointed women directors and experienced independent woman directors participated. Newly appointed non-exceutive  board members; Sema Yurdum (Garanti Bankası Independent Board Member) and Elif Neşe Çelik (Intema Board Member) and also experinced independent women directors; Füsün Akkal Bozok (Yapı Kredi Bank ), Gülden Türktan (Martı Hotels and Martı GYO) and Botan Berker (Turcas Petrol A.Ş. and Dubai Starr Insurance) participated in the meeting.

Among the participants  was also Ömer Aras, chairman of Finansbank as a supporter of the Project. The meeting began with a speech by Swedish Consul General Torkel Stiernlöf. Torkel Stiernlöf said that gender equality is one of the fundemantal values in Sweden and the EU and  they are happy  about the results so far. He added that Swedish consulate woıld  continue to provide support to the Project. 

The round-table meeting also marked  the beginning of the second phase of the Project, which is implemented with the support of the Consulate General of Sweden and strategic partnership of Egon Zehnder International as was the firts phae. Director of the Sabancı University Corporate Governance Forum and the Independent Women's Project Melsa Ararat gave information about the second phase of the Project.

Project staff  also informed the participants about the latest changes in the boards of the BIST companies. According to the research conducted  by the IWD Project staff, among the 236 BIST companies which completed their annual general meetings as of May 22, 2013, the number of female directors has increased by %14,7 (25 new female directors) when compared to the figures in October 2012 . Number of female directors in the boards of 236 companies has increased from 170 to 195. The ratio of female members has also risen from %10,11 (2012) to %11,96 (2013). It is notable that %56 (14 member) of the new female members are independent. 

More information is available here.

The German Parliament has rejected a proposed minimum quota for female company executives.

On Thursday, politicians in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, voted to reject the opposition bill 320-277, which would have set a 40 percent quota for women on corporate boards starting in 2023. The outcome had been expected.

An opposition compromise for a gradual introduction of the quota to start with 20 percent in the year 2018 also failed to win support in the parliament on Thursday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously advocated proposals for a voluntary effort by business to increase the number of female executives, but the threat of a split in her Christian Democratic Union party forced her this week to reverse her position and commit to a boardroom quota from 2020.

The Swedish Consulate extends its support to IWD Project for a second term.  

Consulate of Sweden, grantor of Independent Women Directors Project decided to continue this grant. IWD Project with the new support of the Consulate of Sweden will be able to continue its studies on the women’s role on the Boards with a growing strength.  

Independent Women Director’s Advisory Board held its third meeting.  

The third meeting of the IWD Advisory Board took place at the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul on March 26, 2013 with the participation of the Project Team. In the meeting, participants exchanged views on expanding the IWD database by including serving woman board members and following the outcome of the ongoing general assemblies and the composition of the elected boards.

Information about IWD Project and latest news is available at: www.iwdturkey.com

United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP’s) awarded SUTEKS Textile in recognition of its human-oriented business model considering gender equality. 

SUTEKS, the first Turkish SME (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) that signed the UN WEP’s principles  took part in Leadership Award Honors List.

On March 8, International Women's Day, an event was held in New York. On the event called “Strategy for Change”, after the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's speech, Nur GER Chairman of SUTEKS and a member of Independent Women Directors Project’s Advisory Board was presented the award.

Nur Ger who is also one of the founders of TESEV, KADER and KAGİDER and still working on participation of women in employment as the head of Working Group on Gender Equality of TUSIAD, explained the “management without hierarchy” approach in SUTEKS Textile.

While mentioning about the practices they created for a work environment free from discrimination Ger said: "Companies using half of its assets cannot develop.  Innovative applications we are using for our employees to balance their work and family life returns to us as productivity and profit. It’s the responsibility of all employers and entrepreneurs to integrate these innovative applications to business plans and ensure gender equality.”

SUTEKS also won the first prize award in 2012, in the “Gender Equality in Working Life" contest by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, on the “Medium-Sized Business" category. 

On International Women's Day, GBRW searchable database is opened to corporations and executive search firms around the world.

LinkedIn will be providing access to the Global Board Ready Women searchable database in its campaign going forward to reach more women around the world.  The Group will be promoted to all of their corporate and executive search firms. 

BoardEx database will also be accessible to the members in the Global Board Ready Women searchable database starting from 8th of March. 

On March 8, women in IWD Database rang the Istanbul Stock Exchange opening bell. 

On March 8,   International Women’s Day, women rang the bell of the Istanbul Stock Exchange. 

On March 8, International Women's Day, women in the Independent Women Directors (IWD) data base and women directors rang the opening bell of the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

In the ceremony, Melsa Ararat, the director of Sabanci University Corporate Governance Forum and the Independent Women's Directors Project, said that independent women directors are ready to join the corporate boards and protect the assets entrusted to them with diligence, intelligence, and responsibility. Melsa Ararat added that: “Sabanci University Corporate Governance Forum's efforts to improve corporate governance in Turkey started 11 years ago by supporting CMBT in drafting its Corporate Governance Principles. 11 years later, we are supporting the implementation of ‘at least one woman in the board’ principle.  Currently more than 200 listed firms have no women on their boards. Our objective is to reduce this number to zero and increase the ratio of women directors from its 2012 level of %11 to %20 in 2015. Ararat said: “Turkey's dynamic and growing economy needs external financing sources. Women as independent members on the board of directors will increase the functionality of the boards which also will increase the confidence of investors and the decision making quality of the companies in Turkey. The interest of ISE companies in the IWD Project shows the confidence in women and the importance of independent directors.  Today Istanbul Stock Exchange joins NYSE and the NYSE Euronext in Amsterdam, Brussels, Lisbon and Paris stock exchanges, which open the trading floor by inviting women to ring the bell.

Cavidan Konuralp, board member of ISE said, "Today is a very significant day for all of us, we are delighted to entertain Independent Women Directors initiative in our exchange, which aims to help companies finding women directors and overcome the barriers for women to serve on boards. Konuralp added “ISE, being one of the first signatory of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, once again emphasized the importance of women’s inclusion in economic decision-making for sustainable development by inviting women in Independent Women Directors’ database to ring the opening bell. 

Due to the legislations, share of women on company boards sum up to 15.8% in Europe.

 The European Commission released the mid-term figures on the share of women on boards in publicly listed    companies. The new figures show an increase in the number of women on boards to 15.8%, up from 13.7% in January  2012. This breaks down into an average of 17% of non-executive board members (up from 15% in January 2012) and  10% of executive board members (up from 8.9%). An increase in the share of women on boards has been recorded in  all but three EU countries (Bulgaria, Poland and Ireland)

 The new figure represents a 2.2 percentage point increase as compared to October 2011 and is the highest year on  year change yet recorded. This boost follows the “Women on Boards’ proposal that the European Commission adopted on 14 November 2012 (IP/12/1205 and MEMO/12/860) to introduce a 40% objective for women on boards based on merit. It also reflects the impact of high-level EU discussions about the need for legislation regulating the number of women on boards.

For more information:

European Commission database on women and men in decision-making:

Press pack – Women on boards:

Euro barometer survey on gender equality:


Independent Women Directors Project Database has reached 280 members.

The number of independent women director candidates who were accepted to be on the IWD database has reached 280. Women who apply to the IWD Project firstly need to meet the criteria of becoming an independent woman director.

Women who meet these criteria are included on the IWD Project database as well as the GBRW (Global Board Ready Women) Project database, through which they will have an opportunity to serve on the boards of European corporations.

How is the database constructed?

Stage 1: Applications received for the IWD Project are evaluated against the criteria by Egon Zehnder and successful applications are added to the database.

Stage 2: Applicants are sent information regarding the status of their application by the Project Office.

Stage 3: Candidates in the database are classified based on their credentials and face-to-face interviews.

Stage 4: Through the SU-EZ matching methodology, appropriate candidates on the database are determined based on the demand and needs of the companies

Stage 5: After the matching, the candidates are introduced to the companies.


Women who meet the IWD Project criteria and are included in the database are provided with the GBRW LinkedIn group password by Sabancı University, through which they join the international network of women directors. The LinkedIn group is a communication platform among board ready women and women who are currently serving on boards where ideas are exchanged and experiences are shared. The list is open to professional companies. 

The second meeting of the Advisory Board of the Independent Women Directors Project took place with the participation of the new Advisory Board members.

The Second meeting of the IWD Advisory Board took place at the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul on January 17, 2013. With the participation of the new Advisory Board members, the number of the Advisory Board members increased to 19. The full list of the Advisory Board is available at www.iwdturkey.com.

Following the meeting at the Swedish Consulate, IWD Advisory Board members and the Project Group attended the reception held in honor of the Swedish Minister of Commerce Dr. Ewa Björling. During the reception, IWD Project Director Melsa Ararat also made a speech about the IWD Project and its global importance.  

Egon Zehnder organized the “Transferring Executive Skills into Boards and Effectiveness in the Board Room” meeting within scope of the Independent Women Directors Project, initiated by Sabancı University with the financial endorsement of the General Consulate of Sweden in Turkey and in strategic partnership with Egon Zehnder Turkey. The keynote speaker was Ashley Summerfield.

Ashley Summerfield delivered a talk on “Transferring Executive Skills into Boards and Effectiveness in the Board Room” during the event organized by the IWD Project partners.

Mr. Ashley Summerfield, is currently leading the Global and UK Board Practices for search, effectiveness reviews and senior level executive work for PLCs, private equity portfolio businesses and public sector bodies.

Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, Ashley co-founded Central Europe Trust with Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is a corporate finance advisory business, specializing in Central and Eastern Europe. His early career was with Booz Allen and Hamilton, the strategy consultants. Meeting took place at Swissôtel, The Bosphorus Monte Rosa meeting room on February 15, 2013.    

The European Business Schools /Women on Board initiative (Global Board Ready Women -GBRW) searchable database was announced on 12/12/12, via press releases around the world.

12/12/12.  Istanbul, Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona, Cambridge, Lille, Berlin, Rotterdam, St. Gallen, Geneva, Lausanne, Mumbai, Hong Kong

The European Business Schools/Women on Board initiative of which Sabancı University is a partner was announced on 12/12/12 at press conferences and via press releases around the world the formal establishment of the Global Board Ready Women (GBRW) searchable database to respond to global corporate governance needs for gender diversity on publicly quoted company boards in Europe.

During the last year and a half, Europe’s leading business schools have been working with the European Commission and Senior Executive Women to produce a Call to Action (05 December 2011), Selection Criteria Guidelines and a growing list of now more than 8000 Board Ready Women (07 March 2012 /19 June 2012, http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-622_en.htm ).  This list of 8000 Board Ready Women, which includes women on the Sabanci University IWD database, is currently being migrated into the Global Board Ready Women searchable database.

The "Global Board Ready Women" searchable database, list and forum will be administered by the Financial Times Non-Executive Director's Club, on the global business platform, LinkedIn. The Group consists of women who already serve on a board or who are ready to take on a new mandate.  All women listed in the Global Board Ready Women (GBRW) searchable database are suitable to be considered for publicly listed company board-level positions and meet a clear set of criteria as developed and defined over the last year and a half by the members of the European Business Schools/Women on Board initiative.

In addition, the European Business Schools/Women on Board initiative has arranged for each of the individuals selected for the Global Board Ready Women (GBRW) searchable database to be linked with BoardEx’s Profiles and to access BoardEx’s database of more than 500,000 corporations, companies. 

Independent Women Directors’ Project initiated by Sabancı University was launched on 13 December2012 in Conrad Hotel.

Independent Women Directors’ Project initiated by Sabancı University was launched on 13 December 2012 in Conrad Hotel. The ‘Independent Women Directors’ Project, which aims to help publicly listed companies to give priority to women in nominating independent board members and help strengthen the position of women in decision making mechanisms was launched on 13 December 2012 at Conrad Hotel, Istanbul with the participation of high-level executives and serving board members from Turkey and Europe.

At the event, the results of the ‘Women Directors in Turkey’s Publicly-Listed Companies 2012’ report were presented. During the launch, the Coordinator of the ‘Global Board Ready Women’ Project and Sabancı University International Advisory Board Member Candace Johnson delivered a key note speech. Also,  a serving board member and journalist in Sweden, Caroline Sundewall not only shared her personal experience, but also that of Sweden’s, where the ratio of women on boards is the second highest in Europe without an official  quota. Daniela Bankier, the Head of Unit for Equality between Women and Men at the European Commission, also shared a video message emphasizing that gender equality is one of the values of the European Union and is at the core of sustainable, rational and egalitarian development.

Melsa Ararat, faculty member at Sabancı University and the Director of the Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey and the IWD Project, pointed out that although the Corporate Governance Principles of the Capital Markets Board of Turkey require at least one woman director in the boards of ISE companies,, it has not been implemented  in 2012.  Melsa Ararat explained that the IWD project aims to develop a database of women who are ready to serve on boards in order to help companies implement this principle, and as of the launch event, the database contained 260 qualified women.Murat Yeşildere, the Head of Egon Zehnder International’s Istanbul Office, strategic partner of the IWD Project, delivered the closing remarks, and the event ended with a cocktail.  

Events will take all around the World to support gender diversity in boards of directors on December 12, 2012.

On 12.12.2012, Global Board Ready Women (GBRW) Project will hold a number of events in different parts of the World to announce the database of 7500 Board Ready Women. Database will be managed on LinkedIn social network by the ‘Financial Times Non-Executive Directors’ Club’. 

On the same date, ‘Women on Board 2020’ initiative will organize events at multiple locations in the USA. The initiative aims to increase the percentage of women in corporate boards of the US companies to 20% by 2020. 

For more information about the current events that will be organized in 17 locations on December 12, please visit: http://2020wob.com


A draft law prepared by the EU Commissioner Viviane Reding which foresees 40% of non-executive directors to be woman, has been submitted to the European Parliament.

The EU legislation proposal which calls for 40 % of non-executive board members to consist of women by 2020 in publicly listed companies (with the exception of small and medium enterprises) was submitted to the European Parliament on November 14, 2012 by the EU Commission Vice-President and Commissioner Responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding. State-owned companies are expected to set an example to others by reaching this goal by 2018. The heart of the proposal is Article 4(3), which reads that if a company does not have 40% of women on its supervisory board, priority shall be given to qualified women. 

Currently, boards in Europe are dominated by one gender: 85% of non-executive board members and 91.1% of executive board members are men, while women make up 15% and 8.9% respectively. Developments about the legislation can be followed from the link below.


Advisory Board of the Independent Women Directors Project has been established. 

Advisory Board of the Independent Women Directors Project is established.  Advisory Board members are expected to contribute to the credibility, visibility and effectiveness of the Project while advising the project staff where they deem necessary. 

Advisory Board members are; Dr. Leyla Şen (UNDP), Prof. Dr. Nakiye Boyacıgiller (Sabancı University), Nur Ger (TUSİAD), Dr. Füsün Akkal Bozok (Yapı Kredi Bank), Ayşe Yüksel (Sabancı University Gender Forum), Gülden Türktan (KAGİDER), Vahap Munyar (Journalist), Ayşen Savcı (Former Swiss Commerce Attaché), Leyla Alaton (Alarko Holding), Piraye Antika (Antika Partners), Ümran Beba (PepsiCo), Neriman Ülsever (INDESIT and Sabancı Holding), Özlem Denizmen (Financial Literacy Association), Tayfun Bayazıt (Corporate Governance Association of Turkey) and Hale Turgay Oruç (Capital Markets Board of Turkey).,

The first meeting of the Advisory Board was hosted by the Swedish Consulate on November 22, 2012 in Istanbul. 

IWD Project has been a part of ‘Global Board Ready Women Project’.

Independent Women Directors Project has joined the ‘Global Board Ready Women’ Project, a forum created by the European Business Schools, which aims to create a database of qualified women ready to serve on corporate boards.

The Project is a result of collaboration between the top business schools in Europe, Financial Times, and Forte Foundation. Women who are qualified to be included in IWD database will also be able to join the GBRW LinkedIn Group which will be managed by FT. 

Further information is available from IWD Project Office: iwdturkey@sabanciuniv.edu. 

Independent Women Directors (IWD) Project was launched with a roundtable discussion on September 18, 2012. 

The IWD Project was launched on September 18, 2012 with a roundtable discussion open to press. The roundtable was held at the Swedish Consulate and among the participants were the Swedish Consul General Torkel Stiernlöf, representatives from the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), Capital Markets Board of Turkey (SPK), Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGİDER), Corporate Governance Association of Turkey (TKYD), Egon Zehnder, Telia Sonera, and the Project staff.

Melsa Ararat, Director of both the Corporate Governance Forum and IWD Project of Sabancı University briefed participants on the project. The participants discussed objectives of the project, expectations from higher participation of women in corporate boards, current situation in the ISE firms and business norms and practices regarding board diversity in Turkey.