New president for Turkey’s big business lobby group TÜSİAD

Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), convened in Istanbul, ushered in a new era as the body elected Simone Kaslowski its new President.

The Turkish businessman of Italian origin has been a board member of TÜSİAD since 2013, serving as its Vice-President since 2017. Kaslowski is the CEO of Organik Kimya, a chemicals business founded in 1924.

Murat Özyeğin, Mehmet Tara and Bahadır Balkır were elected Vice Presidents of TÜSİAD, while Tuncay Özilhan was re-elected President of its High Advisory Council.

The body represents some 4,000 business members, including the country’s largest conglomerates Koç Holding, Doğuş Group, Eczacıbaşı, Sabancı Holding and Yıldız Holding.

The new president set out his vision during TÜSİAD’s 49thAGM:

“The pursuit of science and information is fundamental to our national interests. History and global developments have clearly shown that deviation from the path of science can be detrimental to societies.”

Kaslowski continued, “The ideas and individuals that contribute to innovation, digital transformation, and generate value gravitate to areas where freedom prevails. Improving social development, technological advancement and democratisation will ensure that our best and brightest pursue their futures here.

He also stressed the importance of the European Union as “the most successful project in promoting freedom, peace, development and welfare”, adding that:

“Turkey’s accession to the EU remains the best means to expand the effectiveness of both sides and presents a true win-win formula. As part of the EU integration process, the modernization of the customs union, increased cooperation and objectivity will rapidly improve the global competitiveness of Turkey and the European Union.”

TÜSİAD votes in new board at its 49th AGM, 20 Feb. 2019. Photo © TÜSİAD


Outgoing TÜSİAD President Erol Bilecik gave a summary of the previous two years at the AGM, while setting out key elements for strengthening the Turkish economy:

“The five steps necessary for a strong economy are:

  • Ensure strong institutions and rules-based policy making for predictability in the economy,
  • Safeguard the principles of a free market economy,
  • Improve efficiency and competitiveness through structural reforms,
  • Support the rule of law and judicial independence to improve the investment climate,
  • Strengthen relations with the EU and take steps towards the modernization of the Customs Union.“

Bilecik urged Turkey to embrace the digital age more fully:

“Today the world is entering a new era. Developments in technology are changing every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, Turkey has lagged behind previous industrial revolutions and has missed many opportunities. In order to achieve the goal of becoming one of the world’s ten largest economies, Turkey must undergo a digital transformation.

He also reiterated the values of the Turkish business world, including the need for gender equality:

“Today, information and work are evaluated based on merit, diligence, and vision; regardless of gender. We appreciate better now, the foresight of the founders of our Republic in promoting rights for women before many developed countries.

“As we have emphasized for many years, ‘we cannot fly into the future with one wing!’”

Former TÜSİAD President Erol Bilecik (left) with his successor Simone Kaslowski

About Simone Kaslowski

Simone Kaslowski grew up in Istanbul and went to the USA to study at Clark University, a private university in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating, he joined the sales department of Organik Kimya , a family business, in 1985. Eight years later, he was promoted to head of sales and was instrumental in attracting new investment. He was appointed CEO in 1995 and has overseen the company’s international expansion.

Today, Organik Kimya operates in 80 countries and boasts a 250,000 tonne production capacity with facilities in Kemerburgaz and Tuzla in Istanbul, as well as in Rotterdam, Holland, and Lugano, Switzerland.

Outside his company interests, Kaslowski has played a pivotal role in developing the chemical sector in Turkey and contributed to the Chemport project of the Turkish Chemical Manufacturers Association.

He was Chairman of the Chemical Industry Task Force of TÜSİAD. As a board member of TÜSİAD, he has also chaired the EU Affairs Committee and the Global Relations and EU Roundtable, significantly contributing to the international efforts of the association.

The businessman speaks English, French, Italian, and Turkish. He is married with three children.