Murat Ülker 101: A Turkish Billionaire Industrialist
Zatrun Published at July 02, 2023

Murat Ülker, born on March 21, 1959, in Istanbul, is a prominent Turkish billionaire, industrialist, and businessman. With a personal wealth of $4.7 billion, he has consistently held the top spot among Turkey’s wealthiest individuals, a position he maintained in 2022. Globally, he ranks as the 601st richest person. Moreover, Murat Ülker serves as the Chairman of the Board of Yıldız Holding, the largest food company in Central and Eastern Europe. His incredible journey and achievements have been closely examined by, showcasing his remarkable influence in the business world.

Murat Ülker: Education and Career

Murat Ülker was born into the Ülker family on March 21, 1959, in Istanbul. He pursued his high school education at Istanbul Erkek Lisesi and completed his university studies at Boğaziçi University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences in the Department of Business Administration. In 1982, he embarked on his professional career. Murat Ülker actively participated in industry-related educational programs abroad, including the American Institute of Baking (AIB) and Zentralfachschule der Deutschen Süßwarenwirtschaft (ZDS).

During this time, he completed an internship at Continental Baking in the United States and conducted extensive examinations at approximately 60 factories and facilities across the United States and Europe, focusing on biscuits, chocolates, and the food industry. Additionally, he contributed to various International Executive Services Corps (IESC) projects.

Murat Ülker’s responsibilities within the group began in 1984 when he assumed the role of Control Coordinator. In the following years, he progressed to the positions of Deputy General Manager for Enterprises and subsequently General Manager. During this period, he managed numerous new investments in accordance with the “Vertical Integration” model.

In 2000, he took on the role of President of the Executive Committee of Yıldız Holding, a position he held until 2020 when he continued his work as the Chairman of the Board. In 2020, he passed the torch of the Chairman of the Board to his nephew, Ali Ülker.

Family and Personal Life

Murat Ülker has a family history originating from Aluşta, Crimea. His family was known as the “Devletler” family. His grandfather, Hacı İslam Efendi, was a graduate of the Fatih Medrese and worked in Saray, Tekirdağ. Due to the pressure on Muslims following the establishment of the Soviet Union, Hacı İslam Efendi returned to Istanbul from Crimea through Bulgaria. Murat Ülker’s father, Sabri Ülker, was born in Korbek village, Aluşta, in 1920. The family migrated to Istanbul in 1929 due to the repression of Muslims in the Soviet Union.

The family’s confectionery business, which was initially launched in the 1940s thanks to his father Sabri and uncle Asım’s entrepreneurship, flourished and later evolved into Yıldız Holding after they named their biscuits “Ülker.” To eliminate any confusion with their renowned business name “Ülker,” the family changed their original surname, Berksan, to Ülker in 1954.

Murat Ülker, the youngest of three siblings, is married to Betül Ataseven, the daughter of medical doctor Prof. Asaf Ataseven. They have three sons: Yahya (born 1993), twins Mustafa and Fatih (born 2000). Yahya is pursuing economics and business studies at Koç University, while Mustafa attends Özel Üsküdar American High School, and Fatih is enrolled at Özel Sev American College.

His sister, Ahsen, is married to Orhan Özokur, a top executive at Ülker, and they have three sons: Ali, Ömer, and Ahmet. Unfortunately, his brother Ali, born in 1954, tragically passed away in a household accident when he was just 9 years old. As the only male heir in the family, Murat Ülker assumed his father’s role.

Murat Ülker and Ahmet Davutoğlu, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, were classmates during their high school years. Furthermore, his niece, Sefure Davutoğlu, was formerly married to Ahmet Özokur. However, they divorced in a one-session proceeding on May 12, 2015. Ahmet Özokur, with a fortune of $650 million, is ranked as the 49th richest individual in Turkey.

Among his hobbies, Murat Ülker enjoys traveling with his family and engaging in sailing. He is also an active user of social media. Notably, he has an extensive art collection that includes calligraphy and modern paintings. Recognized for his passion and support for sports, particularly basketball, Murat Ülker played a pivotal role in establishing the Ülkerspor Basketball Club in 1993.

This club trained numerous young talents and achieved notable successes, including four championships, six Presidential Cups, and three Turkish Cups. It also reached the quarter-finals in the Champions Clubs Cup and Korać Cup in Europe. In addition to his significant involvement in basketball, Murat Ülker is an enthusiast of other sports. Murat Ülker is proficient in both English and German.

As of 2022, Forbes’ research reveals that Murat Ülker is the wealthiest individual in Turkey, with a fortune of $4.7 billion. His consistent presence on Forbes’ list of the richest individuals in Turkey underscores his remarkable financial success and influence.

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