Ak Gıda | Management

17. Altın Örümcek Awards

I obtained my bachelor degree at the Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Business Management, Department of Management Engineering. This was followed by a master's degree in financing at the Toledo university USA. I began my professional career at the US firm MetLife, worked for a time as product manager for Kar Gıda and later as commercial marketing manager for Inchcape Retrans.

In 1995, I worked for Coca-Cola, first as key account manager and later in the position of sales director for Asia. I then moved on to Yaşar Holding, were I was vice-president responsible for sales and distribution. That was followed by a position at Coca-Cola Nigeria as regional commercial director. After that I returned to Yaşar Holding as president of the food and beverages group.

I joined Yıldız Holding in 2011 as vice-president for the food and beverages group. Since December 2013, I am CEO of Ak Gıda which is part of Group Lactalis.

A healthy livestyle and sport is important for me. I regularly play tennis and I am interested in kickboxing, a self-defence sport. İçim Fit and İçim Kefir are two important products I love and consume with pleasure.

Ali Sözen

I am a graduate of Istanbul University, Department of Economics (English branch). After following a master's course at the George Washington University I began my professional career at Unilever, as responsible for a chain store. While still at Unilever, I then took up the position of product manager for Lipton Turkey. In the following years I worked both for Coca-Cola and for Unilever as product and marketing manager for beverages in Central Asia and the Caucasus. For almost 5 years, I was CEO of my own company, Kare Pazarlama, which served as distributor for Unilever, Pepsi Cola, Tat and SEK, the leading companies in Turkey in the area of fast-moving consumer goods. After that I was stationed in Dubai for 5 years, as regional director, responsible for South Asia and the Gulf countries, of Aujan Industries, the leading beverages producer in the Middle East. This position afforded me further valuable work experience. After my return to Turkey I worked as CEO of Yıldız Granin, a partnership of Yıldız Holding and Eckes, the European leader in fruit juices. That was followed by 5 years for the Umur Group, owner of Turkey’s biggest print and stationary companies, where I held the position of CEO responsible for stationary.

My experience in sales and marketing finally brought me to Group Lactalis-Ak Gıda where I serve as sales director for Turkey. I am very happy to work for an international company engaged in milk and dairy products, a fast growing branch that offers products beneficial to human health.

My favourite sports are mountain-biking and, in the winter, snowboarding. İçim homogenised ream yoghurt is the product I love most.

Mehmet Yılmaz

Hacettepe Üniversitesi Gıda Mühendisliği bölümü mezun olduktan sonra 1998 yılında Pınar Süt firmasında Üretim Mühendisi olarak iş hayatıma başladım. 2000 yılında Ak Gıda Ailesine katıldım ve 19 yıl boyunca üretimin farklı pozisyonlarında görev aldım. 2007 yılında Karaman Üretim Tesisi’nin açılmasıyla burada üretim tesisi yöneticisi olarak görevlendirildim. 2012 yılında tekrar Sakarya (Pamukova) Üretim Tesisi’ne dönerek Üretim Müdürlüğü, Üretim Direktörlüğü ve Fabrika Direktörlüğü pozisyonlarında bulundum.

2019 Ağustos ayında Grup Lactalis Güney Afrika Endüstriyel Direktörlüğü görevine atandım. 10 aylık yurt dışı deneyimi, farklı bir organizasyonda tüm fabrikaların yönetiminden, Ülke Kalite ve Yatırım birimlerinden sorumlu olarak çalışmak çok büyük bir deneyimdi. Haziran 2020 itibariyle ise Ak Gıda’da Ülke Kalite Direktörlüğü görevini yürütmekteyim.

Bahçe işleriyle uğraşmaktan keyif alıyorum. Sakarya (Pamukova) Üretim Tesisimizin yakınında küçük bir bahçem var ve yoğun bir iş gününden sonra burada vakit geçirmek benim için büyük bir mutluluk ve huzur kaynağı. Hem doğayı ve hem de doğada gezmeyi, vakit geçirmeyi seviyorum.

Ürettiğimiz birbirinden lezzeti ürünlerimiz içinde favorim ise İçim Labne’dir.

Ömer Murat Gümüşdağ

After receiving my bachelor's degree in Department of Statistics from Middle East Technical University, I completed MBA (Master of Business Administration) at Sunderland University in England.

I started my career at Sagra Holding in 1998. Following that I continued as product manager at Eti Group companies. I then pursued my career as a brand manager at Pepsi Cola Company. In 2007, I joined Unilever where I worked for a long time in the household care and detergent categories in various regional and global roles. Then I became the senior global marketing manager in household care category. After that, I took charge of marketing director position at Sütaş.

As of April 2019, I joined the team as marketing director to implement my previous marketing experience in Ak Gıda by combining it with dairy products. With my team, I am responsible for the marketing and communication strategies of our company/brands to help grow our business and strengthen our company’s position in the market.

I give importance to wellness and healthy living. After intense work schedule, I enjoy spending time in nature for jogging; I regularly do pilates and play squash. Besides fashion, cinema, travelling and playing bridge are my areas of interest. I care about animals, have special love for dogs.

Among our products I love to consume İçim Fit protein milk, İçim Kefir and İçim Rahat lactose free milk.

Selin Dora Falay

I am a graduate of Trakya University, Department of Food Engineering where, after my bachelor degree, I also obtained my master's degree. After that I took a course in business administration at the Anadolu University, Faculty of Distance Learning. After my education I began to work at Tikveşli Süt Fab. A.Ş. where, between 1985 to 1996, I held the positions of production engineer, supervisor and manager.

Between 1996-2001 I was employed at Danone Turkey as production manager, project manager and plant manager. After that I joined Ak Gıda where I worked as production supervisor, production manager, plant manager and production director. Until 2012, I continued my career as project and investment director. This was followed by 2 years as project and R&D director. Since 2014 I am industrial director of the company.

Whenever I find time in my intensive work schedule, I go fishing, take a cultural trip, watch documentaries, take a walk in nature or go swimming.

The products I like most are İçim Labne, İçim Kaşar (hard cheese), İçim Ayran, İçim ream yoghurt, İçim curd, İçim organic milk, İçim butter and İçim ream. My fridge is always well-stocked with these products.

İlhan Oğuz

I am a graduate of Istanbul University, Department of Economics (English branch). After graduation I joined Yıldız Holding and began to work in the internal audit department because I was curious to learn all internal functions and processes of a company. My next position was finance manager for Nissin Yıldız JV where I had the chance to re-design the financial procedures and, through my work with Japanese managers, learn about a different culture. Since January 2013 I work for Group Lactalis-Ak Gıda, first in the position of finance manager, then as finance director. The simultaneous public offering and sales process of the company was one of the important cornerstones of my career. For me, Ak Gıda has been and still is a great school and library. At Ak Gıda there is nothing you cannot think and do, and no knowledge you cannot find when you ask.

I enjoy reading books and learning new things, watching science fiction films, making wooden toys and doing garden work.

Burhan Özmen

After graduating from Bilkent University Industrial Engineering Department, I started my career as a system analyst and software consultant in ERP sector. I have worked for 3 years in a consulting company which is trying to establish its operations in Turkey and afterwards continued as a consultant - SAP trainer for a while. Then I decided to switch to a career in which I would take on operational responsibility in the real sector.

I started my new career journey as a logistics manager in a newly established production facility and after I joined P&G organization in Turkey. I was able to design supply chain processes, lead process and organizational change and manage operations with P&G Turkey and Caucasus supply chain organization with many different tasks. After 14 years of my career at P&G, I switched to the food industry by joining Pladis Turkey organization. At Pladis, as Supply Chain Director, I managed the harmonization, standardization and globalization of the supply chain processes of 4 production facilities. After 4,5 years, I have started working at Ak Gıda.

Being a member of Ak Gıda team excites me in many ways. Apart from being a part of the procurement process of many useful products that I have been consuming for years, the need to remain up-to date and innovative due to the dynamic and highly variable structure of the sector is another source of excitement...

I love seeing new places, hiking, gardening and cooking different dishes. One of my favorites is the cheesecakes I make with İçim Filtered Yoghurt.

Deniz Şahin

I graduated from Beykent University, Department of Mathematics and Computer Engineering, for which I had been granted a scholarship. After that I made my master's degree in business administration (MBA) at the Quinnipiac University USA. In the US I worked as financial analyst for 2 years before I returned to Turkey where I joined Mondelez International as financial planning business partner. After positions in financial planning and financial reporting I was assigned to Dubai and promoted to financial planning manager responsible for Eastern Europe and the Middle East. A year later I returned to Turkey to work as industrial controller for Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Before I joined Ak Gıda in October 2017 as management control director, I stood in as substitute of the finance director of GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health unit.

In my opinion, Group Lactalis’ and the local know-how complement each other and yield very favourable synergy effects. I am happy to be part of this strong and pro-active management in my position as management control director. I am interested in sailing and water sports. My favourite product is İçim Fit Kahveli.

Sait Uçman

I am a graduate of Yıldız Technical University, Department of Industrial Engineering where, after my bachelor degree, I also obtained my master's degree. I have been working in the field of human resources for more than 22 years. After 12 years at Alarko, I joined the international beverages operations division of Coca-Cola as human resources manager responsible for the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan (in total 9 countries). My next position was human resources group director of the Yıldız Holding Food Group. In this function I led the human resources processes of 16 different companies in Turkey, Rumania, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. Currently I hold the position of human resources director of Group Lactalis-Ak Gıda.

During my bachelor and master's education I took part in various human resources-related trainings and programmes such as the Human Resources Programme of Istanbul University and the Falconburry HR Executives’ Mini MBA. My main areas of interest are macro-economics, talent management, leadership development and the management of cultural differences. I would describe myself as open to learning and new things. I like motor sports and take a close interest in the world cuisine. My favourite productamong our product range is İçim Ayran which I like for its cool freshness.

At Ak Gıda we value every opinion and idea, and we quickly take decisions and actions, that is what I like most about my work.

Erkan Güngör

I am a graduate of Boğaziçi University, Department of Business Administration. Prior to Ak Gıda I worked for Procter & Gamble organisations in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa in different sales and commercial marketing positions for product categories such as food, cleaning and health products. Since 2015 I hold the position of commercial director at Ak Gıda. I am proud to be part of a leader organisation like Ak Gıda and Group Lactalis which offer products beneficial to human health.

Tolga Hisarlıoğlu

After graduation from Ege University, Department of Food Engineering, I joined Danone Tikveşli where I worked for 8 years in all purchasing units. At the same time, I finished by Executive MBA at Boğaziçi University. After that I entered the gaseous beverages sector. For 5 years I worked for Coca Cola as responsible for strategic purchasing in Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia and Pakistan. I enjoyed working with differnt cultures very much as it helped me to broaden my view. In July 2017 I began to work as purchasing director at Ak Gıda thus returning to the dairy sector. Together with my team I am responsible for defining and implementing the purchasing strategies in line with our objective to ensure sustainable growth and to offer tasty and high-quality products to our consumers.

Ak Gıda is the most nimble and fastest company I have ever worked with. In a quickly changing world, I enjoy working for such a company and living this change together with my colleagues.

I love the outdoors, cycling, kayaking and speleology (cave exploration) are among my hobbies. My favourite products are İçim Dolcia chocolate milk and İçim Rahat milk without lactose.

Levent Özcan

I finished both my bachelor and my master's degree at Trakya University, Department of Food Engineering. This was followed by a MBA programme at Sakarya University. My professional career began at Tikveşli Sanayi. When Tikveşli was bought by Danone in 1996, I continued to work in the position of production supervisor. In September 2001 I joined Ak Gıda. After working as production engineer, production supervisor and location plant manager, in Mart 2014 I was promoted to my current position as milk procurement director. I enjoy very much working for the biggest company in the sector. As part of Group Lactalis our goal is to use their global know-how and experience to develop our business process in a dynamic environment.

I love to play football, to jog and to swim. My favourite products are İçim Ayran and İçim Fit with chocolate.

Recep Ateş

After graduating from Galatasaray High School, I completed my undergraduate degree at Boğaziçi University, Department of History. During my press adventure, which started as a news reporter at Kanal D, I gained expertise in economy and finance by working as an economy correspondent at CNNTürk between 2000-2005. After eight years of experience in the press, I moved to the public relations industry as Media Director at Global Hill & Knowlton. Later, I worked as the Financial and International Press Relations Manager within Turkcell's Corporate Communications department. Then Borusan Holding Corporate Communications Department Manager, Senior Manager of HSBC in Turkey's Corporate Communications function and the SCC Communications Consultant in Communication house I assume the responsibility.

I work as Corporate Communications Manager at Ak Gıda. I am very pleased and excited about the design and implementation of our company's communication strategy in line with its agile and innovative approach.

I take long walks in the forest and the Bosphorus whenever I can. I feel very happy when I am surrounded by nature and animals. All the cats are my favorite, especially our cat Milu. I aim to continue my passion for sailing, which I got by taking basic sailing training, by becoming a little more specialized.

İçim Kefir, İçim Rahat and İçim Labne are my favorites. My favorite is İçim Fresh Cheese as the main ingredient of my San Sebastian cheesecake review, which I have started to be assertive.

Defne Bali

Ak Gıda collects its milk all over Turkey and subjects it to 16 different tests a 3 different quality check points. Once all tests have been passed, the milk is processed...


The Lactalis Group was founded by André Besnier in 1933. Initially, the company produced Camembert cheese in small quantities. In 1967, its annual amount of processed milk reached 110 million litres. In 1976, the company had 2,000 employees. Today, the Group is the 15th largest food company in the world.

İçim İçim Rahat İçim İçimino İçim Dolcia İçim Simitle İçim Şef İçim Fit İçim Light