I received my bachelor’s degree from Istanbul Technical University, Faculty of Business Management, Department of Management Engineering. This was followed by a master’s degree in financing at the University of Toledo in the United States. I began my professional career at MetLife in the USA. Later, I worked as Product Manager for Kar Gıda, then as Commercial Marketing Manager for Inchcape Retrans.
In 1995, I worked as Key Account Manager and as Sales Director for Asia at Coca-Cola Company, respectively. Then I moved on to Yaşar Holding, where I have been appointed as Vice President in charge of sales and distribution. This was followed by a position at Coca-Cola Company 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 of the Food and Beverages Group. In December 2013, I took on the role of CEO at Ak Gıda which is part of Group Lactalis.
A healthy lifestyle and sports are important to me. I play tennis regularly and I am interested in kickboxing, a self-defense sport. İçim Fit Milk and İçim Kefir are our two significant products that I like and enjoy drinking.
İLHAN OĞUZIndustrial Director
I was graduated from Trakya University, Department of Food Engineering where, after my bachelor’s degree, I also obtained my master’s degree. After that, I took a course in business administration at Anadolu University OEF. Then, I began working at Tikveşli from 1985 to 1996 as Production Engineer, Supervisor and Manager, respectively.
Between 1996 and 2001 I worked 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. I continued my career as Project and Investment Director until 2012. Then I worked as Project and R&D Director for 2 years. I have been the company’s Industrial Director since 2014.
I spend my spare time by fishing, taking cultural trips, watching documentaries, taking walks in nature or swimming.
The products I like the most are İçim Labneh, İçim Kashkaval Cheese, İçim Ayran, İçim Crusted Yoghurt, İçim UF Feta Cheese, İçim Organic Milk, İçim Butter, and İçim Cream. My fridge is always well-stocked with these products.
EBRU ÜSTÜN UTKUMarketing Director
I was graduated from Boğaziçi University Department of International Trade. I began my career in 2002 as a Brand Manager at Evyap. Following that, I joined Eti and worked as a Product Manager, Category Marketing Manager, International Marketing Manager, Category Development & Marketing Director, and finally as a Senior Digital Marketing & Media Director successively from 2005 to 2023. I joined Ak Gıda as Marketing Director in 2023.
I’m delighted to be a part of an agile and passionate team working to produce innovative and different products by reading consumer behavior. My greatest desire is to help young marketers who love their profession to improve.
I spent my free time with literature and cinema, by exploring new authors and directors and writing amateur reviews about the things I read and watch.
My favorite İçim products are İçim Labneh, İçim Filtered Yoghurt, and İçim Rahat Lactose-Free Milk.
ERKAN GÜNGÖRHuman Resources Director
I am a graduate of Yıldız Technical University, Department of Industrial Engineering where, after my bachelor’s degree, I also obtained my master’s degree. I have been working in the field of human resources for more than 20 years. After 12 years at Alarko, I joined the international beverages operations division of Coca-Cola Company as Human Resources Executive responsible for the Middle East, Central Asia, and Pakistan (9 countries in total). My next position was Human Resources Group Director for the Yıldız Holding Food Group. In this position I led the human resources processes of 16 different companies in Turkey, Romania, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. I hold the position of Human Resources Director of Ak Gıda since 2015.
During my bachelor’s and master’s education, I took part in various human resources-related training courses and programs such as the Human Resources Program of Istanbul University and the Falconbury 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 new things.
I like motor sports and take a close interest in world cuisine. My favorite product among our product range is İçim Ayran, which I like for its cool freshness.
At Ak Gıda, we value every opinion and idea we are decisive and act quickly, which is what I like most about my work.
BAŞAR HAMAMCICountry Sales Director
I graduated from the İstanbul Bilgi University Department of English Economics. Throughout my career journey, I’ve taken part in several roles in sales. I started my professional career at Danone Turkey. After that, I worked in the Export department as Europe and Africa Sales Director at Yıldız Holding. My Ak Gıda journey started in 2010. I worked as Sales Manager, Group Sales Manager, and Modern Channel Sales Manager at Ak Gıda respectively. I’m working as Branded Products Turkey Sales Director since November 2022.
I focus mainly on teamwork and high-performance team management. My favorite part about Ak Gıda is its expert and agile team. I think working at Ak Gıda makes every moment enjoyable.
My biggest passion is tennis. I’m playing tennis for nearly 25 years. I love traveling, listening to music, and watching movies. My favorite products are İçim Kashkaval Cheese, İçim Kefir and Président Cream Cheese.
SİNEM SÖKMEN PALTAPurchasing Director
I received my bachelor’s degree from the Kocaeli University Department of Mechanical Engineering and master’s degree from Gebze Technical Institute Faculty of Management.
I started my career as Purchasing Engineer at E.C.A. in 2003. After that, I worked as Senior Indirect Procurement Specialist at Procter & Gamble between 2005-2007.
It was followed by working at the Coca-Cola Company as Procurement Supervisor between 2007-2012. After that, I worked at Danone Turkey as Group Indirect Purchasing Manager and Group Purchasing Project Coordinator, respectively. I’m working at Ak Gıda as Purchasing Director since 2021. I think being an Ak Gıda employee means being agile, developing different viewpoints depending on contingency, learning new things, and changing presciently before anything changes. My biggest motivation is working to deliver high-quality and delicious products every day to our consumers with our strong organization.
I love traveling, discovering local tastes, and meeting new people.
Our favorite products as family are Président Cheddar, İçim Organic Milk, İçim Mini Cheese Drops, and our essential ingredient in meals, İçim Labneh.
RECEP ATEŞMilk Supply Director
I completed both my bachelor’s and master’s degree at Trakya University, Department of Food Engineering. This was followed by an MBA program at Sakarya University. My professional career began at Tikveşli. When Tikveşli was bought by Danone Turkey in 1996, I continued to work as a Production Supervisor. I joined Ak Gıda in September 2001. After working as a Production Engineer, Production Supervisor, and Plant Manager, I was promoted to my current position as Milk Supply Director in March 2014. I really enjoy working for the biggest company in the sector. We run our business processes successfully in the dynamic dairy sector through our know-how and sector experience which we reinforced with Group Lactalis.
I love playing football, jogging, and swimming. My favorite products are İçim Ayran and İçim Fit Milk Chocolate.
ÖMER MURAT GÜMÜŞDAĞQuality Director Turkey
After graduating from Hacettepe University, Department of Food Engineering, I began my career as a Production Engineer with the Pınar Dairy company in 1998. I joined the Ak Gıda family in 2000 and worked in various production positions for 19 years. I was assigned as Production Plant Manager at the Karaman Plant when it was opened in 2007. I returned to Pamukova (Sakarya) Plant in 2012 and worked as Production Manager, Production Director, and Plant Director, respectively.
I was assigned as Group Lactalis South Africa Industrial Director in August 2019. My overseas work experience lasted 10 months and was a huge experience, managing all the factories in a different organization and being in charge of the National Quality and Investment Units. I have been working as National Quality Director at Ak Gıda since June 2020.
I enjoy gardening. I have a small garden near our Pamukova Plant and spending time there after a busy day at work is a great source of happiness and contentment for me. I like nature, and spending time in nature.
My favorite product is İçim Labneh among our delicious product range.
AYSU AYTEMÜRManagement Control Director
I graduated from Boğaziçi University Department of Economics. My professional career started as Investment Analyst at TEB Investment in 2002. After that, I worked as an E-Commerce Specialist at Borusan Otomotiv between 2003 and 2005, as a Supply Chain Specialist and Marketing and Structural Controller at Danone Turkey from 2005 to 2008, respectively.
Then I continued my professional career as a Business Controller at Johnson Diversey between 2008 and 2012; and as Financial Analyst, Planning Manager and Finance Manager at Coca-Cola Company from 2012 to 2018. I started my own business as the co-founder of Dino Dog Club, a dog hotel and activity club, between 2018 and 2020. I returned to the corporate business life as Finance Director at Getir from 2020 to 2023. I have been working as the Management Control Director at Ak Gıda since February 2023.
I’m happy to support executives to be more efficient while achieving their goals as the Management Control Director. My greatest motivation is using fewer resources for better results to optimize the company’s performance.
I love working out, spending time in nature, and traveling.
My favorite products are İçim Labneh and İçim Dolcia Chocolate Pudding.
SAİT UÇMANFinancial Affairs Director
I graduated from Beykent University, Department of Mathematics and Computer Engineering, for which I had been granted a scholarship. After that, I took my master’s degree in business administration (MBA) at the Quinnipiac University in the United States. I worked in America as a 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 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. After that I stood in as substitute for the Finance Director of GlaxoSmithKline’s Consumer Health Unit. In October 2017 I joined Ak Gıda as Management Control Director; then I assigned as Financial Affairs Director in 2022.
In my opinion, know-how of Group Lactalis and the local management complement each other with a good synergy. I am happy to be part of this strong and pro-active management in my position as Financial Affairs Director.
I am interested in sailing and water sports. My favorite product is İçim Fit Milk Coffee.
MEHMET BELGENDigital and Information Technologies Director
I am a graduate of FMV Işık University, Department of Computer Engineering. I began my career as a Software Development Engineer, then I worked in various positions in IT at the Mynet company for many years. Later, I worked as Infrastructure, System, Network, Security, Software and Big Data Manager in the İyzico payment and electronic money services company before joining Ak Gıda in 2017. I am currently working as Director of Digital and Information Technologies at Ak Gıda.
I believe that the key to success in Ak Gıda and Group Lactalis culture is the value given to innovative ideas and to employees as well as the human resources that produce, develop, and use technologies.
I regularly do kickboxing and I enjoy playing basketball when I get the opportunity. Among our products my favorites are İçim Fit Milk and our Président range of Gouda, Cheddar and Kashar cheeses.
İLKE ÖZENÇLegal Affairs Director
I completed the Law Faculty of Koç University with a full scholarship. During the period until my graduation, I did long and short term internships at different law firms and corporate companies.
I served as a lawyer for many domestic and foreign clients for almost 6 years at the Turkey office of Gide Loyrette Nouel, an international law firm. After completing the law firm period of my career, I worked as a Legal Counsel as a member of the legal team of Carvak, which operates in the second-hand automotive sector.
I have been working as the Legal Affairs Manager at Ak Gıda since September 2022. I am very happy to provide legal solutions in Ak Gıda’s business processes and to provide legal advice to our teams where they need it.
I enjoy any activity that allows me to be in touch with nature and communicate with animals. I especially love playing with my dog Mamba. I am an avid Formula 1 follower and I play tennis.
Our products look great on every table, but I love them most at breakfast. That’s why Président Kaşar Cheese and İçim Rahat Lactose-Free Milk are my essentials.
MUSTAFA DEVECİSupply Chain Director
I received my Bachelor’s degree from İstanbul Technical University Department of Industrial Engineering and my Master’s degree from Marmara University Department of Engineering Management. I started my career as a Business Analyst at Koç Sistem in 1997. Following that, I worked as a Contract and Project Manager at Probil IT.
I joined Danone in 2005 and held different senior-level positions in the Finance, Supply Chain, and Purchasing departments in Türkiye and Japan operations for several years. I joined Ak Gıda as Supply Chain Director in 2023.
My greatest motivation in my professional life is to work in an environment where I can execute projects that directly contribute to the company’s growth.
I enjoy skiing, hiking in forests and mountains, and engaging in home renovations in my free time. My favorite products are İçim Kefir and Président Cheddar cheese.
TOLGA HİSARLIOĞLUCommercial Director
I am a graduate of Boğaziçi University, Department of Business Administration. Before working for Ak Gıda I worked for Procter & Gamble organizations in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa in different sales and commercial marketing positions for product categories such as food, cleaning, and health. I have been Commercial Director at Ak Gıda since 2015. I am proud to be part of a leading organization like Ak Gıda and Group Lactalis, which offer products beneficial to human health.
DEFNE BALİCorporate Communications Manager
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 I assumed the responsibilities of Corporate Communications Manager at Borusan Holding, Senior Manager of HSBC in Turkey’s Corporate Communications function and Communications Consultant in the SCC Communications.
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.
Among our products I like İçim Kefir, İçim Rahat Lactose-Free Milk and İçim Labneh. My favorite is İçim Fresh Cream Cheese as the main ingredient of my San Sebastian cheesecake recipe, which I have started to be assertive about.