Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey (CGFT) was founded on 1st of March 2003 as a joint initiative of Sabanci University and Turkish Industrialists and Business Association (TÜSİAD), which provided financial support for the first 3 years of Forum’s work.

Founding Team

The first Steering Committee of CGFT consisted of;

Tosun Terzioğlu-then the rector of SU

Tuncay Özilhan-then the president of TÜSİAD,

Cemil Arıkan-then the director of SU Research and Graduate Policies Directorate,

Melsa Ararat, the founding executive director.

Hakan Orbay, a faculty member at Graduate School of Management, was appointed as the academic coordinator.

The Steering Committee was dissolved in 2006 when CGFT became a self-funding initiative.

Creating Awareness and Policy Development (2003-2005)

During the initial years CGFT focused on creating awareness on the importance of Corporate Governance in economic development and understanding the corporate governance deficiencies in Turkey. CGFT was invited to support the Capital Markets Board in developing Turkey’s first Corporate Governance Principles in 2003. Forum’s contribution to this effort has been commended at the launch of the Principles in 2003.  CGFT continued to offer support the CMBT during the successive revisions of the Principles. Following the publication of the first version of the Principles in 2003, CGFT has also developed and offered the first open course on Corporate Governance in Turkey in partnership with the World Bank’s Global Corporate Governance Forum. Policy support and training continue to be an important part of CGFT’s work.

Knowledge Creation (2005-2009)

From 2005 onwards CGFT focused on research and knowledge creation on Corporate Governance in Turkey and in other emerging markets.

  • Between 2005 and 2008, CGFT became one of the research centers for European Commission supported European Corporate Governance Doctoral Training Network (EMCGTN) by hosting and training two PHD students.  
  • Between 2005 and 2007 CGFT actively participated in the formation of Emerging Markets Corporate Governance Research Network (EMCGN) supported by the World Bank and assumed the role of the Coordinator. The Network and the Research Bulletin that was edited by CGFT were supported by the World Bank and later by IFC up until 2018. By then research on Corporate Governance in Emerging markets have become truly worldwide.  The Network continues to hold a series of biannual international conferences on Corporate Governance in Emerging Markets which was first hosted by CGFT in Istanbul in 2007 with participation of scholars from 19 different countries. Istanbul marked the beginning of a series of biannual conferences followed by Sao Paolo (2009), Seoul (2011), Hyderabad (2013).  CGFT continues to lead the organization of the Network’s biannual conferences.  

Field Work and Action (2009- current)

After 2009, CGFT focused on field work that would encourage companies to adopt good governance policies and practices and action research.

  • It provided the conceptual foundations for the formation of Borsa Istanbul’s Sustainability Index through its IFC supported publications on Sustainable Investment in Turkey and in Emerging Markets (2010) and stakeholder workshops (2015).
  • In 2009, CGFT has identified Climate Change as the most serious obstacle for sustainable development and partnered with CDP (formerly called Carbon Disclosure Project) to run CDP program in Turkey. Through CDP Turkey program, CGFT played a significant role in creating awareness on climate change risks and opportunities for companies and investors in Turkey. CDP Climate Change program in Turkey is run by CGFT since 2009. In 2015, CGFT also initiated CDP’s Water Disclosure Program.  CDP programs continue to be a significant instrument for CGFT’s engagements with companies, regulators and investors in Turkey.  
  • In 2012, CGFT started to focus on the role of gender diversity in economic decision making and its consequences for gender equality in organizations and the society. CGFT researchers started collecting data and tracking the gender diversity in corporate boards and company management.  Launched in 2012, its Independent Women Directors Project aimed to challenge the corporate owners who claimed that there were not enough competent women to be appointed to the boards in Turkey.
  • In 2015, CGFT launched Business Against Domestic Violence Project together with United Nations Population Fund and TÜSİAD. With this project, CGFT has become a UN implementation partner.