In Memoriam: Alumnus Mustafa Koç, B.B.A. ’84

Mr. Koç led Turkey’s largest conglomerate and served as a GW alumni volunteer leader.

Mustafa Koc
Mustafa Koc (left) shakes hands with George Washington President Steven Knapp at a 2014 alumni event in Istanbul.
January 22, 2016

Mustafa Koç, B.B.A. ’84, chairman of Koç Holding, a group of companies that account for approximately 5 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product, and an active GW alumni volunteer leader, died of a heart attack in Istanbul on Thursday. He was 55.

“Mustafa Koç led Turkey’s largest enterprise with great skill, vision and energy,” said GW President Steven Knapp. “I had the pleasure of meeting him on campus shortly after I arrived and then of reconnecting with him in Istanbul in the fall of 2014. We co-hosted an alumni reception, and there is no doubt that the large turn-out was a tribute to his prominence in the community.  The admiration of his fellow alumni was palpable, and he spoke with warmth and enthusiasm about his love of GW. With his passing, the university has lost a great friend as well as a very distinguished alumnus.”

Mr. Koç previously served as president of the GW Alumni Chapter in Turkey, delivered the 2008/2009 GW School of Business Robert P. Maxon Lecture on creative approaches to corporate social responsibility and supported GWSB Global & Experiential Education programs by hosting briefings for GWSB MBA students during their Consulting Abroad Project capstones in Turkey.

“Mustafa Koç accomplished a great deal personally and professionally but never forgot his alma mater,” said Aristide J. Collins Jr., vice president for development and alumni relations. “His ongoing connection with GW was a great source of pride for our alumni, students and the broader GW community.”

In 2014, GW and Koç University, an academic institution in Istanbul, entered a student exchange agreement that allows students at each university the opportunity to study abroad at the other for up to one academic year.

During his time as chairman of Koç Holding, Mr. Koç deepened international ties and nurtured the entrepreneurial roots set down by his father and grandfather. These themes were echoed when Mr. Koç was the first alumnus to deliver the GWSB Maxon Lecture, where he provided GW students with deep insights into corporate responsibility and a rare opportunity to hear from one of the titans of global business.

“We are saddened by the sudden loss of Mustafa Koç. The GW alumni community, the GW Business School family and the nation of Turkey lost one of its champions,” said GW Business Dean Linda Livingstone. “Mr. Koç was not only a pillar of the business community but a global citizen and a leader ahead of his time, always pushing the creative boundaries to create more intelligent and sustainable growth.”

Mr. Koç passed away just a day before he was slated to join UN Women and a select group of executives from the world’s leading companies to release new workforce gender diversity figures at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He was one of 10 corporate impact champions working with UN Women to prioritize gender equality.

In addition to managing Koç Holdings, Mr. Koç was a member of the Rolls Royce International Advisory Board, the JP Morgan International Council and the Global Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations.