GCC 100 Inspiring Leaders 2019

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Erdem Kocak

Erdem Kocak

Company:

Henkel GCC, IMEA

Designation:

President, Regional Head of Finance

Born in Gaziantep, Turkey in 1960, Koçak received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and went on to earn his Master’s Degree (MBA) from the Bosphorus University in Istanbul. During his career, he also completed the International executive Program at INSEAD in France and the Leadership Forum from the Harvard Business School in the USA. 

Having joined Henkel in 1983, Koçak has been with the company for more than 35 years, working across a variety of finance and strategic planning roles. Prior to his current positions as the president of Henkel GCC, Erdem was country president of Henkel in his home country, Turkey from 2004 to 2011, and between 2001 and 2003, he was on an assignment as Global Planning and Controlling Manager in the Global Headquarters in Dusseldorf, Germany.

As Henkel’s President for GCC and Regional Head of Finance for IMEA, Koçak oversees operations across the region to secure the overall success of Henkel’s business while spearheading its next phase of growth in these key markets. He oversees more than 6,000 employees, with an organic sales growth of 11.3 percent in 2018 for the MEA region.

When asked to share advice to help young executives to achieve success in their career and earn the trust of management in leadership positions, Koçak said it is important to think analytically and see issues from multiple dimensions. This makes it easy to create a permanent solution to a situation once all perspectives are analysed and examined. For executives in global companies such as Henkel, it is important to be disciplined and crave for new challenges. On the other hand, agility is a key to success, with the ability to adapt to changes rapidly and effectively. One should be able to perform at his best despite the fluctuations of business environments to outperform in their role.

Lastly, he adds, “In order to be an inspiration, you must be inspired first.”