Cem Boyner 

  • President, Boyner Holding (Retail)
Born Istanbul, Turkey, 1955. Bachelors in Business Administration, Boğaziçi University (1978).
“Retailing is probably the world’s second oldest profession. You have so many people that come into your store who you touch... our salespeople are psychologists... clairvoyants... They can read character. So we just gave the authority to them.”

Video Clips

Boyner explains how his stores accept returns unconditionally; the customer is spoiled, which creates a good reputation for the company.

Boyner describes how salespeople in his stores are instilled with a sense of how to serve customers in order to retain customer loyalty.

Boyner discusses how the introduction of his company’s Advatage card tapped into consumers’ pent-up demand to improve their standard of living.

Boyner explains how his criticisms of the Turkish government as a "kleptocracy" landed him in court.

 Full-length video (accessible to holders of a valid Harvard ID)


Cem Boyner, CEO of Boyner Holdings and chairman of the board of Boyner department stores, relates his rise within the family textile and retail business, which was started by his father, Osman. The Boyner retail empire, started in 1981, grew to comprise a large number of stores, including Boyner department stores (numbering about 80) and YKM stores (numbering about 60). Boyner describes his schemes to be innovative in the expanding and competitive retail sector, including his efforts to create an international shopping experience and to partner with foreign companies, such as Levi’s. Boyner also describes service innovations, such as unconditional returns and financial ones, including the introduction of the Advantage Card, which revolutionized the way retail was being conducted in Turkey and even brought changes in the consumer law. Boyner also describes his forays into politics, including his leadership of the New Democracy Movement, and his role in heading the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Associations.

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  • "Cazibe merkezlerinde kafeler önemli," Youtube, January 16, 2014
  • "Kriz gidince önce lüks geri gelir," Youtube, January 16, 2014
  • "Cem Boyner talks about his companies and new projects," Youtube, November 5, 2012
  • "Boyner Gets its Company Shares Back,"Hürriyat Daily News, March 15, 2013
  • "New Credit Card Revealed," Hürriyet Daily News, September 12, 2008
  • "Turkish Luxe on an Upward Spiral," New York Times, December 6, 2006
  • "Benetton Group Buys into Turkey Operation," Hürriyet Daily News, April 22, 2005
  • "Turkey's New Reformer: Magnate with a Cause,"Highbeam, July 17, 1995
  • "Young Turks Lay Claim to a Leadership Role: A New Generation Wants to Rise Above Present Stagnation and Old Traditions," The Independent, July 9, 1994
  • Video file of this interview available at Baker Library Historical Collections, histcollref+hbs.edu. Harvard ID holders can access the full-length video above.

  • Interview citation: "Interview with Cem Boyner, interviewed by Felix Oberholzer-Gee, September 16, 2014, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/businesshistory/emerging-markets/."