- Group President, Şişecam; CEO, OMV Petrol Ofisi (Chemicals and glass; Petroleum)
Born in 1951 in Hendek, Turkey. BSc. Chemical Engineering, Boğaziçi University (1975); MBA Industrial Engineering, Boğaziçi University (1977).
“[B]eing an engineer always helped me. I went for R&D. If there wasn’t sufficient R&D, I formed it...”
Gulsum Azeri relates her career running Şişecam, an industrial group that produces glass and chemicals, and becoming CEO of OMV Petrol Ofisi, a leading Turkish petroleum company. As a trained chemical and industrial engineer, Azeri is a pioneer for women in high-technology industries. She has a global education, having been trained at Austrian and American-run schools. In this interview, she discusses joining Şişecam at a time when the company was looking to expand globally. After supervising chemical production at a factory in Mersin, Turkey, she was made head of global sales and marketing of sodium bichromate and other products worldwide. In describing her rise in the company, Azeri highlights the relentless need for innovation in entering new product categories in glassware and chemicals and the ways these efforts required not only technological skills but also financial acumen.