Mr Akdemir is a renowned executive in the telecom industry with more than 20 years of leadership experience accumulated in the public sector (public policy development/regulation/ liberalization and privatization) and in the for-profit sector as the chairman of an incumbent telco, as the CEO of a multinational equipment provider and as the CEO of an attacker mobile operator and lately as the CEO of a consumer focused business unit offering one-stop shopping across all the telco products.
Some of the highlights of his career can be listed as setting-up the regulatory authority and liberalizing the telco industry in Turkey, managing the incumbent fixed operator and its mobile operator, successfully merging two mobile network operators, doubling equipment sales revenues and increasing subscriber base by 50% in two different organizations in record times, conducting major organizational restructuring and transformation programs in telcos and setting-up new ventures.
Mr Akdemir currently gives consultancy services and serves as member of advisory boards mainly at international telcos and technology companies as well as acts as a sounding board/thought partner for decision makers, including ministers, in various aspects of telecommunications strategies and reforms. Lately Mr Akdemir has been leading an angel investor platform and recently formed a Corporate VC, both focusing on technology driven disruptive start-ups.
Mr Akdemir holds a M.Sc. Degree from University of Colorado Boulder’s Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, Colorado-USA, a B.Sc. Degree in Electronics Engineering from Hacettepe University, Ankara-Turkey. Mr Akdemir has also completed International Directors Program at INSEAD Business School, Fontainebleau-France.
Mr Akdemir is member of various business associations, technology forums and golf clubs. His career path is further detailed below across four distinct roles:
Government Officer (1989-2002) - Policy Development and Regulation
In the early days of his career, Mr Akdemir worked as a planning specialist at the Prime Ministry Office and was in charge of the core functions for the telecom industry i.e., policy development, strategic planning, assessment of projects and investment budgets. His experiences accumulated in this role coupled with the vision to liberalize the telecom industry led him to form the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications. As the Executive Board Member of the Regulatory Authority, Mr Akdemir was instrumental in the development of the regulatory framework for the liberal telecom markets in the country and oversaw a broad set of transformation programs such as pricing, national roaming, interconnection agreements including fees, spectrum policy, in order to introduce competitive markets.
Chairperson (2002-2005) – Setting the Vision and the Strategy
Mr Akdemir was the Chairman of the Board of Turk Telekom and of its various subsidiaries Satellite and Cable TV companies.
In this capacity, Mr Akdemir initiated a mega change program in order to transform Turk Telekom, back then a state-owned incumbent, into a consumer-oriented organization ready to compete in the liberalizing telecom industry. Exemplary projects were organizational restructuring and creation of commercial units, tariff re-balancing, introduction of risk assessment as well talent development, introduction of new governing bodies such as board sub-committees with specific tasks e.g., remuneration policy committee, audit committee, strategy committee.
In 2004, Mr Akdemir initiated and managed the mega merger of the two mobile network operators in the country, namely Aycell of Turk Telekom and Aria of Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM).
Subsequently, Mr Akdemir managed the privatization process of Turk Telekom, which with an EV value of $12 Billions is the biggest privatization deal in the history of Turkey.
CEO Positions (2006-2016) – Day-to-day Management at the Highest Level
Following Turk Telekom years, Mr Akdemir successfully assumed the CEO role of the Cisco Systems Turkey for nearly 4 years. This role provided Mr Akdemir the platform and the opportunity to equip himself with the state-of-the-art private sector management vision and tools. In this period, Mr Akdemir was honored to receive various awards from CISCO’s global top management including the most successful CEO of Europe award for his achievements such as doubling the revenues in just 3 years.
Rejoining Turk Telekom Group as the leader of its mobile business Avea, the resulting company out of the Aycell-Aria merger, Mr Akdemir initiated transformation programs focusing on
i) developing talent and high-performance teams
ii) setting the new corporate strategies
iii) fostering growth through gaining market share
iv) building seamless and cost-effective/profitable operations
v) new business development initiatives and acquisitions
vi) risk management.
Thanks to Mr Akdemir’s effective leadership style and the high-caliber top management team he put together, the subscriber base of Avea increased from 12,4 Mio to 18,4 Mio and the market share from 19,4% to 24,6%.
Following the final organizational restructuring of Turk Telekom Group, i.e., PSTN, fix data, TV platform and mobile, Mr Akdemir became the Consumer Business Unit CEO of Turk Telekom Group, the driving engine of the Group with more than 35 million subscribers and $3.6 Billion revenues.
Mr Akdemir successfully assumed two different CEO positions in total for 7 years within Turk Telekom Group.
Non-Executive Directorship and Advisory Board Membership (2017- to date)
Upon completion of INSEAD Business School’s “International Directors' Program”, where Mr Akdemir further sharpened his skills in corporate and board governance as well as board structures, in setting-up supervisory boards evaluating CEO performance as well as company’s risk profile and in setting and assessing the firm’s strategic direction and performance, Mr Akdemir is now reflecting his expertise and experiences by sitting in companies’ boards at large corporations, conglomerates, family businesses as well start-ups.