Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı (1913-1993), the founder of the Eczacıbaşı Group, used to say that "the real measure of private entrepreneurship is the success with which it increases the wealth of the community as a whole".
Dr. Eczacıbaşı also sustained that lasting success requires hard work, risks and innovation. "Success comes not to those who choose the easy path, but to those who dare to embrace innovations and advances." Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı lived by these convictions. Born in Izmir, Turkey, Dr. Eczacıbaşı completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Heidelberg University, his master's degree at Chicago University and his doctorate at Berlin University during the difficult decade of the 1930s.
These studies contributed to Dr Eczacıbaşı's scientific, systematic and universal approach to life and business and reinforced Dr. Eczacıbaşı's belief that the right to private enterprise ought to be tempered by social responsibility. This belief was first put forward by Dr. Eczacıbaşı's father, Süleyman Ferit Eczacıbaşı, whose maxim was "give back to your country what you take from it".
Süleyman Ferit Eczacıbaşı was the first university-educated pharmacist in the city of Izmir and distinguished himself with a long career of public service during the early years of the Turkish Republic.
Like his father, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı sought to uphold the aspirations of Turkey's founding fathers by contributing to the development of Turkish industry. Between 1950 and 1990, Dr. Eczacıbaşı oversaw the expansion of the Eczacıbaşı Group's activities from pharmaceuticals to building products, tissue paper, personal health care, capital markets, foreign trade and information technology.
In every one of these business ventures, Dr. Eczacıbaşı's cardinal principle was contribution to "a healthier society". Starting with his first business venture in the 1940s, Dr. Eczacıbaşı selected the most advanced technology available to manufacture world-class products. Today, this approach is a key element of the Eczacıbaşı Group's corporate identity and culture.
In addition to contributing to the development of Turkish industry, Dr. Eczacıbaşı sought to promote and assist the development of Turkey's civil society. Dr. Eczacıbaşı's activities in this area included the establishment of educational institutions, professional business organizations, research institutes, cultural foundations and scholarship funds.
In 1954, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı helped to found Istanbul University's Institute of Business Administration and the Turkish Management Association. In 1961, he established the Economic and Social Studies Conference Board, which would later become the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, one of Turkey's first independent strategic research institutes.
Dr. Eczacıbaşı was the first president of the Turkish Educational Foundation, established in 1966 to provide scholarships to university and graduate students. He was also a member of the Middle East Technical University's Board of Trustees during the 1960s and a member of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Institute in the 1970s. Dr. Eczacıbaşı was a principal founding member of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association.
Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı used to say: "The meaning of life is best comprehended through the arts. The values which most exalt humankind are culture and the arts."
Throughout his life, Dr. Eczacıbaşı saw to it that every new business venture was complemented by an additional contribution to culture, science, arts and education. Today, the Eczacıbaşı Group has become a unique symbol in Turkey of the bridge that can be forged between culture and private enterprise.
Dr. Eczacıbaşı was one of the principal founders of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, which was established in 1973 on the 50th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. With the aim of transforming Istanbul into an "international capital of culture", the foundation initiated the annual International Istanbul Arts Festivals. Twenty years later, in recognition of the success of these festivals, UNESCO awarded the foundation the International Arts and Culture Trophy.
The Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation, established by Dr. Eczacıbaşı in 1978, provides scholarships to talented musicians, annual cinema and graphic arts awards, and supports high-caliber medical and pharmaceutical research through research grants and awards. It also publishes annual photography retrospectives of work by Turkeys leading photographic artists and is continually developing an expanding collection of modern Turkish paintings.
The Eczacıbaşı Sports Club, established jointly by Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı and Şakir Eczacıbaşı in 1966, has trained innumerable young athletes and won a significant number of national and international championships in volleyball, basketball and table tennis.
In all that he did, Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı endeavored to improve the standard of life for future generations and had the satisfaction of seeing his life's achievements contribute to these high aspirations.
Dr. Eczacıbaşı's memories of the early years of the Turkish Republic and the growth of Turkish industry are recounted in his book " Generation to Generation" (1982). "Experiences and Expectations", published in 1994 soon after Dr. Eczacıbaşı passed away, recounts the lessons he drew from his unique experiences and the convictions that guided his life.