People reflect their own culture into the life and their environment and are remembered by with what they have left behind after passing by... Very odd, isn’t? You leave this life and only traces of what you have done are left behind... Good or Bad... On top of that, all these evaluations are done on the basis of common objective criteria, far from emotional connections...

So, human beings never know whether their actions are good or bad, worthy or worthless, when they are still alive...

Maybe this is the secret of life…

Burhan Karaçam was born in 1949 in Istanbul, Turkey and completed his secondary education at Tarsus American College during his father’s service as a public officer (Surgeon General at a Public Hospital) in Tarsus.

In the years following 1964, Mr. Karaçam continued his high school and university education at Robert College in Istanbul. During Mr. Karaçam’s last year at Robert College, the school was restructured and renamed Bosphorus University, where he was also honored as the first valedictorian of the initial graduating class.

After graduating from the Business Administration department of Bosphorus University (1972), Mr. Karaçam started his professional career that same year at the London offices of Arthur Andersen.

In 1981, Mr. Karaçam made a conscious decision to alter his career path and focus on banking. Mr. Karaçam held senior-level executive positions at major national banks including Pamukbank, Egebank, Yapı Kredi and Koçbank respectively where he was instrumental in introducing a new dimension and fundamental shift to the Turkish banking sector.

Influenced by a highly western education, Mr. Karaçam developed interests in various extracurricular activities including a passion for sports and music. During his university years in addition to playing basketball where he served as the team captain, Mr. Karaçam was also on the soccer and volleyball teams.

Mr. Karaçam continues to live an active lifestyle including swimming, tennis, downhill and water skiing. Mr. Karaçam is a true music lover and has acquired one of the most profound collections of amateur music in Turkey. As the planner of various social activities during his student years, Mr. Karaçam helped organize many cultural events including concerts, social events trips and other school activities where he continues to be involved to this day. He was an active member of the Robert College Student Union where he played a key role in the transformation of Robert College to Bosphorus University.

Recognized as the thought-leader behind many social responsibility projects realized during his administration at Yapı Kredi Bank, Mr. Karaçam initiated the corporation’s involvement in a variety of domestic and international artistic and cultural activities. Mr. Karaçam implemented one of his most significant corporate social responsibility projects through the formation of the Yapı Kredi Cultural Activities, Arts and Publishing A.Ş. as a resource to revive many neglected treasures in artistic and cultural activities. This unique organization supports concerts, ballets, theater and musicals and has led the way to acquire prominent publications from Turkey and around the world.

Burhan Karaçam is an active founding member of Endeavor Turkey (www.endeavor.org.tr), an international non-profit organization supporting potential entrepreneurs in developing countries.

He has also contributed as chairman and board member in various associations and foundations including:

  • Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s’ Association (TÜSİAD)
  • Turkish – Greek Business Council
  • Endeavor Turkey
  • Bosphorus University Foundation
  • Robert College Alumni Association
  • Tarsus American College Alumni Association
  • Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV)
  • Foundation for Health and Education (SEV)
  • TEMA Foundation
  • Association for Embellishment and Development of Beyoğlu
  • Fenerbahçe Sports Club
  • 1907 Fenerbahçe Association

Mr. Karaçam continues his professional career at Burhan Karaçam Değer Kazandırma A.Ş. “BK Partnership – Value Creation” that he established under his own name. He is still married to his college sweetheart and the proud father of a son and a daughter.


Start of His Carrier

Mr. Karaçam started his professional career at the London office of Arthur Andersen in 1972. In 1975, he was one of the founding partners of the Istanbul office of Arthur Andersen where he worked until 1979. Mr. Karaçam returned to the London offices of Arthur Andersen where he continued until October 1981. During his career at Arthur Andersen, Mr. Karaçam concentrated his efforts on continuing professional education including the original design of the firm’s European Senior Partner Development Course which engaged thousands of new recruits.

Transition Of Career Into The Banking Sector

After Mr. Karaçam left Arthur Andersen in 1981, he was inspired to become a catalyst of social and economic evolution in Turkey which led to his decision to transition his career into the banking sector. During his first three years as the Deputy General Manager of Pamukbank, Mr. Karaçam was responsible for deposits and banking services, marketing and PR, human resources, information technology, organization and operations, accounting and finance. In this short period of time, Mr. Karaçam introduced critical new concepts to the sector including the "cheque-card," "savings plans" and "the first intelligent terminals at branch offices.”

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Karaçam was recruited to Egebank as CEO in 1984 and succeeded in transforming the bank into one of the fastest growing institutions in Turkey. Following the change in the bank's ownership structure in April 1987, Mr. Karaçam was invited back to Çukurova Group where he became the CEO of Yapı Kredi Bank in August 1987.

Yapı Kredi - Contributions To Turkish Banking Sector

In the course of his 12 years of service at Yapı Kredi Bank (YKB) as CEO, Mr. Karaçam led two major structural change programs that transformed YKB into the most active and innovative bank in Turkey. During this time, YKB would eventually go onto generate the highest revenue from banking services in Turkey. The bank reached the number one position in terms of total assets, total deposits, total loans, total fee and commission income. By the end of 1998, YKB had acquired more than 6 million active customers and its total market value had reached US$5 billion.


Mr. Karaçam stands out as an Executive Leader who made his mark not only through his unique managerial expertise but also with the new products and services he pioneered which led to a complete change in banking practices, norms and standards in Turkey. Mr. Karaçam initiated revolutionary transformations in consumer, corporate, commercial, retail and investment banking and created the first consumer-focused and market-oriented organization and operational structure in Turkey.

New Banking Products Services - First To Market

  • 24 hours banking
  • ATM
  • Consumer loans
  • Credit cards
  • Taksitcard (installment plan credit card)
  • Overdraft accounts
  • Mortgage and home improvement loans
  • Telephone banking (Alobanka)
  • First call center (444 0 444)
  • POS implementations
  • Automatic payment and money transfers
  • Standing orders
  • Non-promissory note installment system
  • Auto bank
  • Night safety deposit boxes
  • Automatic payroll processing
  • Interbank Card Center
  • First operation center
  • First video education and communication center
  • First online communication center within the company (Tele-ofis)
  • Internet banking
  • Yapı Kredi Cultural Activities, Arts and Publishing Inc.

Investments in Technology

Along with the commercial implementations of banking, Mr. Karaçam led the way to adopt new technologies to Turkish banking. In addition to pioneering the use of technology in banking such as the introduction of telephone banking services, Mr. Karaçam was also a visionary in identifying and enabling Turkey’s initial investments together with Çukurova Holding in the mobile and internet sectors including Turkcell as Turkey’s first and leading mobile operation and SuperOnline as Turkey’s first Internet Service Provider.

International Development

BAfter the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mr. Karaçam elicited Yapı Kredi Bank as one of the first ten internationally accredited banks to operate in Russia. Yapı Kredi Düsseldorf was launched first as a branch office and later as a joint stock company during Mr. Karaçam’s administration.

In 1996, Burhan Karaçam launched Yapı Kredi Koray Real Estate Investment Company, one of the first REITs in Turkey which went to public in 1998.


Along with banking activities, Mr. Karaçam enabled Yapı Kredi to invest in the tourism sector through the formation of the Enternasyonal Turizm Company. Through this institution, the bank implemented an "integrated tourism" vision for the first time in Turkey.

Tourism Projects:

  • Robinson Club Maris – Hisarönü/Datça
  • Four Seasons Hotel – İstanbul
  • Göcek Marina Resort
  • Pegasus Airlines
  • Köroğlu Skiing Resorts – Bolu (This project could not be completed after Mr. Karaçam left YKB)

Proactive Mass-Marketing

Another practice Mr. Karaçam and his team pioneered is the concept of "Aktif Pazarlama" ("Active Marketing") introducing new tools, ranging from cross-selling to targeted mass-marketing in Turkey. This new approach was very stimulating to the young generation of bankers with its energetic structure, motivating them to design new initiatives in creating new markets. As result of this expansion in the marketplace, young managers had the opportunity to assume leadership roles and higher level responsibilities earlier than their peers in other sectors or countries.

BK Partnership

After building Yapı Kredi to its market-leading position, Mr. Karaçam left YKB in 1999 due to differences of opinion between the controlling shareholders and himself regarding the medium and long-term strategic vision of the bank. That same year, Mr. Karaçam established a strategic business development and value creation company under his name, BK Partnership.

Koçbank Projesi

After leaving Yapı Kredi, Mr. Karaçam focused his efforts on value creation and growth-oriented strategy design under BK Partnership with the first large-scale consulting project being Koçbank which belonged to individuals of the Koç Family. Koç Holding Family contracted BK Partnership to take Koçbank through a restructuring program which also involved a partnership with an international financial institution with the aim of positioning the bank as one of the major players in the Turkish banking sector.

Mr. Karaçam personally designed and executed this strategic project between 2000 and 2003 acting as the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Koçbank. During this time as part of his restructuring plan, Mr. Karaçam established Koç Financial Services A.Ş. (KFS), the first bank holding company in Turkey, and served as the first Chairman of KFS. Despite the severe economic crisis that broke out at the end of 2000, Mr. Karaçam was still able to implement his strategic plan including the 50-50% partnership in KFS with Italy’s second-largest banking group at the time, Unicredito.

As result of this partnership, the Koç Family shares in Koçbank were transferred to Koç Holding via KFS and BK Partnership’s contract with the Koç Family was successfully completed.


Since 2003, in addition his advisory role in financial services, Burhan Karaçam is involved in a number of projects in the areas of real-estate development, technology, retail, textile and other manufacturing industries.


"Orası Yapı Kredi Fark Oradaydı"
Burhan Karaçam

"Orası Yapı Kredi Fark Oradaydı"

Yapı Kredi Yayınları | 2008

The book "Orası Yapı Kredi, Fark Oradaydı," or "That is Yapı Kredi, the Difference was There" (YKY, 2008) tells the story of how Burhan Karaçam took the reins at Yapı Kredi Bank and during his twelve years tenure as the CEO turned into the leading bank in Turkey.

In his book, Mr. Karaçam anecdotally explains why Yapı Kredi was revolutionary in creating a world-class innovative organization. Mr. Karaçam started the institutionalization of Yapı Kredi by introducing new banking practices, products and services, personnel policies, new technologies, as well as effective communication with the community including creative social responsibility projects. These collectively contributed to the rapid growth of the bank’s position in the market.


Dönüşüm Yolculuğu (Kitap & Belgesel DVD)

Remzi Kitabevi | 2015

have come to my General Manager of Yapı Kredi position by getting affected from diverse cultures. Yapı Kredi was a great opportunity for me to share my cultural accumulation with the community I was living in. My biggest luck was that there were people sharing my vision and values at Yapi Kredi. We did not only transform Yapı Kredi, but the Turkish banking sector as well. At the end, this transformation gained a different meaning due to its effect on the Turkish economy as well by bringing along macro developments.

This book along with the documentary has been prepared to pass along the importance of corporate culture that has been created by the people with modern values, who are the main and driving force behind the changes and the changes that have become the transformation as a total and finally leave a mark in the history.


Dönüşüm Yolculuğu
Burhan Karaçam