Robert Yuksel Yildirim is the President and CEO of Yildirim Group of Companies. He was born in Sivas, Turkey in 1960. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University in 1983. In 1989, he received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University. He began his career as a design and project engineer at Paceco Corporation, working for five years at the container crane manufacturing firm.
Robert Yuksel Yildirim joined the management board of the family-owned company in 1993. The same year, he conducted the first international achievement of the company, directly importing coal from Russia. Robert Yuksel Yildirim led the group in new initiatives in the 2000s, and in 2008, the Group made its first international acquisition in Sweden.
Today, Yildirim Group is a global player in metals and mining, port management, coal and coke, fertilizers and chemicals, energy, and maritime industry. Lloyd’s List ranks Robert Yuksel Yildirim among the top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry, and among top 10 most powerful people in container terminals industry. Consulting company Drewry lists him as one of the top 20 global leaders in port operations. Robert Yuksel Yildirim is also among the top three leaders of the global chromium industry.
In addition to his responsibilities at Yildirim Group, he is a Board Member of CMA CGM Group, and Yildirim Group owns 24% of its shares. He is also a Member of the Board of Trustees at Garip & Zeycan Yildirim Foundation, and the Chairman of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Turkey-Colombia Business Council.
Robert Yuksel Yildirim is married and has two children.
Nicolas Sartini received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Paris, Ecoles des Hautes Etudes Commerciales in 1983. Nicolas Sartini started his career in 1985 at Delmas Vieljeux in Paris and before joining CMA CGM Group in 1989, he worked as the owner’s representative in Durban, South Africa from 1986 to 1988.
During his tenure at CMA CGM, he held various executive positions in the company, as well as acting as Board Member for Australian National Line (ANL), and Cheng Lie Navigation Company (CNC). In 1993 he was appointed as Vice President in charge of Asia-Mediterranean Trades, and in 1997 as Senior Vice President in charge of Asia-Europe Trades. He was named Executive Vice President in 2002 in charge of Asia Trades. In 2016, Nicolas Sartini was appointed as CEO of American President Lines (APL), and appointed as CEO of CEVA Logistics in 2019, both subsidiaries of CMA CGM Group.
Before joining YILPORT Holding in 2021, he worked as an Executive Vice President for Ports and Terminals at CMA CGM Group since 2020. Nicolas Sartini has in-depth knowledge of terminal operations and more than 30 years of executive experience in the shipping industry. Nicolas Sartini speaks English fluently. His native language is French.
Murat AKBUDAK, a graduate in Business Administration from Istanbul University, continues his master's studies in Financial Economics at Istanbul Bilgi University.
Murat AKBUDAK started his career as a Financial Markets Expert in Thomson Reuters in 2008 and worked in global financial markets field. In addition to working with all the local bank treasuries and brokerage institutes, Murat AKBUDAK received the Best Growing Country Award in Central Eastern Europe (CEE). He worked as a Financial Analyst at TSKB and contributed to Turkey's leading energy projects afterward. After transferring to Eczacıbaşı Securities as an Equity Research Analyst, Murat AKBUDAK provided market reports and valuation service for international investors in the energy and cement sectors.
Since joining YILDIRIM Group in 2012, Murat AKBUDAK has played an active role in both valuation and financing projects of all financial purchases of the group as Project & Acquisition Finance Senior Manager. The financing project in which he took part in with YILDIRIM Group in the mining sector was awarded by EMEA Finance for Best Project Finance Project Deal in CEE and Best Natural Resources Deal in EMEA.
Murat AKBUDAK promoted to YILPORT Inc. as Global Finance Director in 2016 and he continues to work at YILPORT Inc. as Chief Financial Officer since 2020.
Erhan ÇİLOĞLU received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Erhan ÇİLOĞLU who started his career in 1999 working at Toyota as a part of the Supply Chain Logistics Division, started to work in the port operations and logistics industry in 2003 taking responsibilities in sales, project management, field actions, marketing and customer relations. Erhan Ciloglu worked in various sectors such as; automotive, white goods, electronics, construction, food, FMCG, textiles, iron, and steel.
After joining YILDIRIM Group in 2012 as a Business Development Manager, Erhan CILOGLU was promoted to the role of CMO of YILPORT Inc. in 2014 and he has direct responsibility for sales, marketing, commerce and customer relations for YILPORT Inc. portfolio in 11 countries 22 terminals globally.
Ian JAMES received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Science in Shipmaster at Australian Maritime College and his master’s degree in Transport at University of Wales College of Cardiff.
Ian James started his career in 1981 and worked at the leading companies of the port industry in various executive roles until 2013. Between 2013 and 2015, he worked as a Chief Operating Officer and as a Project Director at Westports Malaysia SDN BHD in Malaysia.
From 2016 till he joined YILPORT Inc. in 2020, Ian James worked as a Group Chief Executive Officer at MMC Port Holdings SDN BHD, in Malaysia and took responsibilities as Director and Chairman of Ports.
Yoshiaki SUEMATSU was born in Japan where he completed his degree in Industrial Engineering at Kobe Technical College in Kobe, Japan.
From the beginning of his career, he worked as an executive of Technical Production in Quality Assurance and Site Installation Division at MES, Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. and specialized in the areas of turbomachinery, material handling equipment, main ship engine, bridge construction and offshore rig. Yoshiaki Suematsu worked at PACECO/ESPANA as a Project Director between the years 1999 and 2002 and throughout his career, he specialized in technology fields such as steel material with heat treatment and gear technology.
After joining YILPORT Container Terminal in 2011 as a Maintenance Department Manager, he promoted to the role of CTO of YILPORT Inc. in 2015 and with his experience of more than 50 years in the industry, Yoshiaki Suematsu was appointed as Technical Advisor at YILPORT Inc. in 2020.
Raymond HÖHLE received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering at Royal Dutch Navy engineering school in 1987.
Raymond HÖHLE started his career in 1987, as a Technical Specialist Submarines at Royal Dutch Navy, in the Netherlands. From 1991 to 1996, he took worked in various engineering roles. Between 2002 and 2006 he worked at Bopack Systems and APM Terminals as Technical Manager and Senior Manager Technical Services and between the years 2013 and 2020 he worked at Hutchinson Ports Australia, Sydney International Container Terminal and Brisbane Container Terminal as Head of Engineering.
Raymond HÖHLE who has more than 30 years of experience regarding technical management, port services, key projects modifications and technical maintenance, joined YILPORT Inc. as CTO in 2020.
Kadir OKCU received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Istanbul Technical University.
Kadir OKCU started his career as a Projects Engineer and worked as a Projects Manager focusing on local and international port projects. Between 1998 and 2009 he worked at SOYAK as Project Manager for Ambarlı Port taking part in various roles for port projects. In 2009, he started to provide consulting and projects management services for various port projects by founding Alp Mühendislik Müşavirlik Ltd. Şti.
Kadir OKCU worked as a consultant in the construction field for YILDIRIM Group of Companies between 2005 and 2016 and started to work at YILDIRIM Group as a Construction Projects Executive Director in 2017. Following his transfer to YILPORT Inc. in 2020, he continues to work at YILPORT Inc. as a Chief Construction and Infrastructure Officer.
Elçin UYGUN received her bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing from Johnson & Wales University, USA and master’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University, USA. While studying her master’s degree, she also worked as a Research Assistant in International Economics courses.
After working in automotive and healthcare sectors in sales and customer care roles in the United States of America, Elçin UYGUN returned to Turkey in 2005.
In Turkey, after having worked in marketing field, Elçin UYGUN has changed her career direction to Human Resources and Training & Development. She worked at Sabancı University, HSBC and Avon Products in the areas of institutional development, career development and training. At Özyeğin University, she worked as a Consultant and a Projects Coordinator in Sectoral Education & Development programs with respective companies.
In 2014, Elçin UYGUN joined YILPORT Inc. as a Talent & Organizational Development Manager and continues to work at YILPORT Inc. as a Chief Human Resources Officer. Among her expertise areas are followed as; organizational development, talent acquisition and management, performance management, training and development, career planning and employer branding.
Rafael Sapiña GARCÍA was born in Spain where he received his bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering at Politechnical University of Valencia and received his master's degree in Port Management and Multimodal Transport at the IPEC - Universidad Pontificia Comillas – Valencia.
Since then, Rafael Sapiña GARCÍA worked at Condeminas with shipping agencies, logistics, and port operations; at Trasmediterránea – Aucona with the shipping lines as a Commercial Manager. Until 2013 he continued his career as a Director for Shipping and Port Operators at Fundación Valenciaport.
Rafael Sapiña GARCÍA lectured at the IPEC Universidad Pontificia Comillas about port management and multimodal transport. Currently, he works as the Chief Terminal Development Officer of YILPORT Inc.
Mr. Cem GOKTAS joined the YILPORT company in 2012. Born in Kocaeli, Turkey in 1982; Mr. GOKTAS has bachelor’s degree Public Administration. Over the years, Mr. GOKTAS worked as a Container Planning Chief, Operations Manager, Global Logistics Center Manager and Global Operations Director respectively. Managing a group of central departments serving multiple terminals in different countries within the role of; Operations Planning, Berth Planning, Data Control, Customer Support and TOS Deployment on a global scale. Mr. Remzi Cem Goktas, promoted to the position of Global Operations Director effective as of 2017. He is responsible for providing operational standards, guidelines and documentation, Global Logistics Center, Audit and Analysis, continuous improvement, HSSE standards and terminal development in entire regions of YILPORT Holding.
Cem Ertok received his bachelor’s degree at Istanbul Technical University. He holds an MBA in Maritime Transportation and Management Engineering at Istanbul Technical University and has an ocean-going sea experience onboard various types of merchant's vessels.
Cem Ertok has for more than 20 years of experience in claim handling and he is responsible for the management of YILPORT Inc.’s claims as well as procurement of necessary levels of insurance cover for the business.