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Cumhur Bilgilli PhD: Risk Management Director, Kibar Holding

Cumhur Bilgilli PhD

Risk Management Director

Kibar Holding


How did you get your job?

Although I have an engineering and science background, as a student I always imagined working a job that directly touches the business and tries to support all functions of the company. I started my career in the commercial sales department of a bank and then moved to the commercial loans department where I first met with risk management as a subject. As the years passed, I never gave up on the risk management construct and all the new subjects, jobs and work I was learning on top of that base. In 2009, my appointment as a risk manager to a joint-venture manufacturing company opened a new door in my life. My passion for risk management and the support of management team created a remarkable success including winning the global awards from IRM and some other institutions. In last quarter of 2016, I was appointed as Risk Management Director of one of the biggest industrial conglomerates in Turkey, as responsible for establishing and leading ERM and controlling functions.

What’s a typical day like as a Risk Management Director?

Currently, I’m mostly occupied by designing the best-fit framework and organization for the group. The implementation timeline includes various training sessions and assessment workshops. We could also expect that establishing a process risk controlling framework will help to spread the application and benefits of ERM from strategic level to operational level. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

During my risk management career, I have really enjoyed:

  • Initiating and leading an important “change” process throughout the company
  • Designing several new interconnections between the functions/people and thus strengthen the governance
  • Improving company processes and strategies using the risk management output.

What are the challenges?

The most important challenge for a risk manager is to persuade people about the importance and reason of existence of the risk management function - to create a common understanding and belief in order to set the subject as a key corporate value. That’s why there is a need for positioning the risk management function both as a strategy-level corporate management system and also an easy, inevitable control tool for the employees to use in daily operation.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

I’m proud of being a 2014 IRM Global Awards winner and very excited to be on the judging panels for so many inspiring entries since 2015. The IRM Global Awards event is not only a motivator for companies but also a platform for idea sharing and intellectual capital growth in risk management. It definitely gives credibility to the risk manager within both the company and country.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member/studying with us?

I recommend IRM membership to others who are working on/interested in risk management, not only for attending seminars and development sessions; but also for participating in interest groups and best practice sharing.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

I believe that risk management is becoming an essential skill for successful leaders of today and the future. Leaders who have the risk-based decision-making skills will be the pioneers of the global business world of the next age. My ultimate aim is to be a highly visible global leader of change, sustainable growth and continuous improvement. I believe my risk management background and ongoing intellectual feeds from IRM (news, events, publications, etc.) will also help me to see and understand the business and the world in a wider perspective.

Top tips:

As being both a team member and team leader, I have always tried to stick to and reflect on my three principles:

  • Respect people and values
  • Be passionate and flexible when creating high quality work
  • Overall, create friendship and fun within the team

I have also a bonus tip for the newcomers to risk management career path: Your internal and external communication skills (empathy, discussion, negotiation, etc.) will be a determinant in your level of success