NEWS NATIONAL NEWS        08/06/2023

Hafize Gaye Erkan replaces Şahap Kavcıoğlu as governor of Turkish Central Bank

President Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed Hafize Gaye Erkan, a banking and finance executive in the United States, to head the Turkish Central Bank. Together with the new Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, appointed on June 3rd, 2023, she is widely expected to reverse course and tighten monetary policy after years of rate cuts and a severe cost-of-living crisis. As the new governor of the Central Bank, she replaces Şahap Kavcıoğlu who had led Erdogan's rate-cutting drive that set off a historic currency crash in 2021 and sent inflation to a 24-year peak above 85% last year, and who now heads up the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK). There are concerns that Kavcıoğlu, as head of the banking watchdog, will interfere and prevent a full return to orthodox monetary policies, and whether Erkan will be granted independence to steer monetary policy towards 'rational policies'.


Born 1979 in Istanbul, Turkey, Erkan grew up under the guidance of an engineer father and a mother who teaches mathematics and physics. After finishing Istanbul High School, which teaches in Turkish and German, as the second in her year, she gained admission to Boğaziçi University (BÜ) Department of Industrial Engineering in 1997, and graduated as valedictorian with a BSc in 2001. She earned a PhD in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton University, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program in Leadership. Erkan started her work life serving as a research assistant and an assistant teacher while writing her thesis at Princeton University in the US. In 2005, she joined Goldman Sachs as an associate, and was named managing director and Head of Financial Institutions Group Analytics and Strategies in 2011.


Erkan joined First Republic Bank in 2014 as its chief investment officer and co-chief risk officer. She was appointed as the bank’s chief deposit officer in January 2016, and thereafter the Bank's President in May 2017. Erkan at 39, succeeded Katherine August-deWilde as the board president on 13th February 2019. In June 2021, she became co-chairwoman of First Republic, alongside Jim Herbert, the founder of the bank. Herbert resigned due to a health concerns in late December 2021, and Erkan felt the need to resign at the same time. In 2023, the First Republic Bank became the largest in the U.S. to fail since 2008 after it was seized by regulators and sold to JPMorgan.


Erkan joined the board of directors at Fortune 500 firm Marsh McLennan in March 2022, and also served on the board of directors for Tiffany & Co. from 2019 through the company's acquisition by LVMH in 2021. On February 11, 2022, the Board of Directors of Marsh McLennan appointed Erkan as director effective on March 1, 2022. She was again re-elected for the position on May 23, 2023. On June 27, 2022, Greystone & Co Inc (an American-based national real estate finance company) appointed her as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), her executive responsibilities commencing in September 2022 and ending in December 2022.


Erkan was in 2001 honored by Boğaziçi University as the "Best Student in the Last Ten Years". She also received Princeton University's Gordon Y.S. Wu Fellowship for graduate study in engineering. She received a grant from the National Science Foundation for her thesis and multiple Excellence in Teaching awards. In 2003, she was selected as a Sigma XI Honor Society member. Erkan led First Republic bank's acquisition of Gradifi, a company that facilitates employer payment of student loans as an employee benefit. In 2018, she was named to San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40 and Crain New York Business’ 40 Under 40 lists(age 38). and was named to the Crain's list of Notable Women in Banking and Finance in 2019. According to San Fransisco Business Times, as of 2018 she was the only woman under 40 holding a President or CEO title at America's 100 largest banks. She was an also named to American Banker's "Women to Watch" list. She is the founder of the Hafize Gaye Erkan First Republic Fellowship Program, an initiative that supports STEM education, leadership, and career paths for promising young women who need support to achieve their goals.


Erkan has no formal monetary policy experience in her career spanning Wall Street and U.S. corporate boardrooms. There is therefore some concern that she does therefore lack the necessary qualifications and experience to be given the responsibility of running an institution such as the Turkish Central Bank.

Turkey’s net minimum wage has been raised 49% to TL 17,002 (USD 577) as of 01.01.2024       Migration communication helpline 157 available for foreigners in Turkey       Read our homepage articles on developments in the Turkish economy       Turkey’s official annual inflation rate increases marginally to 64.86% in January 2024       Turkey’s official unemployment rate is 8.8% in December 2023       Read our BUSINESS section for latest sectoral and corporate news       Turkey’s population is 85,372,377 as of 2023 yearend       No. of foreigners visiting Turkey in 2023 increases 10.4% to 49.2 million       Turkey’s private sector foreign debt is USD 164.4 billion as of yearend 2023       Turkey’s economy grew 5.5% in 2022       FDI to Turkey is USD 10.6 billion in 2023       Turkey’s current account deficit is USD 45.2 billion in 2023