Neslihan TONBUL
Board Member
Neslihan Tonbul is an inspirational corporate leader with over 30 years of international banking and senior management experience. Starting out in her family's fashion retail business, she began her professional career in finance in 1983 at The Irving Trust Company (now BNY Mellon) where she held senior management positions in New York, London and Istanbul where she spearheaded many successful and profitable initiatives which were later emulated by competing institutions. Having worked throughout the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, she was a pioneer and trailblazer in developing the banking industry in Turkey and the region and she is a specialist in international banking, capital markets and risk management.

In 2009, she took initiative to establish a Venture Capital Fund to support technology enabled start-ups in Turkey. She then transitioned into the corporate sector where she served as an independent board member in a broad range of leading international companies in Food and Beverage, manufacturing, construction, energy and banking. Serving as Chairperson of Finance, New Business Development, Marketing, Corporate Governance, Investor Relations and HR Committees, she initiated many new undertakings to improve and enhance processes, market share and profitability. Stretching outside the Middle East, Ms. Tonbul is also a Specialist Advisor to NZTE, the economic development agency of the New Zealand government.

Ms. Tonbul has worked with business families and holding companies in Turkey and the Middle East throughout her career. She has a passion for management excellence and a deep appreciation and understanding of the role of technology, innovation and design in business. Since 2014, she is a Senior Advisor and Associate Partner at Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a leading international advisory firm founded by Prof John Davis, which helps families on issues related to growth strategy, long-term continuity, governance, leadership and next generation integration. She is also Family Facilitator at Harvard Business School’s executive education program, Families in Business: From Generation to Generation, which examines pivotal issues facing family firms and their aspirations to sustain their family and business legacies. In addition to her board positions, she is also a Lecturer: Executive in Residence at Koç University where she focuses on Family Business Management and Best Practices in the Family Enterprise, helping to prepare the next generation of family business leaders.

Committed to building a strong civil society, Ms. Tonbul is a long-standing member of ARIT (American Research Institute in Turkey) and YPO-WPO (Europe One Chapter). She is a Trustee of TGEV, a foundation which promotes education in Turkey’s distressed regions, and she is a founder of the American Business Forum in Turkey. Working with the EBRD, she supports and mentors women entrepreneurs to help grow and professionalize their businesses.

Ms. Tonbul holds a B.A. Degree in Economics and Political Science from Rutgers University and an M.A. Degree in International Relations and Economic Development from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She is fluent in English, Turkish, Azerbaijani and French and beginner in Farsi. With her unique international background, Ms. Tonbul is the quintessential universal citizen. Her strength and success come from this diversity where her values reflect a healthy combination of the traditional and the contemporary. She has always been inspired by history and the creative arts and her personal interests include equestrian sports, jazz music and the culinary arts.