In his speech, Federal Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner pointed out that, "in the person of Güler Sabanci, the GRAND DECORATION IN SILVER WITH STAR is being awarded to a truly worthy laureate. Next to her outstanding economical achievements, she is characterized by her great social commitment and her acceptance of social responsibilities. Her significance is also underlined by the fact that she is the first female member of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association. It is people like her who help do away with the type of prejudices that arose, for instance, on the occasion of Turkey's planned entry to the EU."
Ms Sabanci has been chairman of Sabanci Holding, the second-largest industrial and financial group in Turkey, since 2004. Managed under this holding are a total of 69 companies, operating in ten countries, including, amongst them, Enerjisa, the 50:50 joint-venture with VERBUND.
As a result, Sabanci Holding has attained a strong relationship to the Austrian electricity industry. Ms Sabanci personally decided in favour of the cooperation with VERBUND (and thereby against other well-known interested foreign parties). In January 2009, under the name "Enerjisa" and not least of all with the acquisition of the distribution grid company Baskent EDAS, both groups jointly implemented the largest privatization on the Turkish electricity market so far (and the hitherto largest foreign investment for VERBUND).
Wolfgang Anzengruber, VERBUND CEO, emphasized the extraordinary quality of this partnership. "With our joint venture Enerjisa, we are successfully pursuing common goals with respect to the strongly growing Turkish energy market. That's why we have a great partnership here, made possible only by the degree of commitment and insight of Güler Sabanci."
On account of the VERBUND-Sabanci partnership, Austria became the third-largest foreign investor in Turkey in 2007, which also made an important contribution to the improvement of the bilateral relationships between the two countries. Alongside OMV, VERBUND is today also the largest Austrian investor in the future market of Turkey
The partners Sabanci and VERBUND are working together closely on the further development of electricity production, supply and delivery, as well as electricity sales in Turkey. Furthermore, "Enerjisa" has already won several international prizes, including the renowned "European Power Portfolio Deal of the Year" award presented by Euromoney Project Finance Magazine.
Güler Sabanci is also president of the Board of Trustees of Sabanci University, one of the leading private universities, with which there are currently discussions within the framework of the Austrian-Turkish economic platform concerning a co-operation with the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The renowned Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul, which belongs to Sabanci Holding and which is overseen by the honouree, equally undertakes joint projects with Austrian museums (e.g. with the MAK in Vienna).
In addition, Ms Sabanci was the first female member of TÜSIAD ("Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association"), as well as of the International Business Council and the European Round Table of Industrialists. "Forbes" recently ranked her at 27 among the world’s most powerful women; she was even selected as the eighth most powerful woman in industry by "Fortune" and voted under the top 5 of the "Top 50 Women in World Business" by the "Financial Times", respectively.