Vuslat Doğan Sabancı is a business leader and a philanthropist, as well as a leading voice on human rights, gender equality, and freedom of expression, both in Turkey and globally.
In her 22 years at Hurriyet Publishing, the leading newspaper group in Turkey, Ms. Doğan Sabancı served as CEO from 2004-2008, and as chairwoman from 2008-2018. She retired from her position in May 2018, when the Doğan family divested from all their major media assets.
Under Ms. Doğan Sabancı’s leadership, Hürriyet not only became the largest and most influential newspaper in Turkey, but also Turkey's largest digital content company. Before her retirement, one in every two Turkish Internet users interacted with Hürriyet’s online content daily, more than any other digital company. She also led the startup of, and still chairs, Hurriyet Emlak, which started operations as classified ads in Hurriyet newspaper and transformed into Turkey’s number one digital real estate vertical.
In addition to leading a major digital transformation, Ms. Doğan Sabancı led the editorial policy of promoting gender equality and minority rights, and played a major role in highlighting such rights in the public perception as well as in the legal system.
She initiated the “No! To Domestic Violence” campaign in 2004 to advance social empowerment of women, the first example of her efforts to use media in order to effect major positive social change. The campaign was honored with a UN Grand Award for outstanding achievement in October 2006, and was also introduced as an exemplar in the European Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly Women’s Rights Commission’s report. For the empowerment of women in politics, Ms. Doğan Sabancı initiated The Rightful Women Platform, which was formed in cooperation with 42 prominent NGOs. The platform strives to achieve equal representation of women in politics, business and social life. With her support of a major microcredit project by the Grameen Bank in Turkey, Ms. Doğan Sabancı is also contributing to the economic empowerment of Turkish women.
With the hindsight of 20 years experience in journalism, media and civic leadership, Ms. Doğan Sabancı was compelled to explore alternative channels to convene thoughtful conversations in the midst of escalating social, economic and political divisions. To this end, she is in the process of launching the V Foundation as a global initiative to promote genuine connectedness “within and with the other” through art and storytelling, cultural entrepreneurship, and research and policy partnerships.
Recently Ms. Doğan Sabancı has been actively advancing better conversations on difficult issues such as Islam, and the role of media as a channel to initiate better conversations. In line with these efforts, she co-hosted a panel titled, “Islamophobia: Overcoming Myths and Engaging in a Better Conversation” with the Atlantic Council. She also delivered a keynote speech at the World Leader Forum in Columbia University on ‘Fostering a Better Conversation on Islam: The Role of Media’.
As a forward spokesperson, Ms. Doğan Sabancı constantly promotes Gender Equality on different platforms. She gave a keynote speech about gender issues in the media, “Women and Media: Gender Equality”, at Columbia University campus.
Before joining Hurriyet, Ms. Doğan Sabancı worked at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, where she dealt with the formation of the Asian Business World News Channel and the Latin American Edition of the Journal. She holds a BA in Economics from Bilkent University, and completed her graduate studies in International Media and Communications at Columbia University's SIPA.
Currently, Ms. Doğan Sabancı is a Member of the Board of Doğan Group of Companies Holding, one of Turkey’s largest business enterprises with investments in petroleum products retail, electricity generation and trading, automotive trade and marketing, industry, finance and investment, internet, real estate investments, entertainment and media, tourism and foreign trade.
Ms. Doğan Sabancı is a lifetime honorary board member of the International Press Institute (IPI), which promotes freedom of expression and media globally. She serves on Columbia University's Global Centers Advisory Board, as well as the Columbia Global Leadership Council.
She is a Founding Board Member of Endeavour Turkey, which cultivates entrepreneurship in Turkey, and a member of the board of Turkish Businesswoman Association (TIKAD).