International Advisory Board

[learn_more caption=”Yasar Yakis, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Turkey, Co-Chairman of Tatli Dil UK-Turkey Forum”] Yasar studied political science at the University of Ankara, and after graduating entered the diplomatic service in 1962. He held various positions both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and abroad, including at the Turkish General Consulate in Antwerp, Belgium, and at the Turkish embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, then as Ambassador to Egypt and in 1998 as Turkey’s Permanent Representative at the UN offices in Vienna.

In 2000, he was appointed as a Senior Policy Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.He subsequently entered politics, co-founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) a force which would revolutionize Turkish politics and was made the Deputy Chairman of the Party in charge of international relations. He was elected as a member of parliament in 2002 and became Foreign Minister. He led his country’s bid to start accession talks with the EU. He is also credited with having eased tensions with Cyprus.

Yakis is fluent in French, English and Arabic and has published several journal articles in English, in French and in Turkish, as well as the book “Water Issues between Turkey, Syria and Iraq” which has been well received by the academic community. His work towards developing Saudi-Turkish relations has been rewarded with the First Degree Order of King Abdulaziz; he has also been decorated by the President of the Republic of Italy with the “Ordine della Stella Italiana – Commendatore – 2007” and by the President of the French Republic with Legion d’Honneur (Officier)-2009.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Stuart Poole-Robb, Chief Executive Officer, KCS Group”] Stuart joined the Royal Air Force at an early age, during which time he served in Aden, Bahrain, Muscat and Sharjah. Later he transferred to the Special Investigation Branch (SIB) in 1962, and was subsequently sent for Special Forces training in Hereford followed by cold weather survival courses in Norway and hot weather training in Borneo.

Within his unit he received weapons, counter insurgency and counter terrorism training. He later saw service in Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Oman – culminating in a tour of duty in the Yemen. His tour of duty was completed late in 1971. Poole-Robb’s connections with HMG continued with the Operations Research Unit in Century House (SIS) where he saw service in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and elsewhere in the USSR. In October of 1989, he temporarily worked on secondment for the West German Government working with the Treuhandanstalt through to April 1990.

Stuart has written a number of papers and books on security and intelligence operations and threats the world over, not the least of which was Risky Business co-authored with his great friend and colleague, Alan Bailey – published in 2002 and reprinted in 2004 and again in 2005.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Guy Caruso, Senior Adviser for Energy and National Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies”] Guy has over 30 years of energy experience, with particular emphasis on topics relating to energy markets, policy, and security. He is currently a senior adviser in the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, having served as executive director of the CSIS Strategic Energy Initiative from 1998 to 2000. From 2002 to 2008, Caruso served as administrator of the Energy Information Administration, the statistical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy that provides independent data, forecasts, and analyses regarding energy.

He first joined DOE as a senior energy economist in the Office of International Affairs and soon became director of the Office of Market Analysis. Other leadership roles at DOE included director of the Office of Oil and Natural Gas Policy in the Office of Domestic and International Energy Policy and director of the Office of Energy Emergency Policy Evaluation. Prior to joining DOE, Caruso worked at the Central Intelligence Agency as an international energy economist in the Office of Economic Research. He was also director of the National Energy Strategy (project for the U.S. Energy Association (USEA). In addition, Caruso has worked at the Paris-based International Energy Agency, first as the head of the Oil Industry Division, where he was responsible for analyzing world oil supply/demand and developments in the oil industry, and later as director of the Office of Non-member Countries, where he directed studies of energy-related developments.

Caruso holds a B.S. in business administration and an M.S. in economics from the University of Connecticut. He also earned an M.P.A. from Harvard University.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Hüseyin Gün, Financier and Managing Director of Avicenna Capital”] He invests in strategic sectors such as natural resources, financial services and energy with particular focus in emerging and frontier markets. Huseyin is British educated and has an Honours Degree in Genetics. He began his career as a commodity trader and thereafter as a banker in Merrill Lynch and Credit Agricole Indosuez. He is a member of International Institute for Strategic Studies, London.

Mr. Gun is the former Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Fairness Initiative (GFI) in Washington DC, where the 42nd US President Bill Clinton acted as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Mr. Gun is also the Founder Board Member of The Iraq Britain Business Council ( and founder trustee of The Omar Al-Mukhtar Foundation for Libya. Avicenna Capital is one of the key principal investors in the Republic of Iraq.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Hadi Nezir, Chairman, United Brothers Holding, Erbil, Istanbul, Dubai and London”] UB (United Brothers) Holding is owned by a group of 7 Iraqi Kurdish brothers. Its CEO is the eldest of the 7 brothers, Mr. Hadi Nezir.

The company began its activities through the family agriculture business. It has always acknowledged that the local Iraqi Kurdish population in the rural areas are highly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. It is for this reason that agriculture remains a significant sector within the company. Covering thousands of hectares of arable land in the Iraqi Kurdistan region, effective agricultural practices are constantly being put in place to increase work opportunities for the rural population to generate income for themselves. A variety of fruits and vegetables are produced and distributed throughout the Iraqi Kurdistan region either for direct consumption, or are processed to produce concentrated juices.

In the early 1990s, UB Holding expanded its business operations by moving into the food industry, and in 1992, Ahram Foodstuff and Marketing Company was established. Since then, UB Holding has achieved considerable success and has rapidly emerged as one of the leading production and trade companies in Iraq. With a workforce of approximately 2,000 employees, mainly based in Iraq and Turkey, UB Holding is one of the largest employing private sector companies in Iraq. Forthcoming private investment projects within the company, which include the construction of Northfields Mall in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, will provide even further employment opportunities for the people of the region.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Brad Staples, president, international, and chair of global development, APCOWorldwide”] Brad is responsible for APCO Worldwide’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, China and Southeast Asia. He also serves on the company’s executive committee.

As president, international, Brad is charged with expanding APCO’s business interests in new geographies and driving the full range of company services across all markets. In this role, he coordinates the work of APCO’s global client managers and develops best practices that ensure the firm’s high standards of client service are consistent across all operations. Throughout his career at APCO, Brad has devised and conducted reputation and public affairs programs for multinational companies and interest groups across a broad range of industries and policy areas. He has developed public affairs campaigns and led investment promotion, information and reputation assignments for government leaders and heads of state.

Prior to joining APCO, Mr. Staples worked at a European affairs consultancy in London and in Brussels. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics and government and studied at the University Stendhal in Grenoble, France. He speaks French and Italian.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Remzi Gur, Chairman, Gurmen Group of Companies”] For the past two years Remzi Gur has been serving as Chairman of the Turkish British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an organisation which has around 300 members.

Remzi is chairman of the Gurmen Group comprising 120 franchises and 18 outlets in Turkey and 36 outlets world-wide, where his own brand of menswear products are sold. Sixty-five thousand jackets and trousers are manufactured every month in his clothing factories located in Kastamonu and Karabuk, employing over 1200 employees. His recent business inroads took place in the energy sector – a partnership with Socar in refinery, mining interests in Turkey and Africa, energy assets in Turkey and KRG. Apart from being a close friend of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gur is well known personality within the Turkish community in Britain.

Since the 13th century, Gur is one of only three Turkish individuals to have been honoured with the “Freeman” title, an honour bestowed upon the likes of Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela. The other two Turkish luminaries who were honoured with this famous title were the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz, and businessman, Kazim Akkus.


[learn_more caption=”The Lord Laird of Artigarvan, House of Lords “] Lord Laird has an impressive list of credentials, both past and present: Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Public Relations, Member of National Union of Journalists and Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Elected Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the highest award made by the CIPR.

Appointed a Professor of Public Relations one of only two appointed Visiting Professor of Public Relations in the United Kingdom. In 1999 he was awarded a life Barony under the title of Laird of Artigarvan and he continues to play an active role in the House of Lords as a Cross Bencher. Considered a PR guru Lord Laird enjoys being able to share his knowledge. He has a vast insight into how administrations work because he has been involved with them first hand – he has lobbied in both America and European parliaments. This is one man you want shouting from your corner.Lord Laird is a man of his own time. Always observing, always thinking. Speaking to him you will get a sense that you are being listened to with both ears – note the slight tilt of his head and hands on his hips. He’ll follow up that listening with action.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Tatsuo Masuda, former IEA Director, Professor Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Graduate School”] Graduate, Keio University and Cambridge University. Formerly: Diplomat; involved with oil and energy policy making, MITI, now METI; 1996-2001, Director, Oil Markets and Emergency Preparedness, International Energy Agency; 2001-02, President, Asia Pacific Energy Research Center; 2002-05, Vice-President, Japan National Oil Corporation; 2005-09, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology; 2005-10, Visiting Professor, University of Paris-Dauphine. Adviser, Japan Petroleum Exploration Company. Currently, Professor, Nagoya University Commerce and Business Graduate School. Member of the Board, SOC Corporation.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Tatsuo Masuda, former IEA Director, Professor Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Graduate School”] Graduate, Keio University and Cambridge University. Formerly: Diplomat; involved with oil and energy policy making, MITI, now METI; 1996-2001, Director, Oil Markets and Emergency Preparedness, International Energy Agency; 2001-02, President, Asia Pacific Energy Research Center; 2002-05, Vice-President, Japan National Oil Corporation; 2005-09, Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology; 2005-10, Visiting Professor, University of Paris-Dauphine. Adviser, Japan Petroleum Exploration Company. Currently, Professor, Nagoya University Commerce and Business Graduate School. Member of the Board, SOC Corporation.[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Xavier Chen, President, Beijing Energy Club” ] Xavier graduated Zhejiang University, China; Master’s, Energy Technology and Computer Science; 1993, PhD, Applied Economics, University of Grenoble, France. 1988-93, Research Engineer, French National Centre for Scientific Research; 1993-96, Associate Professor, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.

1996, IEA: 1997-2000, Special Assistant and Chief of Staff to Executive Director; 2000-03, Programme Director, China. 2003, joined BP; concurrently, Senior Advisor, Shanghai Energy Council. Chairman, Energy Committee, European Chamber of Commerce, China. Member, Energy Business Council, International Energy Agency. [/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Douglas Townsend, former Australian Ambassador to Kazakhstan”] Content goes here[/learn_more]

[learn_more caption=”Bahadir Kaleagasi ,International Coordinator of TUSIAD – Turkish Industry & Business Association”]

Bahadir, a graduate of Brussels and Istanbul Universities, worked as researcher and lecturer at the Center for International & Strategic Studies and the Institute of European Studies of the University of Brussels and was visiting academic to Harvard, Georgetown and Jerusalem Universities.

His work covered the following main areas: theories of international relations, EU’s decision-making system, EU-US relations and the external economic relations of the EU. In 1996, he was appointed the permanent representative of TUSIAD to the European Union and BUSINESSEUROPE (Confederation of European Business) in Brussels. Since 2008 Bahadir is the International Coordinator of TUSIAD, which has offices in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Washington DC and Beijing.

He is also a scientific member at the University of Brussels, founding president of the Turkish environmental protection organisation TEMA’s European branch, President of the Institut de Bosphore-Paris and a board member of TUSIAD International, the JCl-Europe and Forum Istanbul, Turkey’s high-level economic and political conference network.


[learn_more caption=”Murat Yazici, Managing Partner, Yazici Law Offices”] Murat is a board member at Genel Energy Plc. He founded Yazici Law Offices in 1989 and is currently the managing partner of the firm.

He has practiced in oil and gas, and energy industries for over forty years. He advises on corporate law, international commercial arbitrations, privatizations and finance transactions in different industries and has represented clients in transactions taking place in various countries. From 1974 to 1989 Murat worked as an in-house lawyer at Shell, Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Exxon. While practicing, he taught corporate law at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. He lectures at graduate level seminars on oil and gas law in Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Murat is an advisor to Petroleum Platform Association (PETFORM) and was its founding chairman.

He is a member of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators, International Bar Association and Turkish-Swiss Businessmen Association. He is fluent in English. [/learn_more]