A Challenger's Strategy: Pinar Abay at ING Bank Turkey
In 2013, Pinar Abay was appointed as the CEO of ING Bank Turkey. At 34, she was the youngest bank CEO in Turkey's history. Her appointment raised eyebrows because of her youth and because her career at McKinsey had given her no day-to-day bank management experience. ING, however, wanted a younger leader who could relate to Turkey's young and digitally savvy population. Upon her appointment, Abay determined that major changes were required in operations, personnel and culture. She adopted a variety of innovative approaches to making these changes, ranging from non-traditional hires to sitting for hours in call centers to personally answering customer complaints on Twitter. As Turkey's 12th largest bank, however, ING Turkey lacked scale, so Abay and her team considered a number of non-traditional ways to organize distribution and market the bank to promote growth.