Mehmet Nazif Günal, Founder & Chairman of Mapa Group, is one of Turkey’s most successful self-made entrepreneurs and global business leaders.
Mr. Günal was born on the Turkish Black Sea coast in 1948. His father, a shopkeeper, died when he was two-months old. He was raised with his five brothers and sisters by his mother, who taught them the values of hard-work, honesty and self-reliance.
A brilliant student, he received a MSc in civil engineering from the best English-speaking scientific university in Turkey – the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
From the age of 14, under the guidance of his brother-in-law who was a civil engineer, Mr. Günal worked as a part-time construction worker and sub-contractor to financially support his family. From early on, he stood out as a result of his hard work, leadership skills and talent in optimising construction processes. By the age of 23, when he received his engineering diploma, he had already contracted and built 21 buildings.
In 1978, Mr. Günal set up Mapa Group and developed it into one of the most successful construction companies in the Middle East and Africa. His mantra to deliver on time and on budget, his hard-working mindset and his entrepreneurial spirit are at the heart of his success.
As Turkey became an attractive tourist destination, Mr. Günal developed a series of hotel resorts throughout the country, including the first five-star hotel in Ankara which remains under his ownership until today. Mapa Group’s constructions span from residential buildings to roads, hotels, dams, plants, pipelines, irrigation projects, railways, ports, airports, water treatment and storage facilities, responding to the growing demand that resulted from Turkey’s booming economy in the 1980’s, 90’s and 00’s. From 1996, Mr. Günal diversified his business activities in the banking sector, aviation industry, mining and renewable energy with equal success.
From 2004, the company progressively expended its construction work outside of Turkey, with a focus in the GCC, North Africa and South-East Europe. Today, 80% of our revenues come from outside of Turkey.
Our success in delivering on time and on budget helped it become an esteemed partner of numerous international financial institutions, including the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Today, Mapa Group employs more than 20,000 people throughout the world, with an annual revenue exceeding $1.3bn. Forbes Magazine estimates Mr. Günal’s personal net worth at $1.6bn.
Mr. Günal and his wife have three children, who all graduated in Civil Engineering from Columbia University in New York. They are strongly involved in Mapa Group’s operations and Murathan Günal, his eldest son, has been serving as CEO since January 2020.
Mr. Günal is an active sportsman and enjoys walking, boating and water skiing. A committed philanthropist, Mr. Günal provides more than 150 scholarships yearly to children from lower socio- economic backgrounds to study at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
Mr. Günal is a member of the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.