Godiva: We are delighted to become a ‘Turkish delight’

Godiva: We are 
   delighted to become a ‘Turkish delight’

September 23, 2010, Thursday/ 17:20:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Commenting on progress achieved since its acquisition by Yıldız Holding in 2008, Godiva Chocolatier CEO Jim Goldman has said it is a source of honor for the company to have become a “Turkish delight.”

Goldman was addressing an audience in İstanbul on Wednesday to talk about the success story of Godiva at a meeting called “CEO Club,” which was organized under the leadership of the Capital and Economist magazines, the sponsorship of Vodafone Türkiye and in cooperation with Invest in France.

He defined Godiva as “the most beautiful and the latest Turkish delight.” Founded in 1926 in Brussels, Godiva opened its first store outside Belgium in 1958, he recalled. When Yıldız Holding acquired the company two years ago, it beat 50 other interested companies, he said. The latest milestone in the company’s history Goldman underlined was the opening of the first store in China in 2009.

Yıldız Holding has a challenging growth target on a global scale, and thanks to this commitment to expansion, Godiva has achieved a great deal in the last two-and-a-half years under the Turkish company’s administration. “We are enjoying double-digit growth rates all around the world, and our profitability is rising with every passing day. But we still have a long way to go,” he said.

The company will become a global leader, particularly in the first-class chocolate segment, Goldman asserted. The company has increased product diversity to reach out to a larger customer base, is selling its luxury tastes in 60 countries today and is opening the first Godiva café in Shanghai very soon. He further recalled Godiva’s store in İstanbul, which recently opened as a luxury concept. “It is the most beautiful store we have ever opened,” he boasted.

“I have learnt a lot during the last two-and-a-half years,” as he summarized cooperating with Yıldız. “Our performance has been superb. I can even say that we have been looking ahead very positively despite economic troubles all over the world [due to the global financial crisis]. The key to success in our cooperation was mutual respect and trust. None of us has a secret agenda concerning the company, and we are very honest with each other.”

Asked if he would encourage Ülker, the flagship company of Yıldız Holding, to make an initial public offering in the US, Goldman declined to comment but said: “It is obvious how successful a company Ülker is. Its future is extremely bright, and we are proud to be a member of this family.”

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