Sezer Tug Ozmutlu, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Hitit, has emerged as a prominent figure in the corporate landscape, leaving a mark on the business world. With her exceptional financial acumen, strategic vision, and dedication, Ozmutlu has consistently steered Hitit towards remarkable growth and success.
Her commitment to excellence, coupled with her remarkable leadership skills, has earned her widespread recognition as a leading business leader. As she continues to break barriers and redefine norms, Sezer Tug Ozmutlu is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. The Enterprise World is proud to introduce her as one of the Most Influential Women Business Leaders to Watch Out for – 2023.
Let’s dive into her journey.
Pioneering the Future
Sezer Tug Ozmutlu boasts an impressive career in the finance industry spanning over three decades. Graduating from Istanbul University with an Economics degree in 1992, she quickly rose through the ranks at Pegasus Airlines before joining Hitit as CFO in 2015. Her extensive qualifications, including being a Certified Public Accountant and Financial Advisor, highlight her expertise in auditing, accounting, and finance.
With a deep passion for aviation, Ozmutlu has experienced both Airline Operations and Airline IT Services throughout her career. Her 23-year tenure at a prominent Turkish airline allowed her to play a pivotal role in transforming the company into a global powerhouse. Her transition to Hitit as CFO enabled her to further contribute to the company’s success and witness its journey to becoming a global player in the aviation industry.
As an aviation finance professional, she excels in managing complex financial processes and preventing revenue losses. She adds, “I am currently managing the finance team of 10 people at Hitit. In addition to finance, my area of responsibility also covers accounting, budgeting procurement and investor relations processes. Here, I have contributed to the institutionalization efforts by re-structuring or establishing above mentioned departments which I am managing currently, as well as the business processes applied in there.”
Ozmutlu’s remarkable career trajectory has established her as a distinguished figure in the business world. Her extensive expertise in aviation finance, coupled with her exceptional leadership skills, make her a force to be reckoned with.
Carving A Legacy
Hitit was founded in 1994 by two pioneering female managers who envisioned a future where innovative technology could address the shortcomings of the aviation and travel industries. With a steadfast belief in the untapped potential of young and visionary talents in their country, Hitit has grown exponentially over nearly three decades, attracting an expanding team of dedicated professionals.
The company is renowned for its solution-oriented, intelligent, reliable, and creative services, which have consistently provided cutting-edge solutions for stakeholders in the aviation and travel sectors. Embracing a role model status, the company is committed to ensuring the long-term viability of the airline and travel industries through the application of intelligent technologies.
Today, it proudly stands as the world’s third-largest technology company in its field, setting a high standard for innovation and excellence. Specializing in producing state-of-the-art technology and software solutions, it caters to a diverse range of companies operating within the air transport and travel sectors, with a particular focus on serving the needs of airline companies.
Remarkable Key Achievements
“Hitit was founded by two inspirational women who have dared to make a business in a male-dominant industry.”
Over the decades, Hitit has achieved numerous significant milestones, each contributing to its current success. However, one achievement stands out as particularly pivotal—the development of their loyalty solution, Crane FF.
This innovative software solution was among the first of its kind in the aviation industry, revolutionizing loyalty management. It quickly gained recognition and became the preferred choice for 40 airlines, solidifying its position as the most widely used loyalty management solution in 2012.
Another remarkable feat for the company is its position as one of the top three global providers of airline and travel IT solutions. Competing successfully against much larger corporations with vast resources and multinational support, it has demonstrated its strength and expertise. With its smart, modular, cost-effective, and scalable Crane family of solutions, it has attracted a record number of airline partners throughout the challenging pandemic period. As of now, the company proudly serves 65 partners across the globe.
An important milestone in Hitit’s journey is its successful initial public offering (IPO) process. This achievement symbolizes the transformation into a notable technology company on the stock exchange. Since March 2022, Hitit has continued to thrive as a recognized player in the industry, delivering cutting-edge solutions and driving innovation in the aviation and travel sectors.
Charting the Path Forward
Establishing an airline software company in Turkiye during the ’90s posed significant challenges, including limited market and funding opportunities, infrastructure constraints, a shortage of technical expertise, and regulatory obstacles. Moreover, the software sector, despite progress towards gender equality, presented unique hurdles for women, hindering career advancement prospects.
Recognizing the importance of creating an inclusive work environment, the company is committed to addressing these challenges. Ozmutlu says, “We prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, striving for equal representation of women in leadership positions.”
The company upholds pay equity principles and actively promotes mentorship and support programs to empower women in the workplace. Furthermore, it is dedicated to tackling harmful behaviors such as harassment and discrimination, fostering an environment where all gender identities can thrive.
Hitit encountered an unprecedented challenge when the civil aviation industry faced the greatest turbulence in its history with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The profound impact of the global health crisis on the sector showcased the transformative power of the company’s agile technology.
Amidst the crisis, it embraced the challenge as an untapped opportunity, utilizing its innovative solutions to address the industry’s pressing needs. Over the past three years, Hitit has demonstrated remarkable success by securing over 50% of all Request for Proposals (RFPs) it participated in, surpassing the industry average by a significant margin.
This achievement underscores the recognition and trust bestowed upon the company by industry stakeholders, cementing its position as a leader in providing cutting-edge solutions to the aviation industry. Currently, Hitit proudly serves as a trusted partner to 65 airlines spanning across six continents, further solidifying its global presence and influence.
One notable aspect of the team is its unique commitment to gender equality, which is a distinctive characteristic of Hitit’s employment approach. Ozmutlu says, “Everyone in my team works with each other with an open dialog system. We can talk about everything, we socialize together. We are a Team – based on mutual respect and trust – as professional equals.”
Together, they undertake crucial operations within the company. Having held managerial positions throughout their extensive professional career, the team members firmly believe in instilling confidence in each other by focusing on strategic goals rather than short-term objectives, they emphasize the significance of each team members contribution in achieving the desired results.
To optimize performance, the company prioritizes assembling a highly skilled workforce supported by delegation and motivating responsibilities, alongside advanced technological tools. It adopts an agile working style within their area of responsibility. Through their leadership and the collective efforts of the team, it strives for excellence in finance, accounting, purchasing, and investor relations, thereby contributing to ongoing success and growth.
“At Hitit, we specialize in developing and implementing advanced technology solutions for airlines, airports, ground handling agents and travel agencies.”
Hitit, as a leading company in the airline and travel technology sector, offers an extensive portfolio of solutions tailored to address various aspects of airline operations. Under the Crane brand, it has a comprehensive range of proprietary solutions, including Passenger Service System (PSS), Operations Planning, Accounting, Merchandising, Travel solutions, and Cargo. The company views its clients as partners in a collaborative enterprise, prioritizing their diverse needs and requirements.
A notable feature that distinguishes Hitit is its innovative ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) business model. By offering Cloud hosting and infrastructure services for all Crane solutions, it enables partners to easily and securely access their solutions without the burden of significant infrastructure investments. This approach reflects a commitment to providing accessible and cost-effective solutions for its partners.
The solutions are available as standalone products or as a complete suite, providing flexibility for partners to select the solutions that best align with their s
pecific requirements. The Crane solutions act as a bridge between traditional airline practices and the latest digital trends and capabilities, allowing Hitit to accommodate various business models and market-specific needs.
In addition to its software solutions, Hitit adopts a One-Stop Shop approach by offering consultancy, training, and support services. This holistic approach aims to assist partners in maximizing the value they derive from the solutions, providing comprehensive support throughout the implementation and utilization processes.
Innovation at the Forefront
Hitit, as a forward-thinking company, places innovation at the core of its operations, understanding the significance of staying ahead in a competitive market. Its diverse team comprises aviation professionals alongside talented engineers and developers, fostering an environment that encourages creativity and fresh ideas.
Embracing a proactive approach to solution development, it prides itself on being at the forefront of industry trends. The Community Governance Model serves as a solid foundation, ensuring the solutions remain current and compliant with evolving regulatory standards. By actively engaging with its partners and dedicating specific resources, it transforms airline partners’ ideas into practical, tangible solutions.
Size or business model is no barrier for collaboration at Hitit, as it works with airlines ranging from small start-ups to large flag carriers. It firmly believes that innovation knows no bounds, and it excels at objectively assessing ideas to find the most suitable solutions for the partners. Leveraging the extensive experience, Hitit makes informed decisions regarding investments and priorities to embrace innovative concepts.
At Hitit, continuous optimization and the power of artificial intelligence (AI) are harnessed to drive transformative change. Its AI-backed solutions efficiently process variable data related to airport operations, ensuring accurate and timely responses to disruptions caused by weather events. This empowers users to collaboratively navigate and resolve challenges, enhancing safety and efficiency in the skies.
Looking towards the future, Hitit is committed to embracing the shifting landscape of aviation, particularly the industry-wide transition to Offers and Orders. As a leading provider of Passenger Service Systems (PSS), it recognizes the importance of adapting to this evolving paradigm. With meticulous preparation and strategic positioning, they are well-equipped to embrace and navigate this transformative change.
Driving Change in the Skies
“Hitit’s greatest asset is its people.”
At Hitit, the company is dedicated to advancing its solutions and maintaining a leading position in the industry by meeting the evolving needs of its partners. This commitment is driven by a number of key factors that shape their approach to product and service development.
First and foremost, the company prioritizes staying at the forefront of technological advancements and industry trends. Through substantial investments in research and development, it actively seeks out emerging technologies and innovative solutions that have the potential to transform the airline and travel industry. A partner-centric approach enables it to tailor the products and services.
Monitoring the competitive landscape is another critical aspect of the company’s strategy. The market intelligence helps it to identify gaps and opportunities where it can expand the product portfolio or enhance existing solutions to better meet the evolving needs.
Compliance with industry standards and regulations is another top priority. Along with this, it fosters a culture of continuous innovation and improvement within the organization. They encourage their employees to think creatively, explore new ideas, and challenge the status quo. This commitment to fostering an innovative mindset enables Hitit to consistently push the boundaries and elevate to new heights.