An unusual tale: Comparative literature PhD Muradiye Kiyak takes over as MurFish CEO

MurFish CEO Muradiye Kiyak at the company's booth at Seafood Expo Global

Muradiye Kiyak had no professional experience working in the seafood industry when she became CEO of MurFish, a seafood distributor and exporter headquartered in Samsun, Turkey.

Kiyak’s father, Muhammet Kiyak, began working in the seafood industry as a fish cutter at age 14. In 1982, he founded Kiyak Kardesler Company, and grew it to encompass three subsidiaries: MurFish, Samsun Balikcilik, and Black Sea Kiyak Kardesler, which had collective sales of USD 47 million (EUR 43 million) in 2022.

The company, which has 132 employees, has both wild-catch and aquaculture operations, fishing in the Black Sea and growing 5,000 metric tons of sea bass, sea bream, and salmon trout in near-shore net-pens annually. Unusually for a company of its size, it is vertically integrated, with a fishmeal and fish oil production plant, sales and distribution arms, and a local market and restaurant.

Until 2021, Muradiye Kiyak had no involvement in the business. Her passion was literature – she received a master’s degree in English language and literature in 2011, worked as a professor at Ondokuz Mayis University for two years, and received a Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Kent in England. 

But she was thrust into the business unexpectedly in April 2021, after her father died suddenly from Covid-19. Four months later, she was running MurFish, while her relatives took over the other two subsidiaries.

”When they called me to let me know he passed away, I left everything in England, went back with only a bag, left my job as a lecturer, and took my father’s position in the company,” Kiyak told SeafoodSource at the 2023 Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain, where she was representing Kiyak Kardesler Company.

Despite being new to the business and the world of seafood, and relatively young, Muradiye didn’t hesitate 

Photo by Bhavana Scalia-Bruce/SeafoodSource  

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