He was born in 1949 to Nejat Eczacıbaşı (1913–1993), founder of the Eczacıbaşı group of companies, and his wife Fatma Beyhan (née Ergene) (1923–2004) in Istanbul. He has a younger brother Faruk, who was born in 1954.
Bülent Eczacıbaşı graduated from Imperial College London following his education at the Deutsche Schule Istanbul. He obtained his master's degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After initiating his professional career in 1974 in Eczacıbaşı Holding, Bülent Eczacıbaşı held a variety of management positions in Eczacıbaşı Group companies.
Bülent Eczacibasi married on December 19, 1980 to Oya Esener (born 1959), the daughter of the former Turkish Minister of Labour and Social Security Prof. Turhan Esener. The couple has a son Emre and a daughter Esra.
Bülent Eczacıbaşı served in a large number of civic associations, including TÜSIAD, the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, where he was chairman of the board (1991–1993) and chairman of the high advisory council (1997–2001). He was also founding chairman of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) (1993–1997) and chairman of the board of the Turkish Pharmaceuticals Manufacturers' Association (2000–2008).
Eczacıbaşı's wealth worth 1.1 billion as of 2006 according to Forbes. Bülent and Oya were a major benefactor of Istanbul's new Modern Art Museum. She is serving as the chair of museum's board.