Sahala Lumban gaol, Garuda Indonesia's former chief commissioner, left, and Fuad Rizal, the airline's former interim president director, announced Irfan Setiaputra's appointment as Garuda's new chief executive on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)

Irfan Setiaputra Named Chief Executive as Garuda Seeks to Refurbish Image

BY :TRIYAN PANGASTUTI, FAISAL MALIKI BASKORO, LONA OLAVIA

JANUARY 22, 2020

Jakarta. Irfan Setiaputra, a veteran corporate executive with a tech and mining background, has become the new president director of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, as the state-controlled airline seeks to improve governance and financial performance following a string of scandals under its previous management. 

Garuda's extraordinary general shareholders' meeting on Wednesday also named several veteran executives and public figures known for their integrity and vast business experience as commissioners to oversee the airline's makeover. 

"I hope Mr. Irfan Setiaputra can carry out his mandates, follow the principles of good corporate governance and make Garuda even better," State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir said on Wednesday.

Irfan replaced the disgraced I Gusti Ngurah Ashkara, who Erick sacked last month for using the delivery of a new Airbus A330-900 Neo as cover for smuggling a vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle and two Brompton folding bicycles.

The minister also removed other directors allegedly involved in the scheme.

The scandal further tarnished Garuda's image, coming so soon after it was found guilty for cooking its financial report. Ashkara had put down potential revenues several years into the future as the airline's 2018 revenue, making it appear like it was turning a profit when it was deep in the red. 

Irfan, 55, served as the president director of state-controlled Industri Telekomunikasi Indonesia for three years until 2012. The 1989 graduate of Bandung Institute of Technology became the chief executive of Titan Mining Indonesia until June 2014 then left to lead Cipta Kridatama, a mining heavy machinery rental service firm, for three years. 

During that time, Irfan also took the chief executive role in Cipta's sister company Reswara Minergi Hartama from May 2017 until December 2017 and served as the chief operating officer of parent company ABM Investama for a year from May 2015.

Irfan has also worked for technology companies IBM, LinkNet and Cisco. His last job in the tech industry was as chief executive of Sigfox Indonesia, an Internet of Things network management company, a position he held since February 2019.

Erick said he thought Irfan was the best person to take over Garuda's management in these trying times. Irfan will be accompanied by an entirely new team of top executives in Garuda, including Dony Oskaria as president director. Dony was a member of Garuda's board of commissioners and the National Industrial Economics Committee.

Dony's colleague, Chairal Tanjung, the brother of Indonesian tycoon Chairul Tanjung, returned to the airline's board of commissioners. It was Chairal who alerted the public about the irregularities in Garuda's 2018 financial report. 

Triawan Munaf, the former head of the Creative Economy Agency, became Garuda's chief commissioner, replacing Sahala Lumban Gaol, a career bureaucrat at the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry. 

"Mr. Triawan, with all of his experiences, will certainly be able to provide input on marketing strategies and improve Garuda's shattered image," Erick said. 

The shareholders meeting also appointed human rights activist Yenny Wahid, the daughter of the late President Abdurahman Wahid, as an independent commissioner. 

Erick said Yenny was "a highly qualified woman" who could serve as "a trustworthy representative of the public." 

The following is the full list of Garuda Indonesia's new directors and commissioners:

President Director: Irfan Setiaputra
Deputy President Director: Dony Oskaria
Director of Finance and Risk Management: Fuad Rizal
Director of Operations: Tumpal Manumpak Hutapea
Human Capital Director: Aryaperwira Adileksana
Technical Director: Rahmat Hanafi
Director of Services, Business Development and IT: Ade R. Susardi
Commerce and Cargo Director: M. Rizal Pahlevi

President Commissioner: Triawan Munaf
Deputy President Commissioner: Chairal Tanjung
Independent Commissioner: Yenny Wahid
Independent Commissioner: Elisa Lumbantoruan
Commissioner: Peter Gontha
 

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