Cover Story / March 2019

Growing the Family Business

Widiyanti (48) has been a director at PT Teladan Resources since 2008, where her father Wiwoho Basuki Tjokronegoro (80), who serves as the group’s commissioner, is her main mentor.

The family business, established in 1998, became an investment company in 2002 through its initial investment in PT Mahaka Industri Perdana, co-founded in 1994 by her husband, veteran businessman Wishnu Wardhana, who has served as president director of the group since 2005.

The company’s diversified investment portfolio currently focuses on five core competencies: agro-resources, energy, industry, strategic properties and media.

The group has a controlling stake in publicly listed integrated energy company PT Indika Energy, while subsidiary PT Teladan Prima Agro manages over than 60,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in East Kalimantan. In the industrial sector, the group controls Mahaka Industri Perdana, which operates a plant producing liquid calcium oxide from limestone sourced from the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua.

In property, Teladan Resources controls The Capital Residence, a premium high-rise luxury apartment and office building in the Sudirman Central Business District of South Jakarta. It also controls popular television station NET., launched in May 26, 2013.

Widiyanti, who has also served as director of Teladan Prima Agro since 2012 and PT Teladan Properties since 2008, not only ensures that the group’s financial, legal and administrative affairs are in order, but also supports the entire business operation.

Despite starting her professional life as a model and winning prestigious awards in Asia during the 1990s, her father believed a business career would be more beneficial to the family and broader society. Thus, Widiyanti decided to pursue a degree in business administration at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, which she completed in 1993, and equipped her with the basics on how to run a business

“My father was in the oil service industry at that time, in the early 1980s, having started his career from scratch, he placed a lot of importance on education in our family,” she recalled.

Before establishing the existing family business, her father was already a respected oil man with a solid professional track record in providing services to the industry dating back to the 1970s.

As Teladan Resources Group expanded, her siblings, Indracahya Basuki and Nurcahya Basuki joined the team and Widiyanti says that they all manage the company together, each playing a different role based on their unique strengths and interests.

Her father started grooming her to manage the business by starting her off at a junior level and gradually increased her responsibilities as she progressed. “I am bit fortunate, as my father gave us equal opportunities to develop our skills, competencies, interests and hone our leadership skills,” she said.

Widiyanti said her brothers are responsible for managing the financial and operational side of the business, while he father provides advice when necessary.

Heart Matters

Having settled well into her business role over the years, Widiyanti stepped up her involvement in social causes. Last year, one of her colleagues at the Esti Nurjadin Indonesian Heart Foundation (YJI) asked her to lend her leadership skills and draw on her extensive network in the business community to further the organization’s work. She agreed to take up the role of secretary general of the organization, which was the start of a new chapter in her life.

Widiyanti said the new position has given her a new understanding of life and about serving others. She said despite the YJI having been around for a long time, it was less sound than other, comparable organizations.

With ischemic heart disease as the number-two killer in Indonesia, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Widiyanti seeks to raise greater awareness of the need for a healthy lifestyle.

After improving the organization’s administrative affairs, she plans to embark on a progressive campaign targeting schools, business groups and social organizations to raise awareness of the need for a healthy lifestyle. Widiyanti said she is encouraged by the fact that more young people are now realizing the importance of healthy living and becoming more involved in sports and physical activities. “We want to revamp the organization and spread the message. I love the new job,” she said.

Widiyanti is also chairwoman of the family foundation Yayasan Teladan Utama and supervisor of Yayasan Kawula Madani, which amongst other initiatives, campaign against bullying in schools. “Bullying has dashed the hopes of countless children,” she said.

As a business leader, Widiyanti believes in Indonesia’s vast economic potential, yet comments that this year’s presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for April, have prompted investors to adopt a wait-and-see approach due to uncertainty over the impact either of the two candidates’ policies may have on the country’s economy both in the short term and beyond.

“For a while, the economy will have to depend on household spending and domestic investment,” she said. Widiyanti also warned of the worrying unemployment rate of more than 5 percent, which may be exacerbated by the 2 million plus additional job seekers entering the labor market each year, a towering challenge for whoever wins the election.

“Given the fact that Indonesia is seeing a large increase in the number of people entering the workforce, youth unemployment is of great concern and must be quickly addressed,” she said, adding that the government should move fast to implement policy reforms and fiscal incentives, while continuing to maintain political stability to improve the country’s investment climate.

On women’s empowerment, she mentions that the government should be more serious in coming up with policies that provide women with more opportunities to participate in the economy, for example, by relaxing regulations on credit extension to make it easier for women to have access to financing. “The more women participating in the economy, the more income is generated,” she said.