Zulkifli Zaini, the new PLN director. (B1 Photo/Uthan A. Rachim)

Former Banker Zulkifli Zaini Named as New PLN Boss

DECEMBER 23, 2019

Jakarta. State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir on Monday named veteran banker Zulkifli Zaini as the new president director of state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara and Amien Sunaryadi, the former deputy commissioner of the Corruption Eradication Commission, as its new president commissioner.

"Mr. Zulkifli has an excellent track record, the willingness to work hard and integrity. Mr. Amin [has those qualities] as well," Erick said in a statement. 

He said the company, known as PLN, would hold a shareholders meeting later on Monday to approve the decision. 

Zulkifli's appointment ended speculation in the past month about the return of Rudiantara, the former telecommunication and information technology minister, to PLN.

During a brief stint at PLN a decade ago, Rudiantara played a vital role in raising funds for the first stage of a massive power plant expansion across Indonesia, known as the 10,000-megawatt program. 

The appointment also continues a line of succession of former bankers in PLN's top management, quite possibly a good move from the government since the company must manage huge risks that come with the massive $28 billion debt it had accumulated in the past ten years to pay for the power plant and electricity grid expansion. 

Zulkifli is a veteran banker who made his career at state-controlled Bank Mandiri. He was Mandiri's president director from 2010 to 2013. After stepping down, he served as an independent commissioner at Bank Negara Indonesia.

Amien was a deputy commissioner at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) from 2003 to 2007. He then worked at the World Bank's Jakarta branch and as an auditor at Ernst and Young before taking up a post at the upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas.

Erick said he would like to hold regular talks with both men to make sure the government's priority programs in the electricity sector are being followed.

"I will meet with them every month to ensure synergy between PLN's plans and the government's priorities," he said.

Erick said PLN is facing a series of tough tasks, starting from bringing up the electrification ratio to 100 percent to working out new electricity tariffs that will not burden the public or the industry.

The PLN leadership has also been tasked with increasing the use of renewable energy, particularly in Indonesia's new capital city in East Kalimantan.

"PLN will create a healthy business ecosystem together with the private sector and regionally owned and village-owned enterprises to produce electricity. PLN will focus on distribution in the partnership," Erick said.