BRI president director Suprajarto is defying an apparent demotion ordered by the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry. (Antara Photo/BRI)

Top Exec's Resignation Shakes Up State Lenders' Reshuffle Plan

BY :ARIS CAHYADI & NIDA SAHARA

AUGUST 30, 2019

Jakarta. The State-Owned Enterprises Ministry's latest attempt at shuffling the top executives of its state-controlled lenders has hit a major snag after one of them rejected an apparent demotion. 

Suprajarto said he would retire from his post as president director of Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), the country's largest lender by assets, rather than take up the top position in Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN), another state-owned lender a quarter the size of BRI.

"I was never consulted about the appointment," Suprajarto said late on Thursday. 

Earlier in the day, the SOE Ministry had called in an extraordinary shareholders meeting, which agreed to replace Maryono, the current BTN president director, with Suprajarto. 

"I found out [about my reassignment] from the media. I had been appointed as BTN's new president director, [but the ministry] never approached me to talk about it," he said.

"Therefore, I could not accept this appointment," said Suprajarto, who in two years at BRI has helped grow the lender's assets to surpass that of Bank Mandiri.  

The ministry said they hoped Suprajarto would reconsider his decision.

Gatot Trihargo, the deputy for financial, surveyor and consultancy services at the SOE Ministry, said Suprajarto was the ideal person to help BTN double or even triple its financial performance according to government target. 

The lender, which specializes in mortgages, also holds the key in the government's grand strategy to end the country's housing backlog, Gatot said. 

"Mr. Suprajarto is a high-caliber official with a long track record, from Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) to BRI. He should be able to handle BTN as well," Gatot said. 

The scuffle seemed to have confirmed rumors that the government is seeking to replace all its top executives at state-owned banks – Mandiri, BRI, BNI and BTN.

BNI is scheduled to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting today. 

The State Palace tried to refute the rumor earlier this month, with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announcing there should be no change in the top echelons of state-owned enterprises or ministries until October 2019. 

It now appears the statement may just be smoke and mirrors.

"[Suprajarto's reappointment] was a directive from Ms. Rini [Soemarno, the State-Owned Enterprises Minister] after a consultation with the president. For all issues related to large SOEs, Ms. Rini always communicates with the president," Gatot said. 

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