Sat, 15 Jan 2000

Pertamina's new president expected to be found soon

JAKARTA (JP): The new commissioners of the state oil and gas Pertamina expect to find a new president for the company in one or two weeks, Minister of Mines and Energy Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Friday.

Bambang, who is also president commissioner of Pertamina, said Pertamina's board of commissioners was currently studying potential candidates to replace the current president, Martiono Hadianto.

"We have yet to decide when to replace him (Martiono), but the sooner the better," Bambang told reporters at his office.

He said the new president of Pertamina should be capable and meet the criteria set by President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Abdurrahman, popularly known as Gus Dur, asked ministers on Thursday to select a new president for Pertamina -- someone who is honest, able to conduct transparent management and capable of leading Pertamina in an era of global competition.

Bambang declined to specify the reason why President Abdurrahman wanted to replace Martiono, but he denied the allegation that "Martiono has failed."

He said he understood that Pertamina's leadership needed "refreshing" as it was going to carry out the difficult task of turning itself into an efficient and productive oil and gas company.

When asked whether the government also intended to replace Pertamina's board of directors, Bambang said the government was currently only focusing on Martiono's replacement.

Separately, Martiono said he appreciated Gus Dur's intention to replace him and find a new leader for Pertamina.

"Gus Dur made a normal, clear and fair statement. It's normal that a president chooses new assistants who will go in-line with his or her policy," Martiono told reporters at a small meeting in Pertamina's head office.

Furthermore, he said, in setting the criteria for Pertamina's new leader, Gus Dur had publicly revealed the quality of Pertamina's future president, and as such had invited them to take part in controlling the new leader's performance.

Martiono also said that unlike former president Soeharto and B.J. Habibie, Gus Dur had opted to comply with existing regulations that require Pertamina's board of commissioners to nominate the candidates for Pertamina's president.

"Soeharto always handpicked Pertamina's new president by himself, but he did it such a way that his minister of mines and energy appeared to make the nomination," he said.

Pertamina's new board of commissioners was inaugurated yesterday by Gus Dur.

Asked whether a change in Pertamina's leadership would affect the company's current restructuring programs, Martiono said he expected that would not happen as the programs were in-line with the government's policies.

As part of the restructuring program, Pertamina would invite an international consultancy firm to evaluate the performances of Pertamina's directors and unit heads, Martiono said.

"We'll invite an international agency for this job, because I want the assessment to be objective," he said.

According to Martiono, there was a big chance one of Pertamina's employees could become president in the future.

"Out of 28,800 employees, we should have the right person," he said. (03)