Anderson Tanoto, the son of Indonesian-born entrepreneur and billionaire Sukanto Tanoto, is at 24 years old a rising star in the business world. Before joining his father’s RGE Group of natural resources manufacturing companies in the spring of 2013, Anderson Tanoto spent four years at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and another two years working with the global management firm Bain & Company. At the start of joining his father’s business, It did not come easy for him because there was no special treatment given to him as a second generation of the founder of the company. Anderson had to learn everything from scratch and communicate both with the people at the ground level and the senior management.
In a family business, succession planning is one inevitale process that is required at certain phase of the business. Often during this succession planning, entitlement issue becomes a problem in the second generation. Certainly it is true that second generation is able to use their name as a wedge or variance to achieve advantage over other people in the organization. They can depend on this entitlement to get things done, but this could potentially produce a negative effect on the morale of the other staffs in the organisation. The real danger comes when there is a communication breakdown between the second generation and senior management, creating unsightly conflicts that threaten the sustainability of the business. It is therefore, important to have a proper transition and integration process of the second generation, giving them time to learn and understand the business more, building the right relationship with the other staffs in the organisation. Sukanto Tanoto ensures that his son has the right knowledge and skills before giving him decision making rights.
The younger Tanoto brings a strong focus on community and philanthropy to his leadership position as part of the RGE executive team. In particular, he leads the Riau Ecosystem Restoration Project on Sumatra’s Kampar peninsula. The multi-million-dollar project is administered in cooperation with the RGE Group’s pulp and paper company Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL). It is designed to reforest and further conserve peat forest lands totaling more than 20,000 hectares in the province of Riau. Anderson Tanoto, the subject of a recent profile piece in the Jakarta Globe, represents a new generation preparing to make decisions that affect not only his family business, but also the broader and increasingly networked culture of global trade. The RGE Group of companies in the energy, palm oil, pulp, fiber, and paper sectors, represent a significant share of the world market for these commodities. In addition, the elder Tanoto is ranked among the dozen wealthiest individuals on Globe Asia’s list. Anderson Tanoto’s vision includes building on this already-strong foundation to grow RGE Group even further, keeping in mind his father’s guiding principle of benefiting company, community, and the planet equally.
In the interview with Jakarta Globe, Anderson shared about the businesses under RGE. APRIL’s Riau pulp and paper facility, which is among the world’s largest single-site mills, produces wood fiber products for a range of industrial and consumer uses. Another RGE company, Sateri Holdings Limited, ranks among the major cellulose producers for specialty markets. Anserdon also mentioned about the additional uses for such products, including in the manufacture of the coating cellulose typically applied to LCD screens. Pacific Oil & Gas on the other hand, has recently ventures to export liquefied natural gas from western Canada to an eager Asian market. These are just sneakpeaks to the many projects that the big group of companies are active in. We look forward to greater leadership brought by Anderson Tanoto to the company!