Ignasius Jonan has served as the President & CEO of Indonesian Railways, a public service based transportation company, since 2009. The Railways serve more than 210 million passengers and more than 22 million tonnes of goods annually. The Railways has approximately 28,000 permanent employees and 6,000 contract workers throughout Java and Sumatera. Ignasius was born 21st of June in Singapore, 51 years ago. He holds a Master of Arts in International Relational Relations from Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA and a Doktorandus in Accountancy from the School of Economics, Airlangga State University, Indonesia. In addition, he has attended The Senior Manager in Government Program at Kennedy School of Government – Harvard University, The Senior Executive Program at Columbia Business School – Columbia University and The Corporate Governance Program at Stanford Law School – Stanford University, all in the US. He is also Certified Public Accountant. Prior to the assignment, Ignasius was a Managing Director, The Head of Indonesia Investment Banking at Citigroup in 2006 to 2008. From 2001 to 2006 he was the President & CEO of PT. Bahana Pembinaan Usaha Indonesia (Persero), an Indonesian state-controlled financial institution.
When he embarked in his current post, Ignasius encountered a very different terrain. Problems faced by the Railways prior to 2009 were quite profound starting from basic business aspects, the declining quality of facilities and infrastructure, low service quality, as well as unsupportive regulations that did not favor the development of trains as a mass transportation system. This series of problems impacted the company’s financial performance, but Ignasius performed a number of swift rescues and quick wins to prevent severe financial bleeding. As an entrepreneur, he was willing to take risks by changing the company paradigm from being product oriented to be customer oriented. He also exercised initiative by choosing an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system to support his vision for sustainable business. The results showed from a loss of Rp.83 billion in 2008 to The Railways securing a net profit of Rp.155 billion in 2009. Since 2009, The Railways have been categorized as healthy state-owned company with an A rating.
Ignasius extends his work to address every aspect. For instance, he began with toilets. Ignasius considers station and train hygiene very important as a form of appreciation and indication of good service for passengers. The toilet provides the easiest clue to how far customer friendliness has become a priority in his company. This is why whenever he visits a station or train, the toilet is his target for inspection. Matters following included sterilization and re-organization of the stations where now dirty and chaotic stations crammed with hawkers is are no longer associated with the railways. Instead, one will find clean, spacious, neat and comfortable public facilities, welcoming
visitors and prospective passengers. The result of this improvement was confirmed by a comment from a leading lecturer of Gajah Mada University, Prof. Dr. Djamaludin Ancok, who had not used train services for several years. In early 2013, he rode the train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta and expressed his impressions to a mailing list: “It was just like in Europe”.
Ignasius decided to plunge into the “foul” world of Railways although he had to be willing to accept a much smaller income. Through this he is not only accustomed to all kinds of discomfort and irregularities but has also found a new passion; a passion to become a worthy person by serving others the best he can by staying true to the glory of serving. This is the spirit Ignasius has established for himself and transmitted to the entire group of staff and employees of the Railways. He has become a role model by not only talking but by acting what he preaches; Ignasius is a CEO who leads by example. “If you’re a good orator, that helps. If you have empathy, it really helps your leadership style. But if you don’t set examples or are passive, then you’re not fit as a leader,” said Ignasius about leadership principles.
Ignasius’ three dreams as the CEO of the Railways are: better services for customers at affordable prices; better logistic participation; and sustainable and adaptable organization. His love for his job and his his leadership made the Railways a successfully transformed company in Indonesia. It has brought him to be crowned the Best Of The Best CEO BUMN (State Owned Enterprise) 2013 by the Ministry of State Owned Enterprise.
The company’s vision is to be the best railway service provider by focusing on customer service and meeting stakeholders expectation, which its mission is to undertake the railway business and its supporting businesses through best practices and best organization models to create higher added value for the stakeholders and environment preservation based on the four main pillars: Safety, Punctuality, Services, and Comfort.