Business Accomplishments for a Better Community


Career and Organization

As one of the richest Indonesians according to Forbes, Sukanto Tanoto deserves the status thanks to his prolific business activities and his involvement in various organizations. Also, he has managed to educate his four children to get involved in family business and philanthropy activities, which ensure the continuing success of his many businesses and philanthropy activities. Born and raised in North Sumatra on Christmas Day in 1949, Sukanto Tanoto now becomes one of few Indonesian business people that have the name of their companies at New York Stock Exchanges.

Lists of Sukanto Tanoto’s Business Achievements

Sukanto Tanoto started his business by working on family business in general trade, but later developed it into car accessories and contractor companies. Here are lists of his achievements as a business person including his companies:

·         1968: he has a car accessories business in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra. Later, this business expanded into contractor business.

·         1972: he became director at CV Karya Pelita, the first local plywood company that supplied its products for national industry since the scarcity of imported plywood from Singapore.

·         1973: he became director for PT Raja Garuda Mas, the expansion of CV Karya Pelita, with his own plywood product branded Polyplex. He started exporting his products to other countries in Europe and Middle East.

·         1976 and 1979: he became director of two more log companies, PT Bina Sarana Papan and PT Overseas Lumber Indonesia. Both located in Medan.

·         1980: he became director of a palm oil company, PT Inti Indosawit sejati.

·         1983: he became owner of PT Inti Indorayon Utama, his first pulp company.

·         1986: he acquired United City Bank and changed it into Unibank.

·         2001: he became director of PT Riau Pulp, the biggest pulp factory in Indonesia.

This list has not yet comprised his overseas business in Norway, Singapore, Brazil and several other countries, as well as his business in less prominent yet nonetheless successful such as contractor business. In every Sukanto Tanoto biography, he always says that the secret of his success is endless motivation to learn, including learning from his mistakes. This is of course the reminiscent of some problems that he has experienced, such as when PT Inti Indorayen was temporarily closed because it was accused of polluting the environment.

Sukanto Tanoto’s Organization Activities

As a successful member of national and international business people, Sukanto Tanoto is also active in several clubs and organizations. He is currently the member of Young Presidents’ Organization, World Presidents Organzation, and the prestigious Mercantile Club as well as Hilton Executive Club. In Indonesia, he is the member of IFEA, Indonesia Financial Executive Association. Thanks to his successful business in America and Europe, he is now also the member of Canadian Pulp & Paper Association as well as Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum.

As a philanthropist, his activities do not just include Tanoto Foundation, but also in the funding of metabolism and endocrinology research at Duke NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, his current residency and business center. His regular funding to Carnegie Mellon is aimed to Tanoto Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Position.


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