Thomas Trikasih Lembong is an experienced Indonesian investment banker. From 2000 to 2002, Lembong was the head of asset management and investment at the now dissolved Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency. A Harvard graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Lembong founded Quvat Management, a Singapore-based private equity firm. He serves as chairman of the board for PT Graha Layar Prima, an Indonesian holding company that operates the large movie theater chain Blitzmegaplex.
Why is he in the news?
President Joko Widodo on August 12 appointed Lembong Indonesia’s new trade minister, replacing Rachmat Gobel, as part of a cabinet reshuffle that also saw the inauguration of four new ministers and the shifting of another to a new portfolio. Jokowi undertook the reshuffle in large part due to frustration with his economic team’s failure to boost the underperforming economy and weakening rupiah.
What can we expect?
Lembong has a strong private sector background, as well as experience in rescuing Indonesia’s banking sector from nonperforming debts during the early 2000s. However, some observers worry that he may lack experience in setting national policies.
The new minister is beginning his tenure at a difficult time, as the region is trending toward greater economic integration while Indonesia continues to enact a number of protectionist policies and remains lukewarm toward trade and investment liberalization. Lembong has been tasked with helping to recharge Indonesia’s economy and reform domestic firms so that they can better compete with foreign businesses.