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Capital Markets

Wirjawan aims to clean up in Indonesian private equity

Having brushed with Indonesian politics, Gita Wirjawan knows how dirty it can be. Business development has more to offer his country, he reckons, hence his Indonesia-centric private equity business Ancora, which is attracting investors from the wider Muslim world. Eric Ellis reports.

Gita Wirjawan

"I like being on the buy side, I like making money, and making a difference"

Gita Wirjawan

GITA WIRJAWAN MIGHT well be the Barack Obama of corporate Indonesia. Bright, polished, accessible and youthful, JPMorgan’s former country head in Jakarta even looks a little like the US Democratic nominee for the White House. Like Obama, who happened to be schooled in Jakarta as a youth, Wirjawan preaches fundamental root-and-branch change to how his country runs and presents itself. Although he has spent much of his life outside Indonesia, Wirjawan is no less Indonesian for the experience. A rare cleanskin in Jakarta’s business hornet’s nest, Wirjawan is a true believer in what Indonesia can be.

Where Obama’s platform is politics, Wirjawan’s is business. He toyed with a political career a few years ago but his bumping up against Indonesia’s rancid political culture left him a little bruised and disillusioned. Having brought his children back to Jakarta to be raised as proud Indonesians, he now believes the change Indonesia so sorely needs can be effected by properly directed business.

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