Unlike others who had a head-start given the previous generation’s achievements, Sukanto Tanoto had a humble beginning and he build his empire from scratch. He did not even have a proper education to serve as his trampoline towards success, all he had was the perseverance, dilligence and spirit of excellence.
Today, Sukanto Tanoto is the Founder and Chairman of RGE, a global resource-based manufacturing group of companies comprising of: APRIL – Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Ltd and Asia Symbol operating in the pulp and paper industry, Asian Agri and Apical in the palm oil industry, Sateri International (listed in HongKong Stock Exchange) in the rayon and specialty pulp industry, as well as Pacific Oil & Gas in the energy industry. The group of companies have corporate offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Beijing and Nanjing, and manufacturing operations in China, Indonesia and Brazil. Their sales offices are widely distributed globally and well represented in each continent. As of today, RGE has assets exceeding US$20 billion worldwide and a workforce of 60,000 employees globally.
The history of the company goes back to 50 years ago when young Sukanto Tanoto started his first business supplying spare parts to the oil and construction industries. Following his success, he ventured into other sectors such as the plywood business, palm oil and power generation. After years of sowing, Sukanto Tanoto finally reaped some fruits of his labour. Today however, despite all his successes, Sukanto Tanoto also set up Tanoto Foundation to help to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living of the community in the region.
Sukanto Tanoto is a self-educated entrepreneur because he had an interrupted education when he was young. However, this did not stop him from learning. He learned English word-for-word using a Chinese-English dictionary and finally attended business school in Jakarta in the mid-1970s. He also undertook further studies at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. Today, Sukanto Tanoto is a member of the INSEAD International Council, the Wharton Board of Overseers, the Wharton Executive Board for Asia, and various other educational, community and industry bodies. In 2013, he is also the recipient of the Wharton School Dean’s Medal Award, which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the enlargement of the global economy and to the improvement of lives worldwide. Past recipients of the award include Chiefs of State, Nobel Prize winners, and Chairmen and CEOs of companies.
In 1997, Sukanto Tanoto chose to settle in Singapore with his family, establishing his company’s headquarters there as a stepping stone to grow the company globally. However, he continues to hold an Indonesian passport and citizenship and is still contributing significantly to the economy of the country. His businesses today are still expanding and growing, creating values and impacting the people from all over the world.
To find out more about Sukanto Tanoto and his businesses, please visit www.sukantotanoto.net.
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