Togetherness is the Key

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The soft-spoken president director and CEO of Bank NISP, Pramukti Surjaudaja, gives the impression of being a very serious man. But as everyone knows, first impressions can be deceiving, and every now and then Pramukti cracks a joke to lighten the mood.

Pramukti comes across as a warm and modest person, especially when asked what formula he uses to ensure the success of Bank NISP. Thanks to him, the bank, originally just a minor bank in Bandung, has been transformed into a solid and well-reputed private bank.

NISP has won a number of awards nationally, regionally and internationally. It was named “Best Domestic Commercial Bank in Indonesia” by Hong Kong’s Asiamoney magazine in 2002, named “Best Bank in Indonesia for 2003” by Euromoney Magazine and “Best Emerging Market Bank in Indonesia 2004” by Global Finance Magazine of New York.

Pramukti was awarded the Golden Trophy 2006 for “Excellent Performance for Five Consecutive Years” by InfoBank magazine.

It cannot be denied that NISP was able to win all these awards thanks to Pramukti’s capable hands in developing the bank so that its assets, worth only Rp 1 trillion in 1996, have ballooned to Rp 22 trillion in 2006. However, Pramukti is modest about the achievements.

“All this is the fruit of the hard work of all NISP stakeholders. This is a joint success, I’m not the only one responsible for this success,” said Pramukti, who was named Best CEO 2004 by SWA Magazine.

In his opinion, managing a company means maintaining togetherness, especially in corporate culture matters. Company management means making an effort so that all employees and all stakeholders of the company will enjoy various benefits.

“The bank’s management believes that if we can keep our staff happy in their jobs, it will result in business continuing to grow and our customers and investors will have peace of mind after depositing their funds at NISP,” he stressed.

In realizing this goal, Pramukti deems it necessary to involve all these elements in the creation of corporate values. About 1,000 employees are involved in this value creation.

“The creation of corporate values cannot be undertaken unilaterally, for example only by the board of directors. It must involve all employees because they will put the values into practice and enjoy the benefits,” he noted. As a result, following the creation of the bank’s values by the management and employees, NISP’s program to develop its business has run as expected. In its 61 years of existence — the bank was established in 1941 in Bandung — NISP has overcome various obstacles, survived crises and developed into a leading domestic bank.

If Pramukti gives the impression of being modest, it is due to his upbringing. Born in Bandung on July 1, 1962, his family prioritized harmony in all aspects of life. Despite the fact that they owned NISP, Pramukti did not immediately get a top position at the bank. However, his father, Karmaka Surjaudaya, now president commissioner of NISP, started introducing Pramukti to the family business as a teenager. While still at school, Pramukti learned the principles of accountancy, bank management, customer service and everything about the banking business.

After completing senior high school at St Aloysius, Bandung, he went to the United States to study finance and banking at the University of San Francisco, and earned an MBA degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He also took a special program on international relations at the International University of Japan in Niigata, Japan. He also took several executive programs at MIT, Stanford University and France’s Insead.

Pramukti was keen on learning and now tries to inspire all his employees to be enthusiastic about learning.

When Pramukti joined NISP in 1987, he started in the marketing department and was appointed managing director in 1989. In April 1997 he was named president director and CEO of NISP, a position he still holds. He said there were a lot of joys and sorrows in running the bank, especially when his family decided to list the it on the capital market and thereby give up full ownership.

The family resorted to going public because it was one way to ensure the growth and development of the bank. Then NISP established a strategic alliance with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank, as IFC was interested in providing long-term financial support and being an NISP shareholder. An alliance was also forged with the Overseas Chinese Bank Corporation (OCBC) of Singapore, now the majority shareholder of NISP with a 72.29 percent stake.

Pramukti says the family made the right decision in giving up full ownership of the bank, saying that this way the public gets more benefits. Today, NISP has 225 branches throughout the country and its employees, only about 900 people in 1996, now number about 4,000 people.

Despite his tight schedule, Pramukti always finds time to tend to his aquarium fish, in which he finds pleasure. Once in a while, Pramukti, who has one daughter, goes to Bandung to visit his extended family. He also likes diving. “I feel totally different when I dive and enjoy the time away from routine activities,” he said. He has visited most favorite diving sites, but has been unable to dive for a few years due to lack of time. (Maulana Yudiman)

The Jakarta Post, November 08, 2006
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