Garuda Indonesia appoints new boss in shake up amid prostitution and smuggling scandals

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Irfan Setiaputra has been appointed as the new president director of beleaguered flag carrier Garuda Indonesia at an extraordinary general meeting with shareholders today.

Irfan, who led state-owned telecommunications company PT INTI from 2009-2012 and most recently was the CEO of private telecommunications firm Sigfox Indonesia, is tasked with steering Garuda away from several highly damaging scandals, which saw the dismissal of its former boss Ari Askhara and four other executives.

“I hope that Irfan Setiaputra can carry out his duties well and follows principles of good governance so he brings improvements to Garuda,” State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir told reporters today, as quoted by Detik. 

Ari was dismissed in December after he was caught smuggling Harley Davidson motorbike parts and expensive folding bikes using a brand new Garuda jet that was shipped from France. Soon after, greater turbulence rocked Garuda when a whistleblower going by the handle @digeeembok on Twitter made some super explosive allegations about the existence of transactional romantic and sexual affairs between Garuda executives and air hostesses.

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In addition to Irfan, Garuda shareholders also appointed, among others, former Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) head Triawan Munaf as first commissioner and former president Gus Dur’s daughter Yenny Wahid as an independent commissioner — an apt appointment considering her social activism, particularly in the field of women’s rights.

“Yenny Wahid is a very capable female figure. She is an independent commissioner, a representative of the public that we can trust,” Erick said.

Despite having had a rocky few months, some sense of pride was restored in Garuda when it was named the most punctual airline in the world recently.

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