Soriano: The son rises: The business values of Anthoni Salim

“Don’t be afraid to hire professionals.”

The Salim Group

It is one of Indonesia’s biggest conglomerates with assets including Indofood Sukses Makmur, the world’s largest instant noodle producer, and Bogasari, a large flour-milling operation. The group was founded by Sudono Salim, also known as Liem Sioe Liong or LSL. LSL is the father of Anthoni Salim, the youngest son and successor.

The Salim Group also owns major oil palm plantations and logging concessions. Salim Group has been involved in property development and the leisure development and the leisure industry for around 30 years. Its businesses include hotel and resort development, golf courses, and commercial real estate.

First Pacific Company

First Pacific Company Limited is a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company with operations located in Asia. It involves telecommunications, consumer food products and infrastructure. Its chairman is Anthoni Salim, an Indonesian Chinese entrepreneur.

The CEO and managing director is Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Anthony’s management principles

Anthony Salim is Indonesia’s third richest businessman with an estimated net worth of more than $10 billion. He started managing the Salim group in 1992. He was anointed as the successor at age 44. Like his father, he himself manages the business under certain principles.

He is the type of person who opts to learn by actually doing and by being involved.

Hands-on experience as what others put it, is indeed, the best teacher. To quote Anthoni, below are some of his management principles:

• Don’t be afraid to hire professionals;

• Have an open mind and heart;

• Try to create an environment based on your needs and principles; and

• You have to force yourself to learn new materials and make contacts.

Guided by a group of professional managers

The Salim Group’s board of executive directors is composed of professional managers who have been with the company for many years. Manny Pangilinan is one of his trusted professionals managing the Philippine and Hong Kong operations. These professionals receive very good incentives for their services. This only supports Anthony’s other principle of not being afraid to hire professionals.

Business first family business

So, how does a family like the Salims manage the business? They made a clear distinction. Family and business operations are two separate things. To them it is a MUST to do so. Anthony mentioned that, “We must keep business and personal matters separate.”

“Pick the right horses to run for you”

The Salim Group never rests on its laurels. The large conglomerate always seeks to take on the next big thing; always up and looking forward for something – “opportunity-driven” as how Anthony describes it.

The values, which father and son have, are complementary: trust and honesty. Anthony values trust as Liem Sioe Liong values honesty.

The current head of Salim Group, metaphorically compares getting the right people for the business to picking the right horses to run for you. He advises that once you have already chosen the people, trust them; but if you do not, do not choose them. While Anthony thinks that trust is good; on the other hand, he thinks that control is better.

For over 60 years, the Salim Group has expanded from trading to many other commercial areas and made loyal connections. After many years, we see through the living example of this business that grew from hard work, perseverance, planning, appreciation of others’ point of view, trust, honesty and many other positive qualities. Thus, it is a prime proof that success is born out of real values, reflecting how much a leader places importance to certain ideals.

If wealth truly does not pass three generations, at least these values were embraced and embedded in the hearts and minds of Salim’s third generation family members and the many other people who have worked for the Salim Group.

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