Finding that rhythm: Tony Wenas on running a company

PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) President Director Tony Wenas was recently interviewed by Indonesian newspaper Investor Daily. He shared uncanny parallels in his life, between his father and himself, as well as music and his career.

An Orchestra and a Company

Tony Wenas holding APRIL’s PEFC/IFCC certification

Tony Wenas (third from right) holding APRIL’s PEFC/IFCC certification

He likens a company to an orchestra, in which each musician, regardless of their different instruments, must be able to competently play the right notes, so that the whole ensemble can produce a beautiful harmony together.

He applies this principle to the running of RAPP, an Indonesian-based subsidiary of APRIL Group, one of the largest, most technologically advanced and efficient makers of pulp and paper products in the world.

Similar to an orchestra, all employees should share the same vision and mission, despite their varying duties and responsibilities.

For Mr Wenas, who is also APRIL Group’s Indonesia Operations Managing Director, leading the company is similar to leading a band or an orchestra. He said:

While a conductor may not be able to play the violin or the guitar well, but he should have the ability to create harmony. Similarly, a leader in a company should be able to play an appropriate role for his employees of different expertise to collectively realise our vision and mission.

The avid music lover Tony Wenas has also played in a band Solid ’80, which he formed with friends in 1980. He played the keyboard and guitar, and also did vocal duties. The band achieved moderate success in Indonesia.

Tony Wenas and Solid Band

Mr Wenas (second from left) with his band, Solid ’80.

Tony Wenas: Staying honest and focused

There is a common thread that runs between his musical exploits and his corporate career. The law graduate applied for a job, wide-eyed and without having any connections. He leveraged his training to understand various aspects of the business, as he believed each had a legal dimension worth attending to.

His passion for learning continued as he moving across industries, sectors and departments. In every change in environment, he overcame the challenge of adjusting to its respective shareholders, employees and directors.

While his parents wanted him to be an engineer, they let him pursue his dreams so long as he remained honest and focused – the very same principles he applies to RAPP as President Director.

Mr Wenas opines that in the natural resources sector, which has many challenges in the areas of land, forests and community stakeholders, it is important for a company like RAPP to run its operations smoothly.

Having previously harboured thoughts of an early retirement, Mr Wenas believes that it is still worthwhile to be a contributing member of RAPP and the community, while staying focused and honest. This orchestra is in good hands.