Leading in Turbulent Times

A discussion with Jeff Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE 22 September 2016 Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric told members of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club (KLBC) that they should count themselves lucky that Southeast Asia was clocking any growth at all in the current economic climate.

He last addressed KLBC in 2005 when he talked about Transformation and Leadership. This time, his focus was on Leading In Turbulent Times. Speaking at a KLBC dinner at Menara CIMB, Immelt said the world was lacking strong growth levels, while also enduring wide-spread instability. With economic growth rates flat in Europe and Japan, only two percent in the United States, and falling in China, he said: “Southeast Asia may not look good to you but it’s better than anywhere else.”

“The notion is that if you are in this room waiting for a tailwind or visibility, you will wait a long time. Right now, you have to invest in your own growth.” In addition, rising protectionism in markets around the world means that corporations need to spread across borders and build operations in many different countries. Good risk management and resilience were key qualities needed by corporations in current times, he said.

Immelt, has been Chairman and CEO of GE since 2001 and has long and deep ties to GE. His father ran the aviation division of GE and he joined the multi-national conglomerate in 1982, rising through the ranks until 2001 when he became Chairman and CEO.

One of the questions posed to Immelt was about his 15-year tenure as CEO of GE where he had overseen five significant changes that have led to the company becoming broadly de-centralised, and significantly dependent on digital data. He said that these nest inside each other and it started with a few key factors: Portfolio change, a reinvestment in technology, globalisation, digitalisation and most recently, simplification. 

And what keeps Immelt up at night? It’s politics. The GE Chairman said the fundamental problem was that both politicians and businesses failed to “have a good enough sense for how important jobs are.” He added, “We have served our own self interests and we haven’t seen the impact of our actions on the average person. We need to have at the back of our minds a job counter, a wage counter. These things really matter.”

KLBC Diplomat Dialogue Series with HE Vicky Treadell, British High Commissioner 

28 September 2016 [View Report]

ABC– KLBC Business Mission to Vietnam

7 - 9 December 2016 [View Report]

KLBC in Jakarta, 15 – 17 April 2015


From  15 to 17 April 2015, the KLBC delegation consisting of 36 Malaysian business leaders led by HRH Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah  visited  Jakarta, Indonesia. The three-day affair was KLBC’s second official visit to Indonesia since 2006 and was aimed at gaining deeper insights on Indonesia’s business ecosystem from the government leaders as well as the business community.

The visit also enabled the delegation to keep abreast with new developments, opportunities and challenges facing Indonesia ranging from economic issues to geopolitical concerns. KLBC participants  had the unique experience of hearing from the policymakers themselves on the strategies of developing Indonesia’s 868 billion US dollar economy.

The delegation paid its first and most anticipated courtesy visit to the official residence of HE  Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia. The President had very frank and earnest discussion with participants on his experiences and the rationale behind his policies. 

The following day,  Winang Budoyo, Chief Economist of CIMB Niaga updated the delegation on Indonesia’s recent economic development and performance.  Winang shared with the participants his views on current issues affecting the country’s economy, such as the impact of the weak commodity market and subsidies rationalisation. The session was  beneficial , especially in preparing the participants for subsequent sessions with Government and business leaders. 

The delegation then paid a courtesy visit on HE  Dr. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Indonesia.  Key regional issues such as Indonesia’s role in integrating the ASEAN region through e-commerce and the region’s relationship with major economies such as Japan, China and the United States were discussed.

The Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) hosted the delegation for lunch at the Bunga Rampai Restaurant together with their key management team and partners. During the luncheon,  participants also had the opportunity to learn more about  investment opportunities and capital markets conditions in Indonesia through a presentation by  Ito Warsito, President Director of IDX.

After lunch,  the delegation met with HE  Abdurrahman Fachir, Vice President of Foreign Affairs for a discussion on Indonesia’s foreign policies and Indonesia’s role in the ASEAN Economic Community.

Later in the evening, the delegation had dinner with HE Dr. Sofyan Djalil, Coordinating Minister of the Economy at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, hosted by CIMB Niaga.  Several of CIMB’s top Indonesian corporate clients from various industries including agriculture, infrastructure, consumer products and services also attended the dinner which  provided an excellent platform for  KLBC members to expand their network and strengthen existing business relationships.

On the last day of the visit, the delegates paid a visit to Kamar Dagang dan Industri Indonesia (KADIN), Indonesia’s chamber of commerce. Participants had a productive engagement with KADIN’s committee members led by  Suryo Bambang Sulisto, Chairman of KADIN. 

The final courtesy visit for the participants was on Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance. The ministry, led by HE Prof. Mardiasmo, Vice Minister of Finance, shared with the participants their insight on  investment opportunities and incentives available in the country as well as the strengths and outlook of Indonesia’s economy.

Overall, the official visit provided an invaluable experience to the  KLBC members who attended in understanding the dynamics of the Indonesian business ecosystem, encompassing amongst others the country’s economic outlook, both foreign and domestic policies, geopolitics, crime and Indonesia’s role in ASEAN. In addition, the participants were treated with generous Indonesian hospitality. We hope that this visit will strengthen the existing ties between Malaysia and Indonesia as the region stands at the precipice of a new era of an integrated ASEAN Economic Community.

KLBC would like to extend its appreciation and thanks to our Royal Patron HRH Sultan Nazrin Muizuddin Shah, Chairman of Advisory Council Dato’ Rohana Mahmood and the organising committee led by President Tengku Dato’ Zafrul for the successful visit. We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to HE Gen (Rtd) Luhut Pandjaitan, Chief of Staff to the President and HE  Herman Prayitno, Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia, who had gone out of their way to assist KLBC in our preparations for the visit.