Sukanto Tanoto is the founder and Chairman of RGE. He started as a spare parts supplier to the oil and construction industry in 1967 before founding RGE in 1973.
RGE is a group of world-class companies with an asset base of over US$15 billion and have operations in Indonesia, China and Brazil and sales offices worldwide.
Founder and Chairman of RGE
From his humble beginnings as a spare parts supplier to the oil and construction industry in 1967, Sukanto Tanoto always had an entrepreneurial spirit and continually sought to grow and diversify his business.
His founding of RGE (then known as RGM) and entry into the plywood business in 1973 later proved a key turning point in his career. Having successfully established a presence in the industry, the far-sighted entrepreneur ventured into other resource-based industries such as pulp and paper, palm oil and power generation. Today, RGE is a group of world-class companies with an asset base of over US$15 billion and have operations in Indonesia, China and Brazil and sales offices worldwide.
One of his favourite advice to young entrepreneurs is to not pretend to know everything, but instead take the time to learn and analyse the best practices in the field, speak with relevant experts – be humble but resolute in one’s desire to learn.
Having been actively involved in philantropy since 1981, Sukanto Tanoto and his family officially established the Tanoto Foundation in 2001 as the philanthropic arm of the Tanoto family with the aim of supporting poverty alleviation efforts in countries and communities in which RGE businesses operate. The foundation champions poverty alleviation by supporting, developing or funding programmes under three focus areas: Education, Empowerment and Enhancement. Beyond these structured programmes, Tanoto Foundation also provides assistance to communities affected by natural disasters. The foundation runs on the same guiding principles entrenched in RGE group of companies – that business should be conducted in a manner that is good for the community, good for the country, good for the climate, and good for the company.
Sukanto Tanoto is a member of the INSEAD International Council, the Wharton Board of Overseers and various other educational, community and industry bodies. He is a recipient of the Wharton School Dean’s Medal Award, which recognises individuals for their contributions to the enlargement of the global economy and to the improvement of lives worldwide.