Businessmen of the cocktail circuit in Jakarta have been wondering what’s happened to John Arnold, who recently retired as the head of Ernst & Young Indonesia. John – well known not least because he wears many hats at one time or another, such as head of BritCham, an active member in Indonesia Business Links and a dozen other organizations – was for a while being seen and in the cocktail circuit enjoying his retirement but restless for new challenges.
Unspun has heard from the grapevine that his wishes have come true. According to Unspun‘s sources John has been appointed to head APCO Indonesia. APCO, as those in the communications trade would know, is a well-known public affairs (read lobbying) worldwide company in the US.
In Indonesia it also does public affairs but with a large dose of what one of John’s predecessors, Hans Vriens, has described in an Amcham meeting as “high class PR” (probably means usual PR with a high price tag to it). IT apparently has about 14 consultants and does count as it advisors some impressive names such as former Foreign minister Ali Alatas, Tempo English editor Yuli Ismartono and Former President Gus Dur’s Spokesperson Ratih Hardjono.
John has his job cut out for him. APCO, says industry gossip has been on the downhill since Hans left a couple or more years ago. So John has the unenviable task of using all his experience in EY and other chambers of commerce, as well as his formidable stable of contacts, to revive the business and handle the controversial issues that might bump up against a PA firm, such as its handling of the Altimo account.
Congrats and Good Luck John.