|Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Rajawali Group|
About Peter Sondakh
Peter Sondakh, 57, is a billionaire of Indonesian origin and is primarily known for his Indonesian-based PT Rajawali Corporation.
Early Life of Peter Sondakh
Peter Sondakh was born in 1953 in Indonesia. His father started a business of producing coconut oil and exporting timber in 1954. By 1971, Sondakh had dropped out of dentistry school against his father’s wishes and joined the family business. He was given the work of collecting timber in the fields. His dissatisfaction led him to start a small business with his savings and some of his father’s money. The small business built low-income houses for the poor. Sondakh’s business did not meet with much success and was closed down shortly.
Due to the sudden death of his father, Sondakh who was only twenty-two then, became the bread-winner for his family of a mother and four sisters. He took over his father’s business where most of the employees were of his father’s age. He even nurtured his father’s dream to open a hotel. By 1977, Sondakh had liaised with his father’s friends and built the Hyatt Hotel, whose shares he eventually had to sell in the property market crisis of 1982.
Building of Peter Sondakh’s Rajawali Empire
After losing a lot of money from his property dealings, Sondakh realized that it was time to start a more dependable means of income. He expanded his father’s business and in 1984, the Rajawali Corporation was created. Bambang Trihatmodjo, the son of the Indonesian president and dictator, Suharto, was his first business partner. Together, they built the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta and later, the first private television network in Indonesia, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI). Due to a dispute, the partnership ended in 2002 with Sondakh selling his share of stake in RCTI.
Other Business Deals by Sondakh’s Rajawali Group
Meanwhile, Sondakh had set up several branches of his business. In 1991, the Indonesian government offered him a sinking cigarette business – the PT Bentoel Group. By 1999, the revived company was already showing profits. A firm believer in the potential of Indonesian Tourism, Sondakh has founded Lombok Tourism Development Corporation. But till date, his most valuable stake is in Indonesia’s largest cement manufacturing concern – PT Semen Gresik.
The Rajawali Group is a partner in the construction of the Hyatt group of hotels and the Sheraton Novotel. In 2009, they acquired Surfers Paradise Resort Hotel Pty., Limited, an Australia-based operator of five star hotel and resort and recently built the posh St Regis Resort in Bali.
Peter Sondakh - The Man behind the Businessman
Sondakh is known as a considerate employer by his staff and is always on a quest to identify and rectify his weaknesses as a person. Sondakh’s office has several paintings and statues of eagles (the meaning of Rajawali in Indonesian). Although Sondakh owns a swanky vacation house in Beverly Hills, he remains a humble and devoutly spiritual man who still takes time to read bible every day.
The Rajawali Group has flourished enormously due to Sondakh’s persistent efforts and it now operates telecommunication, hotel, cement, consumer goods and retail/department store, and transportation businesses in Indonesia.