Outgoing Edelman boss voices concern over foreign clients scaling back in Indonesia



Stephen Lock, the outgoing boss of PR agency Edelman Indonesia, expressed concern today that foreign clients in the country are scaling back because of ongoing political uncertainty.

In a blog post on Edelman Indonesia’s website in which Lock reflected on one of the most difficult economic periods for Southeast Asia’s largest economy in some time, he said: “I am concerned at the number of foreign clients, across sectors, who are scaling down or delaying investment in Indonesia – state-owned industries alone will not deliver sustained growth – and I hope Indonesia gets the share of FDI [foreign direct investment] in the wider APAC region that it deserves.”

Lock ends four years in Jakarta where he was Indonesia CEO and Southeast Asia head of public affairs with a move to Brazil. Raymond Siva, the head of Edelman’s Malaysian operation, is moving to Jakarta to replace him as Indonesia CEO.

Lock wrote: “While there are many challenges for Indonesia – and perhaps the government’s grasp was never quite going to match its reach – I have come to learn that Indonesians have tremendous resilience and, just as the Asian Development Bank has recently confirmed, the medium-term outlook for Indonesia should remain positive.”

“If parliament and government can collaborate constructively, focusing less on sectoral micro-management and more on creating legal certainty to facilitate long-term private sector investment, I believe Indonesia should see a return to strong growth,” he said.

His comments come the week after WPP’s country head for Indonesia Ranjana Singh called Indonesia’s struggling economy “a matter of sentiment”.

“The business sector is being cautious; the exchange rate does affect their P&L. But a lot has to do with political dynamics and the policies and strategy of the new government – this is why they’re holding back,” she said.

“There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the economy. This is my challenge to the pessimists. I see no reason why GDP growth shouldn’t have been five per cent plus.”

One of Indonesia’s largest television stations told Mumbrella last week that advertising spend, most of which comes from consumer goods firms, has fallen by 12-14 per cent year on year as a result of the weak economy.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing