Short Biography

Wimar Witoelar

Last Updated: November 2012

Current profile

  • Public Relations Consultant with InterMatrix Communications
  • political analyst,'Today"s Indonesia' on The Indonesian Channel-TV
  • Founder and Chief Editor, syndicated radio talk show Perspektif Baru (New Perspectives)
  • Adjunct Professor, School of Communication and Creative Arts, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Australia
  • former Editorial Advisory Committee, Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal
  • Newspaper and magazine columnist
  • Public speaker by invitation

Public Activities

From early days as Chairman of the Student Council at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology), he has been a socially concerned independent. In the days of Soeharto this has resulted in political isolation and detention but because of his network of politically active friends and family, he has never really been an outsider. Sudden national recognition resulted from his critically acclaimed television talk show 'Perspektif' (1994) before it was banned by the Soeharto government. Soon afterwards he reappeared in an entertainment talk show 'Selayang Pandang' (1997-2000) in which he won three consecutive national television awards, one as 2nd runner-up and twice as Most Popular Male Talk Show Host. Wimar assumed a higher profile as a political activist during the final years of Soeharto. After Soeharto fell from power, Wimar was recruited as Chief Presidential Spokesman for reformist President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Currently Wimar is fully engaged in the private sector. He still holds a position as Adjunct Professor in Journalism and Public Relations from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. However, he is best known as a media personality. Television and radio engagements present his public profile in addition to personal appearances and articles by and about him in Indonesian and international media. Although his commentary covers a broad range of topics, he is best known as a public affairs commentator, his trademark is the application of common sense to provide perspectives on a diverse range of topics. In the same month he can be a judge in the Miss Indonesia contest, speak at an exclusive dinner in the diplomatic circle of Jakarta, and act as commentator to the President's annual speech to the parliament. For most audiences, Wimar's witty delivery is the most attractive feature, brightening up all kinds of dry topics.

His run of television shows after the presidential spokesmanship is highlighted by the talk show "Wimar's World" weekly on JakTV, regular panelist on "Gubernur Kita" on the same station, "Perspektif Wimar," a daily morning show on Star-Antv, and the respected current affairs talk show “Wimar Live” on Metro TV. Recently he started the English-language "Talk Indonesia" with Rahayu Saraswati and hosted by Dalton Tanonaka. He subsequently resigned in disappointment at the conduct of the tv news editor. Wimar was a regular panelist during the entire life span of the ABC TV Asia Pacific current affairs weekly show ' The Editors' broadcast from Singapore. He frequently appears as guest on television and radio talk shows. WImar is pioneering citizen tv with a series labeled "tvTWO" on YouTube, with a website http://tvtwo.info. Currently he is starting a daily talk show 'Wimar Show'in collaboration with Radar TV, part of the Jawa Pos television group. He started a public affairs interview program on radio under the name “Perspektif Baru” (New Perspectives) which has grown into a syndicated nationwide radio talk show with around 150 member stations and full-page transcripts in 13 newspapers. His current affairs website perspektif.net is widely rated among the best in the country.

Wimar has written numerous articles and is frequently quoted in Time, Newsweek, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Straits Times, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review . He was a columnist for Singapore's TODAY newspaper, Australian newspapers and UK's The Guardian. Wimar had a cartoon column in HUMOR magazine and a business column in the tabloid KONTAN and Business Week Indonesia. He writes in periodicals including Indonesia's largest daily KOMPAS. His columns are now a regular feature in the lifestyle magazines AREA and Djakarta! and his public perspectives are presented in regular columns for the major daily Seputar Indonesia and the leading English language daily The Jakarta Post.

Wimar has published several books starting from academic works such as “Ancillary Firm Development in Asia” published in Japan and “Small and Medium Business Development in Indonesia”, His most popular work internationally is ' No Regrets', a memoir of his days with President Wahid published by Equinox Publishing and available at amazon.com. Written in English, it was successfully launched in Jakarta, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, New York and Washington DC. He has written countless testimonials and forewords in aspiring writers books. His previous books (in the Indonesian language) include the playfully ideological 'Towards an Ordinary People's Party' and 'Stealing Clarity from Confusion' both reprinted by popular demand, and his first book in communications, 'Perspektif', based on the landmark television show. His latest book is ‘More About Nothing', a sequel to ‘A Book About Nothing ', a collection of short pieces on his personal reflections previously published in lifestyle magazines. The prominent Indonesian novelist Fira Basuki recently published an informal biography on Wimar titled 'Hell, Yeah!', written in Indonesian.

Wimar is an avid blogger and active in social media. Today he is active on koprol and has close to 140,000 followers on twitter and the maximum 5,000 on Facebook.

Professional Career

Wimar started out in 1975 teaching and conducting research at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He is now Adjunct Professor at Deakin University (Australia), after a period as Visiting Professor in Journalism and Public Relations in early 2002. Holding three university degrees including an MBA in Finance and Investments, he has focused on management topics. He later became a management consultant, serving clients ranging from the Asian Development Bank to Indonesian government agencies and private sector companies.

Highlights of his research and consulting work include

1. Systems studies: Energy System for the Washington DC Metropolitan Area (1974), Indonesian National Resilience System (1975-1977), Indonesian Higher Education Planning and Budgeting System (1978-1980), Jakarta Long-Term Transportation System (1978-1980), Bandung Institute of Technology Management Information System (1978-1981).

2. Development Studies: Ancillary Firm Development in the Automotive Industries of Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand (1976-1981), Development of IMT-GT (Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle), Development of BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines East Asean Growth Area), Bintan Island Economic Development Study (1983), Small Industries Development Study (1982).

3. Corporate planning and restructuring: PT Bukit Asam (largest coal mining company, 1988-1990)), PT Timah (largest tin mining company, 1991-1993)), Perusahaan Gas Nasional (the national gas company, 1889), PJKA (the national railways, 1979-1982).

4. Financial sector activities: Wimar has been active in the financial sector, founding the first privately owned Venture Capital Company and holding the Chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Venture Capital at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN).

5. Public Relations: Various services for major National and Multinational Corporations. operating in Indonesia, all managed by InterMarix Communications, a leading PR and communications in Jakarta. In 1996 the success of his media career caused him to shift the focus of his consulting firm InterMatrix Indonesia (founded 1986). InterMatrix now provides media and public relations services as well as event organizing. They serve a diverse list of clients including PT TELKOM, PT Semen Padang, Paiton Energy, Cemex, The World Bank, Unilever Indonesia and others listed in www.intermatrix.co.id. Wimar is frequently invited to speak on current topics and communications issues to general audiences, corporate management briefing sessions and corporate annual meetings.

Education Background

Studied at ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) transferred to the George Washington University in Washington, DC, USA and graduated in 1975 with an MBA in Finance and Investments after receiving the MS in Systems Analysis and BS in Electrical Engineering.
Taught at the ITB, full-time in 1975-1981 and part-time in the Post Graduate program up till the present. Fields of teaching include Financial Analysis and Corporate Strategy.

Personals

Born July 14, 1945 in Padalarang, West Java, youngest of five. His wife, neurologist Suvatchara Witoelar, passed away in 2003. They have two sons Satya Tulaka (1975) is an architect and web developer now employed by Yahoo. He is married to Dyah Sekar Sari Kusumo Wardani, a practicing architect. They have a daughter Kirana Ardianti (2007). Younger son Aree Widya (1978) is a PhD in mathematics and computer science, now on a Post-Doctoral research project at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Aree is married to Cinthya Sopaheluwakan, a physics graduate of ITB with an MBA from Hanzehogeschool Groningen and currently an avid writer of magazine articles.

Office; PT InterMatrix Indonesia Phone +62811-811291 Email wimar@witoelar.com (direct) Twitter and Koprol account name: @wimar

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