INSEAD Participant Interview

Interview With a Past Participant of the International Directors Programme

Satrijo Tanudjojo

CEO of Nexans China

Satrijo Tanudjojo is CEO of Nexans China, a global player in the infrastructure, industry, building and Local Area Network (LAN) markets.

Satrijo is a former participant of the International Directors Programme and recipient of the INSEAD Certificate in Corporate Governance.

Can you please introduce yourself?

I am the CEO of Nexans China, where we have a fully and partly owned business. I have been in the role for the past five years. Prior to this I worked for Areva. And before that, I worked for Schlumberger for 20 years. As CEO, I am responsible for a full scope of the business.

What are the greatest challenges you face as CEO?

China has been growing fast since early 1990s. Its growth has slowed down in the recent years. The growth presents several challenges. Talent recruitment and retainment is one particular challenge. The increasing labour cost is also a challenge that must be faced, for example the cost of plant managers or technical managers can be equally expensive as in Europe. With the slowing growth that started in the recent past, different challenges have emerged. Business has become increasingly difficult with a very strong competitive landscape from both local players and multinational players.

Was the programme what you expected? And what were the highlights?

I joined because I had never completed any formal board training. I was looking to gain some academic & practical knowledge to gauge as to whether what I was doing as CEO and board member was right or wrong and how my role could be improved.

Ultimately, I was hoping to gain insights into how to run a board in a more effective way.

There were three highlights and key learnings that stood out:

  • The board exists to give direction and vision to the business/organisation. Very often the board does not do that
  • The board dynamic is very important. They cannot be statues. They have to act and react. Getting boards to do this can be quite challenging, particularly in a situation where you have a multi-cultural board. It can be complex managing the different approaches.  The programme covers this well
  • Boards have to make decisions, in particular about the CEO. They are not there for show

Do you feel you came away with new knowledge and insights?

I went onto the programme with an open mind and as such, I came away with new knowledge, yes.

How do you perceive the value of the INSEAD Certificate in Corporate Governance?

The Certificate gives you a goal to work towards. It pushes you. This gives it great value as it forces you to grow and it gives you recognition.

How do you think the participant mix added to the programme’s value?

You learn a lot from the others. You are surrounded by very experienced board members. The experiences that they have, and share, are very valuable. I have kept in contact with several of the participants. What you see is that you are not alone and that no matter the market you work in, the industry you are involved with, the challenges are similar and you can learn and get support from others.

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