Susi Pudjiastuti (born 15 January 1965) is an Indonesian entrepreneur. She is Indonesia's Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries under President Joko Widodo's 2014-2019 Working Cabinet. She is also the owner of PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product, a seafood export company, and PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation, which operates Susi Air charter airline.
Early life, family, and education
Pudjiastuti was born January 15, 1965, in Pangandaran, West Java, the daughter of Haji Ahmad Karlan and Hajjah Suwuh Lasminah. She is Javanese, but her family are fifth-generation settlers of Pangandaran which is predominantly Sundanese. Her family business engaged primarily in real estate and livestock trade.
Following junior high school, Pudjiastuti continued senior high school at SMA Negeri 1 Yogyakarta, but did not complete her studies after she was expelled for political activism in the Golput (Golongan Putih, or absenteeism in protest of Golkar rule) movement, which was banned under then President Suharto's New Order. Pudjiastuti is the first Indonesian minister to have never completed a High School education.
Susi Pudjiastuti has three children, Panji Hilmansyah, Nadine Kaiser, and Alvy Xavier. Her first son, Panji Hilmansyah, died aged 31 at January 2016 in Florida due to heart failure. Susi is divorced and is known to have tattoos and be a chain-smoker.
Entrepreneurship and Susi Air
In 1983 Pudjiastuti embarked on a career as an entrepreneur, starting as a seafood distributor at a Fish Auction Facility (TPI) in Pangandaran. Her distributorship evolved into a seafood processing plant in 1996 named PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product which specialized in export-quality lobsters packaged as "Susi Brand." PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product expanded and began exporting its products to Asia and America.
The growing demand for PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product's fresh seafood lead to rapid air transport as a necessity for the business. In 2004, Pudjiastuti acquired a Cessna 208 Caravan and established PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation. The Cessna was given the call-sign "Susi Air" and was used to transport fresh Indonesian seafood to Jakarta as well as overseas to Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan.
During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami which devastated Aceh and the west coast of Sumatra, Susi Air, which at the time only consisted of two Cessna Grand Caravans, was one of the first responders which distributed food and supplies to victims in isolated areas of the disaster. During this period, Susi Air was routinely chartered in Aceh by NGOs for humanitarian relief missions. The revenues earned from the NGO Aceh missions enabled Susi Air to acquire new airplanes and expand its fleet to routes in Papua and Kalimantan. Susi Air is now the largest operator of Cessna Grand Caravans in the Asia Pacific region
Appointment to Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries
On 26 October 2014, President Joko Widodo appointed Pudjiastuti as Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries under his 2014-2019 working cabinet. Prior to accepting her appointment, Pudjiastuti relinquished her position as President Director of PT ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product and PT ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation.
On 16 September 2016, WWF awarded her as one of the Leaders for a Living Planet Award. This is in recognition on her efforts as Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to forward a sustainable development in Indonesian fisheries sector, conservation of marine ecosystem, as well as her fierce crackdown on illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.