Arifin Panigoro was born in Bandung, 14 March 1945. Being the firstborn of eleven siblings, he often helped his father, Yusuf Panigoro, who used to have a store located in Braga Street, Bandung. From his father, Arifin learned many valuable lessons about business.
Arifin’s talent for trade was not only passed down from his parents but also from his grandfather. His great-grandfather had begun business by selling yellow rice (nasi kuning) in Pasar Baru market, Bandung. His grandfather used to work as a batik merchant. Hence, growing up in an entrepreneur family encouraged him to become one.
When he was in college, he persuaded his colleagues to start an electric fixtures business called CV. Corona Electric. After graduating from ITB majoring in Electrical Engineering, instead of being a corporate employee, he expanded his business by founding PT. Meta Epsi Engineering.
In 1980, Arifin took a giant leap by setting a company that focused on drilling services called PT Meta Epsi Pribumi Drilling Company. Later on, the word “pribumi” (native) was dropped in line with Medco’s expansion to go international. His decision was considered courageous because at that time the drilling services business was dominated by foreign companies. Arifin brought Medco as a trusted drilling services company. However, he did not want to stop there. He wanted to upgrade Medco from a drilling service into an exploration and production company in oil and gas.
The achievement of Medco encouraged him to start a new type of business, ranging from fabrication and construction, property, agribusiness to banking.
Because of Arifin’s track record in the oil and gas industry and his tenacity to nurture new entrepreneurs in Indonesia, ITB awarded him the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa for Technopreneurship in 2010.
Aside from nurture entrepreneurial spirit, Arifin had concerned about the food security and energy crisis that threatened this country. He believes that Indonesia with the richness of natural and mineral resources has huge potential to reach energy and food self-sufficiency.
To overcome the national energy shortfall, Medco tried to carry out focused research on alternative energy and develop several businesses to produce bio-energy.
To solve the food crisis, Arifin supported Merauke Integrated Food & Energy Estate (MIFEE). He sent a team to manage rice fields. Out of a thousand hectares of managed rice fields, 300 hectares of which were successfully harvested in 2015. The first harvesting season at Kumai district, Merauke, was attended by The President, Joko Widodo in May 2015.
Arifin’s contribution to Indonesia can be seen everywhere. Some of his activities – outside the business – he did for public advantages, the nation that he loves, and for the better future.
In 2004, when the tsunami occurred in Aceh, Medco sent a team on the fourth day after the tsunami. A coordination post was built in Lamgaboh soccer field, Lhoknga. In the following years, Arifin Panigoro through Medco Foundation took an active role in natural disaster relief acts in several areas such as the 2006 earthquake in Yogyakarta, and the 2018 tsunami in South Sulawesi.
In recent years, Arifin shows interest in public health issues. Together with his wife, Raisis Kartiwa, they actively support the anti-tobacco and the anti-smoking campaign. From 2016 – 2018, he served as President of the 12th Asia Pacific Conference on Tobacco or Health. Currently, he becomes the adviser of the Indonesian National Committee on Tobacco Control.
As chair of the Board Stop TB Partnership Indonesia, Arifin encourages the coordination and collaboration among the government, public health practitioners, scholars, and physicians to fight against TBC disease. Moreover, Indonesia is listed as the world’s TB-burdened nation in terms of the number of sufferers. Because of his contribution to the TBC control program, Arifin was appointed as a member of the Presidential Advisory Board on 13 December 2019.
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