PT Astra International President Director Michael D. Ruslim Died

President Astra Michael Ruslim

PT Astra International President Director Michael D. Ruslim Died on Wednesday in Singapore at the age of 56, the company said.

He died at 7:08 a.m. Jakarta time at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore, after suffering from dengue fever and then from multiple complications.

Michael’s death shocked many people, especially his employees, as there was no prior sign of illness.

Astra corporate secretary Aminuddin said Michael had still worked until last Friday.

“On Saturday, he complained of having bad headache and had been taken to Medistra Hospital,” he said.

As his condition worsened, his family decided to fly him to Singapore Monday for further treatment.

Michael was appointed as president director of Astra, the country’s largest conglomerate, in May 2005.

He had previously served as director at several of Astra’s units.

Born in Bandung, on Nov. 29, 1953, Michael started his career in Astra in 1983. The Berkeley University alumni was known as a good leader and had a close relationship with his staff.

He successfully led Astra to cope with the impact of the global financial crisis which had greatly reduced the demand for cars.

He managed to stem the decline of the company’s car sales last year to 3 percent down from previous estimates of up to a 10-percent drop.

The media-shy manager rarely gave interviews but The Jakarta Post had the rare opportunity to interview him two years ago. Michael then talked about the company’s business and his optimistic view of 2009 despite the financial crisis.

Despite a 1.24-percent drop in Astra shares Wednesday to Rp 35,800 (US$3.8), analysts believed the passing of Michael will not affect Astra’s business as investors view the company as having strong foundations.

“It is just an adjustment [reaction] by the market,” head of research at Bhakti Securities Edwin Sebayang said.

Michael is survived by his wife Trisni Puspitaningtyas and two children Gisela Deamanda Prasadhistika and Mayongga Gilang Pragiwaksana.

He will be buried Thursday at the San Diego Hills cemetery park in Karawang, West Java.

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