Indonesia president Joko Widodo has appointed Lion Air Group founder Rusdi Kirana as the country’s ambassador to Malaysia.
The appointment took place on 18 May, along with five other individuals named as ambassadors to various countries, says Indonesia’s Ministry of State Secretariat in a statement.
In a February interview with FlightGlobal, Kirana disclosed that his appointment as ambassador to Malaysia was imminent. The Lion Group has been aggressively expanding its Malaysian subsidiary Malindo Air, which is being rebranded into Batik Malaysia. The strategy is for Batik Malaysia to expand internationally, while Batik Indonesia feeds it passengers from Lion’s stronghold at home.
Kirana entered politics in 2014, when he joined a political party which contested in the legislative elections that year. At the start of 2015, Widodo appointed him as a member of the Presidential Advisory Board. With that appointment, Kirana stepped down as the group chief executive, replaced by Edward Sirait, who was Lion Air’s director of general affairs.