Nadiem Makarim becomes Indonesia’s education minister

Gojek co-founder and former CEO Nadiem Makarim has been appointed minister of education and culture in Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s new cabinet.

Makarim’s departure from Gojek to take up a government post was announced earlier this week, though his exact role wasn’t confirmed until today.

There had been widespread speculation that he would be taking on a digital economy-related portfolio – leading to concerns about potential conflicts of interest given Gojek’s star status in Indonesia’s tech ecosystem.

Gojek confirmed yesterday that Makarim would not retain “any executive or advisory role” with the company. However, a spokesperson later indicated that the former Gojek CEO will hold on to his stake in the company as a “passive shareholder.”

Now that he has been unveiled as education and culture minister, Makarim would appear to be at arm’s length from his former company, helping to allay conflict-of-interest concerns.

Gojek co-founder Kevin Aluwi and the company’s former president, Andre Soelistyo, have taken over as co-CEOs. Aluwi will focus on product development and Gojek’s transport and food delivery businesses, while Soelistyo will oversee capital allocation, international expansion, and the company’s financial services business.

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