Part 32. How Luke Preece Ruined TBI Kuningan

You achieved rapid growth in both Sudirman and Kuningan. What are the key positions in terms of achieving growth in your experience?

In my opinion the most important person is the Officer Supervisor and the team of student assistants that she works with, as these are the front line people making sales.

Who oversaw and organized staffing changes at TBI Kuningan after Wati was appointed as School manager?

Luke Preece.

What decision did he make in terms of the Office Supervisor?

He decided to replace the current OS, A***, with Uli.

What was A***’s reputation in the school?

She had a reputation as efficient and was very well-liked by the other staff.

Where had Uli served beforehand?


What was Sudirman’s reputation at that point in terms of customer service and KPIs?

It was terrible really. The school had never once achieved a profit.

Would you have removed A*** from that school if you wanted Wati to succeed as a School Manager?

No I wouldn’t. In fact I had recommended to Luke that he leave A*** there because she was the person, besides me, who knew Menara Kuningan best.

Did he follow your advice?

No, he ignored it and replaced her with Uli.

What rationale did Luke give for ignoring your advice about Uli?

He said that they needed an experienced person to fix Fatmawati.

How did Uli work out at TBI Kuningan?

It was a complete disaster. Luke said he was tossing up firing her when he moved her out of there.

Did he toss up firing himself? After all he appointed her against your advice?

He never mentioned that as a possibility.

Someone who calls himself a close friend of Matthew France said last week in an anonymous email, “That stuff about Uli being a bitch on purpose was dreamt up by the minds of lunatics. All the teachers loved her!!!!!!” How do you respond to this assertion?

I still have emails from a number of teachers complaining about her. As usual ‘The Truth Regulator’ gets all the facts wrong.

Well let’s look at the facts surrounding her performance rather than the myth as created by the friends of Matthew France. On September 21st, 2010 teacher M*** wrote to you about Uli and said, “I think Ulli is a bit dodgy. She did ***** and ********’s passports but I got left out. But I don’t think I’ll get an apology from her.” Can you explain the circumstances surrounding this case?

It was a Kuningan teacher who hadn’t been provided with the correct documentation to leave the country due to a mistake of Uli’s. He thought he was going to lose his holidays because of her negligence. He had had to buy a second airline ticket because of her mistake.

Did TBI do the right thing and compensate this teacher for his financial losses?

Of course not.

He was admirably magnanimous in his responses then. The comment, “But I don’t think I’ll get an apology from her,” suggests she was perceived negatively by the teacher. What were her perceived weaknesses?

She made decisions before she had all the correct information and she was regarded as being abrupt and confrontational.

There was another email from September 28th in which the AcTeL complained that Uli was unilaterally making decisions about academic matters without consulting the Academic Team Leader. Let me quote: “Uli insists that we are continuing with Business Basics and has ordered some more. Apparently a memo has to be written.” Why was the Office Supervisor over-ruling the Academic Team Leader on questions of academics?

It was really strange to me and I contacted Wati and Luke and told them that it was something they needed to take in hand.

Why were teachers approaching you with unsolicited complaints about Uli?

Perhaps they felt I was approachable and I would be sympathetic.

I noticed that you instructed them to contact Wati or Luke or CC-ed these people with the details of the complaints. Why did you do this?

Because I was not the line manager and this was the proper channel of communication.

How about the Indonesian staff? What did they think about Uli?

Their nickname for her was Si Komodo, which translates as The Komodo Dragon. She was feared for her ferociousness and they prayed that she would be fired.

By October 2010 Si Komodo was being moved out of Kuningan. What were the circumstances surrounding her transfer?

Menara Kuningan had basically imploded and lost around 20% of it students and even more revenue. During the final stages of the reign of Wati and Uli the ‘student take up rate’ had collapsed below 30%. This means 7 out of every 10 customers who entered TBI Kuningan walked out without joining a course. A school is deemed to be doing badly if it has a take up rate of 50%.

TBI uses a Performance Appraisal System. What are the most important areas for the appraisal of Office Supervisors?

Sales and student-take up rate.

Have you ever known an Office Supervisor to perform worse on her KPIs than Uli did in 2010? 29% take-up is worse than Nissa managed at Kelapa Gading when she was engaged in embezzlement.

It was the worst I have ever heard of.

And yet we have heard that after this dismal performance Uli was not demoted but transferred to Fatmawati as Office Supervisor and got the largest salary increase of any Office Supervisor in the salary review a couple of months later. Who made this curious decision?

Luke Preece.

You mentioned before that he said he was considering firing her. Why would he gave given a large pay increase to someone he knew had been a disaster?

It was very inconsistent on Luke’s part, but I knew he was very inconsistent long before I knew he was corrupt. I presume Uli was acting on his instructions the whole time.

Why is it, do you believe, that the people who Luke places in Kuningan often behave in a highly disruptive and unprofessional manner and are then awarded large pay increases and other perks by him? One thinks of Uli and Matthew France in particular.

As I said, they were in cahoots with him. Luke plants people and then they mengamok (run amok) and then he blames their behavior on the manager. He knows Mariam is gullible and lazy, so she will never connect the dots and blame it on him.

Are you aware of Uli or any other Office Supervisor for that matter ever trying to take over academic decision-making at any other TBI school?


Why did you email Wati and Luke and inform them of Uli’s over-reach in this area?

Because Menara Kuningan teachers were contacting me and complaining about Uli. I was trying to defuse the confusion and conflict over there. I CC-ed Wati and Luke when I received emails and kept asking them to solve it.

By the time Luke Preece moved Uli out of Kuningan had the decision already been reached to move Wati out of Kuningan in 2011?

Ning had yet to give her final approval, but according to Luke he was pretty sure that Wati would be removed from the position.

Either way this looks bad for Luke Preece. Either he was incompetent in his management of Uli and Wati or he was actively in cahoots with Uli to undermine Wati, whom he hated. Which seems more likely to you now?

I think he was determined to get rid of Wati. He  used Uli to speed up that process. Wati was not suitable for the job, but Luke was taking no chances.

What did you think at the time?

At the time I didn’t understand how Luke’s direct reports kept failing and it didn’t ever seem to stick to him. I mostly thought he mismanaged the situation, but it wasn’t my job to be analyzing how well my boss was doing his job. It was only when I learnt a lot more about his history with the company that I realized what he had been up to. Luke is trying to take over the company, one victim at a time

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