The report from the TBI Bekasi SunCity teacher has proved a wealth of useful information about Binsar Simorangkir, the current state inside TBI Bekasi and TBI’s legal obligations under various laws. It is certain to provoke a lot of debate and may even alert many teachers about extra payments they are entitled to under Indonesian law. We intend to pick through all of this little by little. But it has also provided an insight into a hitherto unreported fact of great importance to the push to clean up TBI: Luke Preece has been demoted as a Head of Franchise.
The importance of this news can hardly be overstated. 11 TBI franchise schools that he was previously overseeing how now been taken from his control and handed over to a new figure, Pak Hery. When the TBI Bekasi teacher pursued his claims for fair treatment with Franchise, it was Hery that he met and dealt with. Luke Preece has been removed from the picture. We know he still has some role in Group Schools, but his position of Head of Franchise has now been taken off him. This is tremendous news as it means that 11 franchise owners and manager need not fear the dishonest scheming, spying and slander which is Preece’s trademark style. It is, of course, a vast unacknowledged validation of much of what we have been saying about him for almost a year now. Having no shame, he now clings into to his greatly diminished role, like Chris Needham before him. It must be a bittersweet irony for Preece that the man who got rid of so many other expat managers as part of the ‘Indonesianization’ process has now been demoted himself.
We wonder what prompted this move? It is likely complaints from franchise owners. After all, the owners of Kelapa Gading were furious that Luke’s meddling in that school led to the collapse of student numbers and profits there. In Group Schools, he can be protected in full by Mariam and there is no one else to answer to and please. In Franchise he had to answer to investors and owners and as the closure of both TBI Malang and TBI Semarang shows, he had no idea how to handle important clients properly. This, needless to say, is some of the best news to have come out of TBI in a long time. But it is far from enough: both Preece and Simorangkir have broken every standard of business ethnics and need to be shown the door.