First, allow me an illustrative anecdote. About once a month I have a look at the TBI website to see what has changed. It’s usually nothing. The TBI ‘today’s vocabulary’ feature will stay stuck on the same word for months at a time. This does not surprise us: it is a singularly slothful organization trading on past glories. If you looked at the word of the day back in January it was ‘expect’ and it still is 3 months later. A minor point? Not really as it is indicative of the whole lazy culture inside the company. As the TBI Bekasi teachers reported, Jodi Shiek promised to deliver workshop materials 10 months ago and were still waiting when they left TBI!
We knew that Scott was a lazy sod from multiple sources when we was at TBI Riau last time. The main criticism was that he just sat in his office playing around with Microsoft XL and didn’t actually manage the school. Even when salaries were going be several weeks late he didn’t think it was worth his time to get out of the office and actually inform people and the office girls often had to step in and manage things for him. This was confirmed by TBI Paskal’s ‘digital footprint’ when Scott was moved there in April 2012.
In the 9 months TBI Paskal was under Scott’s alleged control, nothing at all changed on their website. The wesbite parts which are updated at Head Office may have changed now and then but there were no local changes to the site at all. And then in 2013 photos started appearing on the TBI Paskal website again. Someone was running competitions and posting promotional materials. Clearly, Scott Martin was no longer there. We knew it because work was being done. So I called the school and the office staff confirmed he was no longer the manager. But they also hold me that he had been moved back to Jalan Riau. A quick call to Jalan Riau conformed that he was in fact back in charge. Mind you, this was a manager who was so unpopular that every single expat left last time he was there!
We were surprised at first. But the move helps us to understand how the TBI Mafia has reconfigured itself after the ousting of the useless Mariam Kartikatresni. More on our reading of the new Reza-led mess soon. But first let’s quickly cover what the Martin reappointment and Ratna back-stabbing means.
What Does Martin’s Return Tell Us?
An anonymous poster crowed yesterday that this was a great victory for Martin. That is rubbish. Martin was never more than a mindless loyalist who Luke dominates in every way- a true human puppet. Martin couldn’t even keep books in stock when he was manager. He couldn’t keep expat staff for a second contract. This move is pure internal politics. Like most dysfunctional companies, TBI is all internal politics. EF gets customers and open new branches while TBI flounders in last place, yet Luke considers himself a world-beater; he may not have opened any schools but he did succeed in slandering some unfortunate Indonesian girl out of a job. This move was 100% due to Luke Preece’s lobbying and power games: it had nothing to do with Scott Martin, Luke’s moppet. Luke got Scott back there and Scott smiled dimly and smiled, “Thanks mate!”
But what changed between April 2012 and early 2013? The main thing was that Mariam had been forced out of TBI as director. This suggests that it was Mariam who had stripped Scott of the job in the first place, probably as revenge for the all the horrible things Luke had said about her (which we aired). Tellingly, it was Mariam as TBI director who was the only person who would have had the power to oust Scott last time. That means that Mariam and Luke were probably at loggerheads over many things in April and that Scott’s removal was not due to justice (what does TBI know about justice??) but about a much more TBI theme: revenge and vendettas.
But that isn’t the only thing this tells us. Who would have had to OK Scott’s return? Reza Suriansha. But how does the return of Luke’s lackey fit in with Luke’s loss of control of 11 franchise schools? One suggests that Luke is unpopular with Reza (a kind of punishment) and the other shows him gratifying Luke’s wishes (a kind of reward). The seeming inconsistency can be explained by the fact that the franchise schools are accountable to school owners and the group schools (like TBI Riau) are not accountable to any investors. As we suggested before, Luke’s loss of franchise schools must have been forced on TBI from outside. We know for a fact that multiple owners and partners had condemned his poor performance and lack of honesty and achievement. In short, TBI had no choice but to remove Luke from franchise schools. This push was probably the same reason Mariam was shunted aside. But Reza himself is a crook and Luke has helped him steal money in the past. Reza and Luke are both part of the same Mafia (as we have always said), and removing Luke from franchise was just to keep up the appearance that the company has integrity or standards: it does not.