Telkomsel’s president director, Alex Sinaga, has been appointed head of Telkom Indonesia, replacing Arief Yahya, who was named tourism minister in the country’s new government.

The government also appointed seven new directors to Telkom’s board. Six are Telkom employees and telecoms veterans, but the seventh is the controversial appointment of Dolfie Othniel Fredric Ali – a politician from the Democratic Party of Struggle, which backed the new president’s bid.

Telkom is 52 per cent government owned and the parent company of Telkomsel, the country’s leading mobile operator with a 46 per cent share of mobile connections.

Sinaga, who has led Telkomsel since May 2012, said Telkom would focus on expanding its cellular business, the country’s five-year digital network project and international expansion.

Prior to taking the helm at the mobile operator, he was president director of METRA, another Telkom subsidiary.