State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan noted on Monday (August 18) that Agustiawan had resigned to take up teaching at Harvard University, and her priority now was to tend to her family.
"We have received a letter of resignation from the Pertamina chief executive officer and have accepted her request to resign from her position," Iskan said.
The minister remarked that Pertamina shareholders were unable to retain Karen Agustiawan because she wanted to pursue teaching opportunities at Harvard University.
Iskan denied that Agustiawans resignation was related to the companys failure to raise the price of 12-kg LPG cylinders.
"It has nothing to do with the 12-kg LPG cylinder issue. Karens resignation is purely related to the fact that she will be accepting a position as a lecturer at Harvard University," he noted.
Agustiawan resigned from Pertamina because she wanted to pursue a career outside the oil and gas firm and to take care of her family, Iskan reiterated.
A member of the House of Representatives Commission-VII, Muhammad Idris Luthfi, opined that Agustiawan had demonstrated a professional attitude during the resignation process.
"I think she has done the right thing. She has performed well enough to advance the company," Luthfi said here on Tuesday.
He remarked that during her leadership at the state oil and gas company, the woman who graduated from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) with a degree in engineering physics had faced pressure from various quarters.
Besides, he noted, to become the president director of Pertamina, one had to have a strong mind to face internal challenges and ensure high performance the way Agustiawan did.
Luthfi expressed hope that Agustiawans successor would demonstrate a similarly high standard of professionalism and intelligence to face every trial and challenge.
For her part, Agustiawan has denied that political reasons or pressure from political parties have played any role in her decision to resign.
In fact, she has urged all parties not to politicize her resignation, which will go into effect on October 1, 2014.
In a press release made available to Antara on Wednesday, Agustiawan stated that her resignation from the post of Pertaminas chief executive officer was due to personal reasons and the need for a change in the companys leadership.
"I ask all parties not to associate my resignation with issues beyond those I have mentioned. Moreover, do not link it to political issues," she emphasized.
Agustiawan remarked that she had tendered her resignation on several occasions since early 2013, citing personal reasons and a desire to facilitate a transition in the leadership, but these applications had all been rejected.
She explained that for six and a half years, she has been a member of Pertaminas board of directors, as an upstream director for one year and president director for five and a half years.
On March 5, 2008, Agustiawan became the first woman head of Pertaminas upstream division, and on February 5, 2009, she was appointed CEO and president director of the company.
During her tenure as CEO, she has overseen the development of alternative energy sources such as coal bed methane extraction and has established a liquefied natural gas distribution system with state electricity company PT PLN.
In March 2013, she was reappointed by the government for a second five-year term as CEO of Pertamina until 2018. But, on August 13, 2014, she forwarded her resignation letter to Pertamina, and a copy of the letter was addressed to the state enterprises minister.
According to Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung, Agustiawans resignation was not influenced by political reasons or government pressure.
"Neither political reasons nor government pressure have forced Agustiawan to resign from her post as Pertaminas CEO," the economic minister remarked at a press meeting here on Wednesday.
Tanjung confirmed that Agustiawan had resigned for personal reasons after having served for six and a half years in Pertamina.
He also admitted that she had tendered her resignation on several previous occasions, and this time, it had been accepted by the state enterprises minister.
"I know for certain that her resignation has nothing to do with politics, government pressure, or economic policy," Tanjung claimed.
Pertamina spokesman Ali Mundakir echoed these comments, reporting that Agustiawans resignation was due to personal reasons.
"It is true that she has filed a letter of resignation with the company and has also addressed a copy to the state enterprises minister. She has decided to resign because she wants to spend more time with her family," Ali informed the press here on Monday.
Six and a half years were enough for Agustiawan to advance Pertaminas growth, and she felt it was time to pass on the torch to her subordinates, he added.
Ali affirmed that Agustiawan had successfully turned Pertamina into a world-class company.