The position of Finance minister had been temporarily filled by Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa after it was announced in March 2013 that former Finance minister Agus Martowardojo would move to Bank Indonesia. Martowardojo will assume his new post per 23 May 2013.

Generally, Yudhoyono's choice for Basri is well received as he is a professional who is not attached to any political party, and therefore regarded as being independent-minded. Political party figures do not enjoy much popularity in Indonesia as they are often connected to corruption cases or other scandals.

Basri owns an economics degree from the University of Indonesia (UI) and a PhD from the Australian National University. He served as an adviser to former Finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, was a member on the regional advisory board of Toyota Motor Asia, and was an independent commissioner for Astra International, Semen Indonesia and Indika Energy. In October 2011, he became head of the BKPM replacing Gita Wirjawan who became minister of Trade.