MGA’s vacant CEO position: Some possible candidates
The position for CEO of the MGA is still vacant. Let us take a look at possible candidates who might be able to fill such an important role, since the gaming industry in Malta makes significant contributions to the country’s economy.
The industry is actually the third largest sector, contributing around €1.56bn to Malta’s GDP in 2019, despite the fact that it cancelled 14 licences during that year.
The role for CEO at the Malta Gaming Authority is still available after Heathcliff Farrugia said that he would not be renewing his contract. Farrugia joined the MGA as COO in 2014 and was a crucial figure in the transformation process which the Authority experienced. He was later chosen as the Chief Regulatory Officer in 2016, and then became CEO in 2018.
For the first time ever, the MGA issued a public call on December 17th, greatly improving the transparency and credibility of the application process.
Many new measures have been introduced as of late, geared towards avoiding grey-listing by Moneyval. The next CEO will need to figure out the perfect balance and lead the way with the highest standards in mind, all while maintaining Malta’s attractiveness, not only for existing companies to stay and grow further, but for new companies to think about relocating to Malta.
- Trevor De Giorgio
De Giorgio is the current Managing Director at Green tube, and is also the Head of International Legal Compliance with Greentube Austria. He has been in the industry for many years. He has assumed various important roles throughout his career, including working with the Lotteries and Gaming Authority’s Legal department and acting as the Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Simon Busuttil at the European Parliament.
Dr. De Giorgio mainly focuses on international regulatory and public affairs while also carrying out research on numerous markets and jurisdictions within the igaming industry. He has seen Malta’s transformation into an international iGaming Hub and has also helped the MGA set up an EU affairs office. He had thrived at the MGA and worked well under its mentors at the time – CEO Reuben Portanier and Head of Legal and Chief of Legal and Regulatory Affairs – Joe Borg. No doubt that with Dr. De Giorgio’s expertise and long experience with the MGA, the Managing Director could be a great fit for the regulatory body.
2. Joseph Borg
Dr. Joseph Borg leads the Gaming and Gambling Advisory and the Blockchain Advisory of WH Partners, where he is also a partner. He is known to be a very well-spoken individual who is capable of articulating his messages clearly and concisely.
Dr. Borg is well informed in multiple sectors such as Esports, corporate, IT, Telecoms and Intellectual Property Law, while also working as a lecturer at the University of Malta in Gaming Law. He has experience with the Lotteries Gaming Authority in Malta acting as the Chief Regulatory Officer. Considering all of these facts, he is an ideal candidate for a role that needs an educated and eloquent individual.
3. Mario Galea
Mr. Galea was at the heart of the LGA for a very long time, between 2004 and 2008, and was responsible for the growth of the iGaming industry in Malta. He was also given a Certificate of Appreciation by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement thanks to his outstanding performance and contribution to New Jersey’s internet gaming initiative. The former chief executive of the LGA introduced a number of remote gaming measures and was the driving force behind Malta becoming one of the largest online gaming jurisdictions in the world.
Right now, Mr. Galea is on the Board of the Council of Experts Advisors to the Gambling and Lottery Commission in Ukraine with SiGMA’s own Denis Dzyubenko while also acting as chief executive of his own gaming consultancy firm called Random Consulting. Even though Mr. Galea has moved into the consultancy scene, there is absolutely no reason as to why he couldn’t take on such a crucial role and keep helping Malta’s gaming industry to further flourish, just as he did many years ago.
4. Christopher Formosa
Christopher Formosa is currently serving as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at the MGA. He started out as an Executive Secretary in the local council scene and later moved into the Head of Operations position with the CHOGM Malta 2015 Taskforce. Here, he was involved in multiple activities such as the planning and execution phases of plans. In his role at the MGA, he is responsible for the general function of the regulatory body, with a main focus on developing and maintaining high performance culture which focuses on productivity and quality. Moreover, he oversees the Inspectorate Operations Department and the Criminal Probity Screening Department. It could potentially benefit the MGA to appoint internally since Christopher Formosa knows how the regulatory body operates and how to make its employees tick.
5. Juanita Brockdorff
Brockdorff is a partner in EmTech Leader (Non-Tech) and Tax for KPMG. She has spent the majority of her career giving advice to multinationals who are seeking assistance and also worked in corporate taxation, since joining KPMG in 2002.
Juanita Brockdorff is a leader and influencer as she has managed to bring together a team of professionals to help EmTech clients. She also has a lot of knowledge in cryptocurrencies, AI and DLT by providing feedback on planned legislations by the government. Her set of skills and expertise do not stop there though, as she also has various clients within the gaming industry to whom she provides restructuring advice. Juanita has been an advisor for most of her career and it would be interesting to see her take on the role of CEO at the MGA where she could really apply her knowledge at the best of her abilities to take the Gaming industry in Malta to the next level and possibly influence its digital economy.
6. Ivan Filletti
Ivan Filletti claims the position of Chief Operations Officer for the Gaming Malta Foundation. Together with his team, Ivan makes sure that Malta keeps its status as Home of Gaming Excellence. Prior to joining GamingMalta, Ivan was the CEO of an advertising agency across both Malta and Greece: TBWA/ANG. He served as crucial means in leading his agency to winning major new business accounts including Bank of Valletta and servicing major-league companies including McDonald’s, Nissan and Mr Green. Ivan Filletti would make a great contender as he’s already proved his mission to ensure connection with different parts of the gaming ecosystem. He has consistently aided in the promotion and acceleration of growth across several different gaming sectors.
7. Carl Brincat
Dr. Carl Brincat, who is an advocate by profession, joined the MGA legal team in 2014. He was a part of the legislative revamp for the gaming industry in Malta which witnessed a new regulatory framework being executed.
His current role at the MGA is the Chief Legal and Enforcement Officer with his principal areas of expertise being on gaming regulation, general legal, regulatory affairs and dispute resolution. His responsibility does not stop there however since Dr. Brincat is also responsible for legal affairs with other external stakeholders and the Maltese government. Considering his ties with the government and his involvement with the new gaming regulatory framework as one of the main drafters, Dr. Brincat seems to be the favourite in taking Heathcliff Farrugia’s place because of his connections and deep understanding of the new framework.
8. Reuben Portanier
Reuben Portanier is actually the former CEO of the MGA and is a professional at C-level with large experience in executive management in the consultancy, technology and gaming industries. Mr. Portanier also served as an advisor to the government on Gaming Policy and European Regulatory policy. His experience also extends abroad seeing as he was one of the European Commission’s Expert Group Members on the European Union Action Plan for Online Gaming.
Moreover, back in 2013, Mr. Portanier was awarded by the Gaming Intelligence Magazine, as one of the 50 most influential people in the gaming industry. It might be far-fetched to see the former CEO returning to his role, especially considering his many other commitments including Caledo (Co-founder), Director (Business Advisory) of GTG Advocates and AfilaXion – a company he co-founded in 2016 but if he does somehow choose to have his name among applicants, it will surely benefit the MGA.