Last month, RSM Malta announced the appointment of George Gregory as Managing Partner as of 1st January 2021, following the retirement of Maria Micallef.
As the only remaining Founding Partner of RSM Malta, he recalls the journey from the firm’s humble beginnings in the mid-2000s, going from four partners and eight staff to the RSM of today, comprising 10 partners and 175 staff. “I’ve seen the firm grow from strength to strength,” he says with pride, noting that RSM Malta has grown by 20 per cent annually since inception.
In his partner role at RSM Malta, George advised international and local clients in business and fiscal matters. Previously he was a partner with a big four firm responsible for providing business advisory services and working on numerous overseas assignments.
‘’Being the youngest of the founding partners gave me the opportunity to work and manage existing service lines and introduce new ones that helped the firm to grow its portfolio of services, particularly in the advisory area. Furthermore, working with a number of different managing partners over the years exposed me to a wide breadth of experience and helped me to hone my own leadership skills. I believe my strength lies in my adaptability,” he says.
Describing his new role as one that requires him to continue to “bring all the teams within the firm together to work as one, making RSM Malta one homogenous firm,” George compliments the success of his predecessor in achieving this, and aims to retain and continue improving this cohesion.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, George considers the ongoing pandemic as the biggest challenge facing the firm at the moment. “In the present circumstances there are three very important factors for us – keeping our staff safe; helping our clients as best we can to overcome their current challenges; and using this time to develop services that will be more relevant to the new client business models that will emerge after the pandemic. Growing our business will come into its own once we stabilise these three factors,” he continues.
Admitting that he had very different plans, George reveals that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we have been revising our budget, looking at what is achievable given the circumstances and managing the situation as best we can. I’m proud to say that we have kept everyone on board with the same working conditions despite the downturn in revenues.”
One of the management team’s main objectives was making staff feel secure that they have a family in RSM Malta. “We did this on both a corporate and a social level – our social committee encouraged our staff to have online meetings and we even started virtual personal training sessions to keep people engaged,” he says.
In terms of business, he continues, “everyone has been hit, and I believe we will continue to see long-lasting effects, but overall, I think we will emerge from this strongly and get back to normal over the following 12 to 18 months. There is some feel good factor again out there – we are seeing some enquiries come in, which for the last nine months were practically non-existent.”
All things considered, George looks upon 2021 positively, affirming that the firm is already seeing more confidence in the economy. “While 2021 will not be as good as 2018 or 2019, I think we will start to see some sort of recovery as our clients themselves start to come out of the downturn. When that happens, my work will shift from managing this situation to looking at growth and continuing to improve our service offering to our clients, who we keep at the centre of our business model,” he says.
Reflecting on lessons learned from the pandemic, George highlights the importance of revisiting and challenging the firm’s plans, and the insight to be gleaned from the younger generation. “We need to listen more to our younger generation – we need to be more attentive because even if they suggest something that was already tried in the past and did not work, it could well be that either the timing wasn’t right, or perhaps the approach was not optimal. Encouraging people to come up with new ideas and solutions is key.”
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