A seasoned professional at CXO Level, Arthur Azzopardi has a rich background in the ICT and telecommunications industry, having spent a decade gaining experience in different roles in the industry before joining GO in 2006 as part of the team responsible for transforming the organisation.
“When TECOM Investments took over GO, they wanted to transform the business – moving away from government legacy and changing it into what it is today. I was part of a small team that was responsible for the business transformation, which brought together different brands, including GO Mobile and Maltacom,” Arthur explains of his early years at GO.
He went on to move into different senior roles leading to his appointment as Chief Officer responsible for Strategy. Some years later, he was also made responsible for GO’s wholesale business, setting up a new management team with the intention of turning the declining business around. “We succeeded and began to grow the business over the next years,” he smiles.
“Then, when Nikhil Patil became CEO, he asked if I wanted to take over the B2B business, alongside wholesale. I took the challenge and have now been responsible for B2B for the last five years.”
Looking back on his landmark moments, Arthur says that forming part of the team that helped to transform GO and help it move away from its parastatal legacy is certainly among them, noting that “GO is a great example of an organisation that started off a government monopoly and following liberalisation of the market, was successful in its transformation into what it is today in the face of stiff competition.” The second landmark moment for him was turning around GO’s wholesale business, and finally, building B2B into what it is today: “building an enterprise solutions business around it to make it a one-stop-shop for the customer.”
Speaking about GO Business and its development since he’s been at the helm, Arthur maintains, “business customers have particular – and generally more complex – requirements when compared to residential customers. So, we have built a team of people that is focused on addressing these needs. This is not only technical expertise, but also experience in dealing with the scale of these customers’ requirements.”
Commending the capable people that make this possible, Arthur goes on to explain the culture at GO, affirming, “I do not operate alone, but form part of a leadership team. We are first a part of this team before we are leaders of our individual departments. We support each other in all that we do. Then there is the B2B and Wholesale team, which is made up of people with a very diverse skillset of commercial and technical skills. They’re also full of energy and lots of fun to work with, so that’s a bonus!”
The overarching vision, he continues, is that of building a digital Malta where no one is left behind, and this remains a very important driver for the different teams at GO. Discussing the importance of building GO Business’ portfolio to provide diverse solutions for its clients, Arthur explains that they are always on the lookout for partners with whom they can work with, even acquiring a stake in some.
Such has been the case with Connected Care, SENS and CyberSift, he notes, elucidating further. “We started off with Connected Care, which is the company through which we run our Telecare business. It has since grown, and we now also run a call centre which also supports glucose monitoring in patients. Here, we’re also looking into making it mobile to offer services to the elderly and people in need,” he says.
SENS, meanwhile, operates in the sustainability space. “Here, we work towards making hotels more energy efficient. Most of our business in this case is not in Malta, but rather in different countries around the world. The business is local, and all the hardware is built locally – we designed it, through SENS – and developed the software ourselves, and can retrofit,” he continues.
Finally, Arthur explains, “CyberSift began as a startup by two local entrepreneurs, with a focus on providing cybersecurity in a very innovative way. We bought a substantial stake in this company, and it has now become part of the service offering we give to our customers.”
“We are always thinking about what comes next. I am supported by a great team with years of experience that runs things on a day-to-day basis – I trust them fully and feel that I only need to get involved when required – otherwise I am always focusing on what we can improve and grow,” he smiles.
Revealing what he considers to be the qualities of a good business leader, Arthur maintains that it starts with integrity. “It’s about respect towards colleagues and customers and adapting to ever-changing realities. It’s about supporting the team to achieve their full potential, and it’s also about putting people in roles they excel in, and taking time to appreciate what they do.” So much so, he notes, that among the lessons he’s learned throughout his leadership journey, the most important one has been simple: “make sure everyone is focusing on doing what they do best rather than trying to correct their weaknesses.”
Delving into his plans for GO Business in 2023 and beyond, he continues, “we feel successful when our customers become successful because of what we do for them. There is no business in Malta that doesn’t depend on connectivity. What we’re always trying to do is continuing to expand the ways we can help our customers, working with more partners to be able to offer an ever wider range of services.”
This interview forms part of the 50 Business Leaders project. The new online serialisation on MaltaCEOs.mt will feature 50 distinguished business leaders, CEOs, and emerging business minds to create debate and encourage business leaders to share their journey with our readers.
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