Who do you look to when you’re at the top of your game?

For some of Malta’s leading CEOs, the answer is no one, but most do in fact have people they look up to, and whose insights and example they hold as a guiding light for their own practice.

In a series of quick-fire questions first published in the print edition of MaltaCEOs 2023, the men and women leading many of Malta’s top companies shared who they most admire in the global business sphere.

It should come as no surprise that of the 50 CEOs responding to the questions, a fair few mentioned those whose achievements have marked them out as major public figures in business.

Foremost among those whose trailblazing career is looked to for inspiration is Steve Jobs, with one in 10 of Malta’s CEOs saying they admire the late Apple Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO.

Bill Gates

Next come Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Virgin’s Richard Branson, two very different personalities who have both left their mark in various ways.

Business self-help gurus Tony Robbins (author of Unlimited Power, amongst many others) and Robin Sharma (best known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book series) were also mentioned as spiritual mentors.

Many of Malta’s CEOs, particularly those involved in enterprises with a social dimension, also look up to those who put mission and purpose at the heart of their business.

BRND WGN’s Peter-Jan Grech and People & Skin’s Joanna Delia both point to Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard as someone whose example they admire.

Main image: Yvon Chouinard: Patagonia / Photo by Jimmy Chin / Inset: (Behind) Joanna Delia / (Upfront) Peter-Jan Grech

Mr Chouinard made headlines in 2022 when him and his family announced they would be transferring all the shares in their multi-billion dollar company to a non-profit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature.

Meanwhile, Yasmin De Giorgio, CEO of Shireburn Software and Founder of Sanya Eco Spa, singled out Horst Rechelbacher, Founder of Aveda Corporation and Intelligent Nutrients, who helped launch the market for natural cosmetics in the United States.

Main image: Rebecca Bonnici / Inset: Maggie Timoney / Photo by Heineken USA

Owner and CEO of BELS English School Rebecca Bonnici took the opportunity to highlight the work done by female business leaders, such as Susan Wojcicki, who served as YouTube CEO between 2014 and 2023, and Maggie Timoney, CEO of Heineken USA. On her appointment in 2018, Ms Timoney became the first woman CEO of a major American beer company.

Malta is famously football-mad, so it should come as no surprise that Identity Malta CEO Col Mark Mallia and Residency Malta CEO Charles Mizzi both said they hold former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson in high esteem.

Alfred Pisani
Alfred Pisani, Corinthia Group Founder

Some looked at their immediate environment for inspiration. International Hotel Investments CEO Simon Naudi said that company Founder Alfred Pisani is the person he admires most in the global business space, while Design Hub Studio Founder Sean Cassar kept it in the family, singling out his grandfathers – former Marsovin CEO Joseph Cassar and dentist and hotelier Anthony Demajo.

On the other hand, many Maltese CEOs declined to mention any particular person, preferring to describe the qualities they find most admirable, such as those businesses that stick to their vision despite expanding, innovators, and those businesses that strive to have a social impact.

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