17 December 2003

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Government enterprises chairmanships reshuffled

By David Lindsay
Government yesterday announced sweeping changes to the chairmanships of a handful of its corporations, apparently spurred by the decision taken by Joseph F.X. Zahra to resign from his chairmanship of national telecoms carrier Maltacom so as to retain his much longer standing chairmanship of Bank of Valletta.
Speaking about the decision yesterday, Mr Zahra cited the last seven months in which he had served as Maltacom chairman as having given him "great personal satisfaction’.
He explains, "My Board’s mission was that of tackling a number of pending issues in a decisive and effective manner. These months were taken up dealing with Maltacom’s shareholding in Vodafone Malta, numerous issues with the regulator, preparations for the long overdue tariff re-balancing, the drafting of a strategic plan for the Group, and the setting up of the foundations for a leaner and rationalised corporate and management
“I have found great support from Maltacom’s serious and mature technical management who is committed to face the challenges of a deregulated market and more intense competition.
"My focus now will return in full capacity towards Bank of Valletta plc as it faces new challenges in the market and the prospect of Government’s divestment in the Bank."
Mr Zahra’s Maltacom vacated chairmanship position has been filled by Sonny Portelli, who currently serves as General Manager at the Waterfront Hotel, a Mizzi Organisation establishment, and as a director at Maltacom.
Mr Portelli started his career in the Malta Civil Service. He left the service in the late 70’ to join the tourism industry, and has since successfully held a number of senior management appointments in various areas of this field. He is widely travelled and is well known in tourism business circles, both locally and overseas. He sits on the Council of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, and is a member of several tourism trade and related associations.
Meanwhile, Alfred Rizzo was nominated by government to the Maltacom board of directors to replace Mr Portelli.
Government has also appointed Vodafone Chief Executive Joe Grioli as Maltapost chairman and Alfred Mallia-Milanes as chairman of Interprint Ltd.
According to a statement issued by the Department of Information yesterday, all the appointments announced will expire on 15 December, 2005.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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