Last week, Kenneth Farrugia was granted regulatory approval for his recent appointment as the new CEO of Bank of Valletta. In this regard, MaltaCEOs.mt speaks to Mr Farrugia about his new position, his leadership style, the evolution of banking over the years as well as his personal goals as he continues to progress in his career.
Speaking of his new appointment, Mr Farrugia expressed his honour at being entrusted with such an important position within BOV. “Considering the leadership market position of Bank of Valletta in Malta, as a systemically important Bank, I am highly sensitive to the responsibility that this role brings with it,” he admitted.
Mr Farrugia joined BOV in 1985 and has, over his period of employment, occupied various positions across the banking group before making it to the very top. Throughout these years, “the local Banking system has gone through an evolution, if not revolution, driven by a number of factors,” he told MaltaCEOs.mt. He cited “a number of events such as the financial crisis, which has brought with it stronger capital requirements, resolution planning and heightened consumer protection.”
“In the same vein, the onset of technological developments saw the entry of a number of non-banking financial institutions in the traditional banking domains, such as lending and card acquiring business, sometimes in a siloed yet deep and focused approach, that brought about a complete paradigm shift in the banking competitor landscape,” the CEO added.
Perhaps, the biggest revolution in the banking industry has been the introduction of digital banks which, according to Mr Farrugia, “has led to a significant ramp in their investment in technology to ensure they remain relevant in the market, but equally to meet the fast-changing requirements of their clients.”
In preparing to meet upcoming challenges within his new role, Mr Farrugia places his trust in his team.
“In taking forward the leadership of this organisation, I am comforted by the fact that together with our valued human resources, we will be able to further strengthen our market position aiming to continuously strive to improve our service delivery in order to meet, and possibly exceed, the exacting service requirements of our customers,” he affirms.
Speaking of his strategy and how he plans to lead as he officially takes the bank’s driving seat, Mr Farrugia explains that his personal goal is “for Bank of Valletta to be positioned as a catalyst, leader, and innovator in the market and to be viewed by existing and potential new customers as Malta’s Bank of Choice.
“We are mindful of the important role that the Bank needs to play, insofar as climate and environmental risks are concerned, ensuring in the process that ESG principles are embedded across our business and operational model.”
Taking a leadership role within one of Malta’s leading banks is certainly no easy feat, and it requires someone with a particular set of skills. Asked about what he believes got him to the top role at BOV, the new CEO admitted that he did feel slightly conflicted at being asked to be “judge and jury.”
“However, on a general note, career progression in any organisation is underpinned by important values such as honesty, integrity and transparency,” he stated. “I must also add that the ability to envision an end-state, as well as being decisive, are key important traits. Last but not least, successful career progression is underpinned by the ability to ensure that you have the right mix of talent and commitment within your team members. Only this will enable plans to be implemented in an effective and timely manner,” Mr Farrugia concluded.
Kenneth Farrugia / Photo by Bernard Polidano / Featured in MaltaCEOs 2019 print publication
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