Robert Debono has officially been named Group CEO at hospitality empire db Group. In 2020, he was named CEO of SD Holdings, the guarantor for hotelier Silvio Debono’s SD Finance plc which acts as the investment arm of db Group, but has now been appointed to take on the top job at db Group.
Db Group has been a feature in Malta’s hospitality industry for the past 30 years, and owns a number of hotels and restaurants locally, including db Seabank Resort + Spa, db San Antonio Hotel + Spa, Starbucks Malta, Hard Rock Café Malta, Porto Azzurro, Aki and more.
On Monday, the company announced a total of four key appointments “to take forward its vision and oversee its execution.”
“The move also marks a watershed in the family’s succession planning moment. Robert Debono has been appointed as the Group’s CEO with a clear brief to continue to drive an already robust business and investment strategy and to consolidate financial success on all fronts,” the company said in a statement.
David Debono, a lawyer, is the Chief Legal Officer overseeing all legal matters as well as those pertaining to HR, and Alan Debono will be the Chief Procurement and Accounting Officer responsible for financial and purchasing policy and execution.
Victoria Debono is now the Brands Manager in charge of nurturing and expanding the Group’s local and global brand portfolio.
Silvio Debono remains Chairman of the Board.
On his part, Robert Debono remarked: “This is an exciting and humbling challenge for my siblings and myself. The Board is trusting us to sustain and enhance the success of a group of companies on which the livelihood of 4,500 families and individuals depends.
“It is also happening as the tourism industry and the economy are expected to get a post-pandemic reboot. The future looks bright, and we are ready for it.”
Founder and chairman Silvio Debono said: “My wife and I gave our children the freedom to choose their individual paths in life. They took different ones which, as luck would have it, are converging at this very moment.
“I am convinced that they will continue to expand and deepen our Group’s vision and prudently execute it. As the Group’s chairman, I shall oversee this positive transition, ensuring that our strong financial standing is sustained and to see that our excellent track record remains extends to the future.”
db Group Performance
The db Group’s post-pandemic recovery is exceeding forecasts, with figures for March 2022 comparing well with those of March 2020, the last month before the pandemic struck.
The March 2020 financial results were better than those of the year ending March 2021, the year in which the pandemic took its biggest toll.
Accordingly, comparisons with the March 2020 benchmark, at the end of a record year for tourism in Malta, lead to a more balanced picture of the Group’s performance.
As it did during the financial crisis, the Group once again continued to invest even during the darkest pandemic months.
Throughout, the Group maintained its position as Malta’s largest local hotel operator.
New Starbucks outlets and two new restaurants, LOA and Sonora were inaugurated, the latter two after March 2022.
This growth was also complemented with an extensive rebranding and modernisation programme of the hotels and their restaurants.
“The strategy paid off as it did at the end of the 2009 financial crisis. It drove the uniquely fast recovery of the Group as the worst of the pandemic was put behind us.”
In March 2022 Group revenue stood at €40 million, just €20 million less than in March 2020. EBITDA in March 2022 stood at €24 million, just €3.5 million less in the same period. Profit after tax in March 2022 was €10.5 million when compared to €12 million in March 2020. Capital expenditure in March 2020 was almost €8 million against a Capex of almost €5 million in 2022.
Robert Debono, Group CEO at db Group
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