Joe Mifsud, a most reliable man of integrity.

 

I had never met Joe Mifsud. However, at the end of our chat, I could perceive in him a man who was blessed with a solid character, a hefty dose of embedded integrity and faithfulness, and an analytical, knowledgeable mind that dissects what’s on his plate and then moves with determination. Plus, overall, he is warm and pleasing in his ways and manners.

Joe Mifsud

Joe Mifsud is currently the Owner’s Representative at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Tunis, where he also performs duties as Director of Finance. The Ramada Plaza, located at the water’s edge in Tunisia’s Côtes de Carthage, was built in 1996 by Corinthia Palace Hotel Company Limited (CPHCL), which continues to own the property to this date and is managed by IHI’s management arm, CHL (Corinthia Hotels Limited). 

As the Owner’s representative, Joe is an extension of the owners, ensuring that the company is performing correctly, maintaining oversight of the asset management system, and ultimately on the financial aspects and results.  So, this involves a complete X-ray or MRI – to allay fears and concentrate on what is valid or healthy and can be developed into an updated format to be aligned with modern standards. This would enhance the efficiency of the company and better its customer base.

The Ramada Plaza, Tunis

It involves balancing financial constraints with the required investments plus a drive on personnel capabilities..

Naturally, the individual is always a major concern in Corinthias philosophy. So, in this equation, we need to invest in the personnels growth and development in learning and enhanced opportunities under a proper dynamic management drive that can harmonise the personnels efforts.”  

Joe Mifsud had graduated in BA (Hons) Accountancy at the University of Malta way back in 1990.

Before graduating, I did many part-time jobs. I even personally constructed my house during the years of my BA Accountancy course at the university. I had joined university as a worker-student and worked at the Inland Revenue Department during my work-phase, but I resigned from this sponsorship and joined a private Accountancy Firm where I was doing management accounts for several company clients operating in various sectors. After two years, I obtained my CPA warrant and was offered the opportunity to join a high-quality clothing manufacturing company. Those were interesting times, and I gained valuable experience in operations, management, and accountancy.”

Joe stopped for a few seconds and smiled. “Thats also where I met Rosalina, my wife. I recall that at the time the company had invested in a fully automated line and she was coordinating the production process in that stage. Time flies. We have been married for 30 years. During these years, my wife gave her heart and soul to the Family, besides giving me the moral support and the good advice all the way.”

That clothing company folded when new and less expensive markets opened after the fall of communism, so Joe applied for several jobs. He recalls very vividly the interview he held with Joe Fenech of Corinthia. “My interview took almost an hour. It was intensive and lively, and I had indicated my consent to join when, in the last five minutes, Joe Fenech directed me to assist in the Groups Swan Laundry. The role was challenging. I remember though that I was a bit taken aback since in actual fact I had in mind that the role was in the hotel industry, but I had just given my word and simply could not do a U-turn and go back from it. 

So I joined Corinthia Group via Swan Laundry. I immediately understood why I had been directed there. I recall that company in the Group needed a bit of a revamp, investments in automated processes, etc. That was April 1996. I rolled up my sleeves and dived deep into work with stamina and dedication.  About a year and a half later, I was allotted an additional newcomer, Andrews Bakery, and just two months after I was also assigned responsibility for the financials of Inflight and Airport Catering, and subsequently Quality Projects. By the end of 1997, I was made responsible for the financial controlling of the industrial operations of the Group. 

My aim and mission were to restructure and align the financial performance, accounting systems, internal controls, and improve colleague engagement and capability. We improved and standardised our accounting systems and administrative procedures, integrating better these processes into the core and support business functions.   

This I did until 2011. Then there was the demise of our ex-colleague Jesper. He was the Operations Manager of our Bakery. Jesper possessed very good business acumen, was a person of high integrity, was a very down to earth person and was highly regarded for his technical capabilities in bread production. I recall representatives of major German brands in the bakery industry attentively noting his feedback. At the start of 2012, I was given the opportunity to choose whether I wanted to keep on as Director of Finance for those companies or take up the new cudgel as CEO of the laundry and bakery operations. After 20 years in finance management, I felt that I needed a change, so I opted to let off the finance management role and take on the role of CEO. I must say that this was a new challenge in my career. I vividly remember the support and confidence from colleagues, actively participating with ideas and assistance to re-engineer and improve core and support processes in the business. I had full trust in their capabilities, commitment and in their loyalty to the company. As in any business, changes were needed and at times these were not easy, implementation had its risks, and focus on performance and results was crucial. Together we faced challenges, made mistakes, weathered storms, implemented changes, went beyond the call of duties, planned and continually improved processes and the performance and financial results were forthcoming. Besides we also had the satisfaction and joyful moments.”

In 2022, Joe was asked to act as the Owner’s Representative in Ramada Plaza, Tunis. This was a different role. Joe had never worked directly in the hotel sector since he was all taken up in the industrial area. “I have never feared the new; I have always tackled new grounds with utmost attention and preparation. Here I was now, handling a very demanding task but with a strong determination to be a valid contributor to the Corinthia Group which, for the last 28 years I have loved and lived for with so much dedication.

Joe admits that this new role has somehow created an imbalance in his work-life-family balance. When Joe  is in Malta, he enjoys his family, which, besides his beloved wife, Rosalina, also consists of four wonderful children: Bernard, soon 28, who is now a pilot with Ryanair; Anne Marie, 26, who works as an interpreter in English, French and Maltese at the EU in Strasbourg and Brussels; Eloise, soon 18 still studying and training in ballet dancing; and Nina, 15, also still studying, and who at times enjoys preparing nice meals and desserts for all the family.   

My wife likes craft and in her free time does handcrafted cards for various occasions. Every year she donates all she gets in return to charity. She is eager to see me start painting and often buys me art material. I confess I have not yet taken the plunge; I feel I do not have enough time.”

This prompted me to comment that painting is also a mental massage and that he owes himself to find time for that! He smiled, but his look was non-committal. Perhaps that is Joe, after all. He needs to study the plan first, apply some stress testing, and only then delve in with verve and dedication.