‘Super CEO’ confirmed but minister refuses to reveal his two salaries

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has confirmed The Shift’s recent report that Pierre Fenech has been occupying a double role within his ministry for years, simultaneously serving as CEO for both the Institute for Tourism Studies and the Mediterranean Conference Centre.

Bartolo, who was asked in Parliament by Tourism Shadow Minister Mario de Marco to explain how a single person can occupy the posts of two CEOs concurrently, confirmed that Fenech was being paid two separate salaries but turned down a request to table a copy of his two contracts in the House.

According to Bartolo, Fenech, who he described as having great managerial qualities, has been occupying the post of the ITS CEO on a full-time basis since 2015 and started serving as a part-time CEO of the MCC in the same year.

Fenech is the first ever political appointee to be given double executive roles, in the process pocketing two separate remuneration packages.

Known for his political links to the Labour administration, particularly to Minsters Clayton Bartolo and Ian Borg, Fenech has become the tourism ministry’s most trusted CEO after starting his career in tourism from humbler beginnings as a low-key hotel employee.

Before joining the government’s upper echelons with a double CEO appointment, he was serving as the general manager of the mostly illegal Montekristo Estates entertainment venue owned by construction magnate Charles Polidano, known as ic-Caqnu.

Originally appointed by disgraced former tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, Fenech was entrusted to build a new ITS campus at Smart City years ago, but the project was only recently resuscitated after a delay of some five years.

Although he was positioned at a new government company and tasked with leading the multi-million-euro project, ITS New Campus Ltd, no progress has so far been made on the project even though the Planning Authority approved the plans.

It is not yet known whether Fenech – who shares a boardroom table at the company with former Labour minister Charles Mangion, among others – receives yet another remuneration from that company.

Fenech’s wife, Romina, a close friend of Michelle Muscat – the spouse of disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat – has also seen perhaps more than her fair share of partisan appointments, including a directorship at the specialised government oil trading company, Mediterranean Offshore Bunkering Company Ltd.

Wearing his ITS CEO hat in 2021, Fenech had issued a direct order for architectural services to be rendered by Gilbert Bartolo – the brother of the minister to who he is responsible, Clayton Bartolo.

He later said he had not known that Gilbert Bartolo was Clayton Bartolo’s brother at the time when he approved the direct order.

The Shift has filed an FOI request to obtain Fenech’s double contract and is awaiting a decision by the Data Protection Commissioner after the contracts’ release was refused.


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1 month ago

MLP at it’s finest. How can people still look up to this ultra corrupt organisation?

1 month ago
Reply to  wenzu

Because they don’t care and think they will gain something out of it

1 month ago

Visit Malta and see a Mafia Hothouse in real time – up close and personal!

mastercard, visa, gold teeth, beads… anything shiny

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
1 month ago

One full time job, two full time salaries. A case of sharing is caring?

1 month ago

I was just wondering in regards of the two different CEO jobs Mr Fenech holds for years. The CEO of the Institute for Tourism Studies and the CEO of the MCC. One would think that these two separate entities have nothing to with one another, which is what one usually would assume, except when it comes to events that benefit both of them and where they are cooperating in organising and running the event.

I was remembering the trouble in 2021 when the Malta Book Festival, organised by the then NBC of Malta chairman Mark Camilleri (PL member and historian), was forced to change the place for their events which was being held for years at the MCC in Valletta. The circumstances for the change of the venue from Valletta to the MFCC in Ta’ Qali were reported, so the PL govt said, that there was no room for the MBF because there was a Circus booked for the MCC at the same time and therefore, the MBF had to move to Ta’ Qali.

Everybody in Malta knows the historian and former NBC Malta chairman Mark Camilleri, maybe more for his efforts to support and organise events for the Maltese book industry. Maybe he’s better known than his successor of the same names, just different in what the former has published (history books) and the latter still does (crime novels). I have read a couple of let me put it that way ‘Mark Camilleri 1’ but never had a look into anything that ‘Mark Camilleri 2′ has ever published. Simple reason, MC 1 publishes history with politics, which is interesting, and MC2 writes crime novels which I find just products of fantasy like I consider much novels to be. Two different ways to tell stories, two differents genres and also different in regards of intellectual qualities.

MC1 was that bold and went against his own party of which he’s still a member, whether they like him still or regard him as an outcast that doesn’t quit membership, is a matter onto themselves, the PL and himself. Fact is, that he dared to speak up agains the high ranking PLers and concrete against the corruption that always goes along with the PL.

This article gives, in hindsight, a new perspective to the way MC1 was treated and where the NBF finds itself every year since 2021. There is a context to my view because when linking this with tourism, people rather go to Valletta because that’s the capital of Malta and is more interesting, easier to reach by public transport and therefore more centra. Going to Ta’ Qali is more inland and there isn’t much to see, apart from the Malta Aviation Museum and Ta’ Qali Crafts Village. The MFCC certainly provides more space for stalls of the Maltese publishing industry and to have events on separate spaces around that venue, but it cannot provide the same atmosphere like the MCC in Valletta from outside and the interior of the building.

In my view, this gives me the reason to assume that the sidelining of the MBF in forcing the NBC to change the venue looks like being arranged by the high rank PLers to just undermine the efforts of MC1 and no surprise, in 2021 after the row for the venue was reported in May 2021, MC1 was dishonourably discharged from his post as chairman of the NBC Malta in August 2021. Now with MC2 in place, the PL has appointed a chairman of the NBC who is no troublemaker and keeps his opinion on the PL to himself, given that he has any opinion on the PL at all. That’s how the PL likes it, get your job(s) and keep quiet.

The years in which MC1 has given all his enthusiasm and efforts to promote literature in Malta, supporting the local book industry and this goes with authors as much as with publishers (no writer, no publication), seem to be almost forgotten. The gratitude of the PL to those who dare to speak up against them.

MC1 chairman of the NBC from 2013 to 2021, Mr Fenech CEO of the MCC and the ITS since 2015, coincidence? I rather think not.

1 month ago

An addition to my previous comment to give it some clarification. Mark Camilleri (historian) was told by the MCC that the MBF had to move out of Valletta and it was the Maltese government who didn’t renew or prolong his contract as chairman of the NBC. That was the official version.

When a party like the PL is doing, gets involved in everything and puts people in leading positions, like CEO posts in what is officialy a private run entity (like companies usually are), and also the same person the be the CEO of another institution that is involved in tourism, whether directly or indirectly, it gives one the impression that everything is PL run, whether the person who has that job is actually a member of the PL or not, the impression is all the same and I am certainly not the only one who thinks that way, for I have noticed such perception and also way of talk elsewhere. There is more a reference to PL in regards of many thinks in Malta in the public realm than it actually is in reference to the Maltese govt. The impression goes that PL and govt are just both one and the same. So, there is no distinction between the two.

Normally, private run business should be free of partisan influence and also free from even indirect influence by the governing party. That is the problem, with all this cronyism around the PL, there is no such separation between government and private entities, apart from the names of the entities itself, because in fact, due to the persons who hold jobs like these two CEO jobs in one personal union.

Mark Camilleri (historian) was always promoting his idea of having the NBC being independent from governmental and thus as with the PL, partisan influence. He is probably still a member of the PL (I haven’t noticed anything where it was stated that he has resigned from membership), and he was that during the years from 2013 to 2021 as chairman of the NBC, but this party membership didn’t meant to him to not go with the principles of the separation of powers and also between government and private businesses. The way he has been treated by his own party, gives proof enough for assuming that the PL high ranks didn’t like his ideas and also not his efforts because if they had heeded his suggestions, it had meant to give up a sphere of influence and also to further the common place perception, that without the good will of the PL, nothing goes in the public sector of Malta. That is also a means to curb private initiatives and try to bind people to a party, whether they like that party or not.

What one can see by examples from the book / publishing industry, one gets with similar examples from the local film industry. Otherwise, things would be very different and the NBC would by now be an independent institution that works and concentrates on publishing and promoting literature the way it did and for which it was set up but also with a funding that serves the task of it. There is always also the question whether an NBC has to run by the state or being funded by the tax payer for the purpose of promoting private education on all levels of literature in supporting the local publishing / book industry, well known and new writers as the state itself has an obligation for education in the interest of the whole population, For that, an independent body serves that purpose better and on a non-partisan level. That is in essence what I think Mark Camilleri and those who supported his idea wanted. What Malta has now is just another place that complies with the way the PL runs Malta, therefore there is no distinction and I just liked to point out the reasons for that.

Pity, I would rather distinct between the PL and the Maltese government, as I usually do. Normally, a party is for likeminded people but the Maltese government is there for all the people in Malta, regardless of any party political leanings. But that’s not what the PL is for.

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