The Board of Governors of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on Tuesday announced the appointment of Kenneth Farrugia B.Accty (Hons), FIA, CPA (pc), MA (Business Ethics) as Chief Executive Officer.

His appointment takes effect from 12th April 2023.

Mr Farrugia, who currently holds the position of Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit Director will vacate the position left behind by Joseph Gavin in August 2022, who had stepped down due to health reasons. Since then, longstanding MFSA official Michelle Mizzi Buontempo, who has over 20 years of experience in the regulation and supervision of different areas within financial services, had been engaged as acting CEO at the Authority.

In its deliberations the Board took note of the several changes in the leadership of the Authority that took place over the last years and acknowledged that these were not beneficial for the Authority.

In a statement, The MFSA Board said it agreed that the appointment of the right person to lead the Authority over the coming years was now a matter of urgency.

“The Board acknowledged also that the previous open and international call for applications for the position of Chief Executive Officer had not benefited the Authority to the desired extent, and agreed that a public call for applications for the post of Chief Executive Officer would not be in the best interests of the Authority at this point in time.”

The Board concluded that Mr Farrugia has the required skills with proven leadership to provide the necessary impetus to implement the changes and reforms required by the organisation going forward.

Mr Farrugia has extensive experience in leadership, with previous appointments as Director General at the Internal Audit and Investigations Department (IAID) and as Director of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).

Mr Farrugia is well known for his achievements and for successfully carrying out major reforms and strengthening both authorities. Indeed, he was among the officials who were personally credited and applauded by Prime Minister Robert Abela for helping get Malta off the FATF grey list last year.

“Mr Farrugia is technically very well prepared and has exceptional organisational development skills. He is also personally very well regarded at an international level by a number of supranational authorities including the European Commission, European Banking Authority, Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units and MONEYVAL, and has been acclaimed by the US Government for his achievements and integrity,” the MFSA said in its announcement.

He had been nominated by the US embassy in 2022 for the US state department’s anti-corruption award, which honours those working tirelessly against corruption.

He is also highly regarded by the wider community of industry stakeholders in Malta, which is considered essential for the MFSA.

The Board unanimously agreed that Mr Farrugia has the right attributes, experience and proven track record to carry out the necessary structural, organisational, and operational reforms within the Authority and to successfully lead it forward over the coming years.

In the meantime, the Board thanked Dr Mizzi Buontempo for her service as interim CEO, and highlighted that she was instrumental in the publication of the Authority’s latest Strategic Statement.

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