Succession planning, ESG and appointment of independent directors in family run businesses

Malta’s business landscape is currently undergoing a significant transformation concerning issues of succession planning, ESG challenges and the involvement of independent directors in family-run enterprises. This article summarizes the key takeaways from discussions within the Maltese business community at the Family Business Forum, an event hosted by Ganado Advocates and Zampa Debatista. It underscores the importance of succession planning and the engagement of independent directors in the contemporary corporate environment.

  1. Reflecting on Liz Barbaro Sant’s Holistic Approach to Sustainability: During a panel discussion at the Family Business Forum, Liz Barbaro Sant emphasised the comprehensive nature of sustainability, urging businesses to consider not just the environment but also social and governance aspects when making strategic decisions.
  2. MCESD Chairman’s Insights on ESG as a Strategic Tool: David Xuereb, who also heads the Malta ESG Alliance, shared his insights at the Family Business Forum, encouraging family businesses to see ESG as a strategic tool rather than a regulatory burden. Journalists highlighted the Chairman’s perspective, stressing the competitive advantages of adopting robust ESG practices.
  3. APS’s Public Call for Non-Executive: The Family Business Forum featured the announcement of APS’s public call for non-executive directors.The call permits the bank to ‘cast a wide net,’ said Company Secretary Graziella Bray.
  4. Transforming Malta Stock Exchange with NASDAQ Inspiration: The Executive Chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) unveiled his vision for the MSE during the event. Joseph Portelli shared his aspirations to model the MSE after NASDAQ, enhancing transparency, efficiency, and governance practices within the Maltese stock exchange.
  5. Family Business Succession Planning Challenges Addressed: The Chamber of Commerce CEO acknowledged the significant challenges in family business succession planning. Marthese Portelli highlighted that many businesses are still far from achieving their desired level of preparedness and stressed the importance of long-term governance strategies.
  6. Insights on Improving Governance in Family Businesses: During a panel discussion, experts discussed strategies to enhance governance practices within family businesses. This provided valuable guidance for family-owned companies looking to strengthen their governance structures.
  7. Distinguishing Shareholder Directors from Managers: During the Family Business Forum, experts discussed the key distinctions between shareholder directors and managers, vital for understanding the roles and responsibilities within a company’s governance framework.
  8. The Importance of a Written Succession Plan Emphasized:  Zampa Debattista’s Co-Founding Partner, Matthew Zampa stressed the significance of documenting and revising succession plans. He stressed the crucial role of succession planning in ensuring smooth transitions and maintaining effective governance.
  9. Recognizing the Value of Non-Executive Directors: The Family Business Forum featured discussions on the value of non-executive directors from outside the organization, as they enhance governance and guide companies in the right direction.

These articles provide insights from key discussions that emerged from The Family Business forum. Malta’s evolving business landscape places a strong emphasis on sustainability, ESG principles, and governance. Business leaders, regulators, and experts are advocating for a comprehensive approach to corporate responsibility, highlighting the strategic advantages of ESG, and calling for improved governance practices in family businesses and financial institutions. These insights underscore the importance of a balanced and forward-thinking approach to business in Malta’s dynamic environment.