Edwin Borg has loved business for as long as he can remember, but it wasn’t until 2006 that he started to fall in love with commercial retail – although he had headed the retail network at Maltapost plc for a number of years.
It was then that he joined MIDI plc, which was, at the time, developing Tigné Point and The Point. He was hired as the Business Development Manager and charged with taking care of everything that wasn’t related to the residential side of the business – meaning the forts, office blocks, shopping centre and catering.
“Development of the shopping centre was one of my key focuses at the time,” Edwin explains, adding that he was deeply involved in the project from the planning and construction phase all the way to its launch. “Sorting out the rental side of things was a massive task in its own right at the time and it got me so totally immersed in the shopping mall project that, after a while, I was asked to take on The Point specifically.”
The shopping centre opened on 20 March 2010 and, Edwin recalls that – at the time – faith in the project was not particularly high. “People just didn’t think it would work as a retail centre,” he says. “Many didn’t believe shoppers would venture beyond the centre of Sliema. Thankfully we have proved them wrong. Yes, there were struggles but, since securing the top retailers and brands that we managed to persuade to join us at the beginning of this venture, we have never looked back. In fact, since then we have consistently been flooded by requests for space.”
The Point’s next major milestone came in 2013, when MIDI opted to sell its interests in the company and it was listed publicly, placing The Point on the Malta Stock Exchange. “Since opening, I am pleased to say that we have been successful both in terms of our product and when it comes to good financial performance. At this point in time we attract 2.5 million people on an annual basis, and expect that to grow because we are now trading on Sundays too.”
And it is doubtlessly Edwin’s approach to being CEO of the company that has really helped with that development. “Being CEO isn’t easy because it requires total commitment,” he says. “It is so important to have a good understanding of business and, particularly, business in Malta, because that is not necessarily in tandem with what you read in textbooks. Personally, the most important part comes down to managing people and what they are good at.”
As most CEOs will attest, hardly anything ever works out the way you think it will – so Edwin also pinpoints adaptability as a vital skill. “Both when it comes to the challenges and the opportunities, you have to be able to deliver – and to find a solution that works. Everyone in the chain has expectations, from your shareholders to the retailers and, as CEO, it is my job to ensure they are met.”
“Thankfully, I am lucky to have a team of fantastic, dedicated people around me, who share the company’s vision and work endlessly towards its achievement. I am totally indebted to my loyal team for being there throughout our journey at The Point. Likewise to successive Boards for their support and wise counsel.”
But it must also be down to Edwin that The Point has had – to use his words – ‘a good run’, with consistent growth year on year. “In 2017 we registered a turnover of over €6 million. Our tenants enjoyed growth of around 53 per cent between 2010 and 2017, which is completely out of sync with the market. Now, we’re pretty confident that we can push ahead with that in the year to come, too. As for our customers, we are focused on competing on an experiential level; we want them to come through our doors and to have a good time, whether they are shopping, dining or simply enjoyingthe atmosphere.
“Meanwhile, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels but, instead, need to strive to retain The Point’s position and reputation.”
MaltaChamber.org.mt is proud to be serialising MaltaCEOs 2019, a high-profile publication consisting of 50 in-depth interviews with leading CEOs in Malta. Celebrating the most influential business minds in the country, two different interviews will be featured on this business news portal week by week. MaltaCEOs was created by Content House Group in collaboration with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry.