Overseeing the successful fuel management for an entire country is no easy task. Every car on the road and every plane on the tarmac needs fuel to get to its next destination – and that’s where Enemed Ltd comes in.
At its helm is Chairman and CEO Kevin Chircop. “My role is pretty hard to define,” Kevin smiles, when asked about his position at Enemed. “So I will talk about my approach to it instead. I am extremely hands-on, and I certainly don’t see myself as the top guy sitting at a closed-off office taking decisions; I rarely give instructions. On the contrary, I consider myself a mentor to my team. My primary focus is the vision for the future of the company, which is approved by the Board, and which I strive to translate into daily tasks for the whole team to execute.”
In fact, Kevin says he is in regular contact with the 177 staff members employed at Enemed. “I like to know what is going on at every level,” he says. “If someone on the team is grumbling about something, I want to know why – because I want to know if there is something we could be doing better. It is important to me that our team feels ready to be the best it can be; I want everyone to come to work feeling motivated and enthusiastic. I am not just interested in what they’re doing at work but also outside of work – are they happy? Is there anything stopping them from doing their job properly? We take a holistic approach. I consider the whole team to be part of my own family, and if I can help them, I will.”
Kevin says he is especially driven by watching the company transform according to the vision set out for it, and by that being a success. “Making things happen gives me a kick,” he says. “I am inspired to do things that will help better the lives of the 177 families directly affected by the decisions we take, as well as by improvements made to Malta at large. It is exciting to know that, together, we’re upgrading the fuel market on the island and taking it to the next level.”
One of the greatest challenges, meanwhile, comes from convincing his team to embrace a change in culture and not simply accepting the status quo. “Because we are part of the ex-Petroleum Division of Enemalta, we inherited a culture that was designed for an entity that used to employ 1,600 people, and which accepted things as they were within their comfort zone. We don’t work like that and I have seen a significant improvement in the way we do things since then. I encourage our team not to accept that the way we have always done things is the only way. I ask them to think about the process again and explain that, if it hasn’t been changed in 15 years or so, it’s likely to be obsolete today.”
Meanwhile, other challenges come from the fact that Enemed is currently spearheading major infrastructural projects on the island. “Changing our pipelines is one of the biggest projects currently taking place, but it’s no easy feat,” Kevin continues. “When each kilometre of pipeline costs in excess of €1 million to replace, this cannot be done overnight. The solution is to break it down into manageable targets, and to create change that way.”
Major industry changes will also underpin a lot of the way Enemed works in the months and years to come. “In general, the petrol and diesel industry is seeking to reduce emissions from the fuels themselves, and that is something we are addressing,” Kevin explains. “We are also focused on the long-term challenge of electric vehicles, and how not to become obsolete in the face of that evolution.”
“And in line with that, we’re also keeping a close eye on the 25 Enemed-franchise fuel stations that we rolled out in 2018. We have put specific standards in place for these stations, and we will be focusing on ensuring those standards are met – whether that’s the upkeep of the buildings or the service they offer. We will, in fact, be auditing each station and will even introduce a mystery shopping experience to help us gauge the Enemed client experience.”
Looking to 2019 and the development of the company in the next five years or so, Kevin says he is overseeing other major projects – including the €55 million upgrading works on all the Enemed storage tanks and the opening of the new logistics centre and headquarters. “There’s a lot happening in that respect, while we are also upgrading the airport storage facility, which is getting busier and busier. I am currently working on a memorandum of understanding with the Emirates National Oil Company, and we are discovering potential synergies and opportunities for us to work together,” he explains.
“It’s an exciting future, and I definitely see myself being part of it – hopefully five years on, and even beyond that. I still have many ideas to bring to the table which I hope will materialise! As for Enemed, we are moving in the right direction towards the future too, and I believe we will continue to set the standard in the industry by consolidating our franchise here on the island, and then starting our franchise operations overseas. This is a growth market and we are primed to make the most of it.”
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.