Nikhil Patil, who was appointed as GO’s CEO last year, brings to the telecoms giant’s table more than 15 years of experience in telecoms companies around the world.
“My history with the company is actually quite substantial. My background is in investments in telecoms, technology and media, and I specialise in operations, strategy, mergers and acquisitions in telecoms companies,” he explains. “I led the privatisation of the Maltacom Group as it transformed into GO, serving as non-Executive Director to implement its strategy, and enabling the company’s expansion through the acquisition of similar companies in Malta and Cyprus. After working with them for so many years, to be appointed as CEO is a sort of karma!”
To add to Nikhil’s extensive resume and impressive qualifications in mechanical and industrial engineering, the appointment also follows a successful three years as CEO of Malta Properties Company plc, which he helped create and list on the stock exchange. Now, it is his background as an already-experienced CEO that Nikhil believes gives him the edge as he takes the helm at GO. “For me, being a CEO means three things: setting the strategy for the organisation, then allocating capital to the right products to get more return for investment, then, last but not least, working with my team and empowering them to achieve the strategy that’s been set,” he explains.
His unconventional career path towards CEO has also contributed to Nikhil’s ongoing success at GO. “My key to success is that I haven’t climbed a conventional career ladder. I am always driven by experiences, so I have only accepted positions that interested me. This gave me exposure to various levels within the company, while building relationships along the way. The fact I was already known to people when I became CEO, and had an established track record, certainly helped me to take on the role.”
Beyond his interest in the role itself, life at the top of GO affords Nikhil the chance to pursue his other passion: connecting people. “At GO, we connect people to what matters to them. Through our knowledge of technology, the industry and what affects our customers, we strive to achieve that connection as seamlessly as possible – and when we make that happen it makes me very happy,” he smiles. “It’s exciting that our work has such a tremendous social impact.”
Nikhil’s passion for connecting people has also inspired his strategy for propelling the company forward over the coming years. “Today, telecoms are considered as important as electricity, so GO must continue to connect people to a range of services at a reasonable price,” he says. “We pride ourselves on putting the customer first. A big part of doing that over the next few years lies in improved digitisation, and enabling the customers to do more for themselves, so we will soon be launching a new app and revamping our website by gradually adding new features.”
Furthermore, Nikhil predicts that the coming opportunities for the sector do not end there. “Here in Malta, almost every house has a GO connection, but our biggest opportunity now lies in taking this further, extending our services in the future into cars or business locations, or even enabling customers to manage their assets in their local area. Developing the cloud has also become a big area for us, and I expect it to keep growing,” Nikhil says. “In the meantime, GO already has a large customer base in Cyprus as well as in Malta, so we also need to focus on creating a much larger international presence there and beyond.”
Notwithstanding these ambitious goals for the company, Nikhil still makes sure that he and his team are managing their stress levels while fulfilling their potential. “I feel blessed and privileged to work with some of the most talented and motivated people on the island. To pre-empt stressful situations, I ensure we focus on doing less, and practice good time management – as a team we have established the 10 things that we want to achieve this year, and we spend around 80 per cent of our time at work focusing on them.
“But above all, my role is to lead the team with empathy and encouragement. True leadership is about empowering others to achieve what they didn’t think was possible.”
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.