Roads boss Fredrick Azzopardi touted for CEO role at catering giant

Outgoing Infrastructure Malta head Fredrick Azzopardi slated for job as CEO of James Caterers

Outgoing Infrastructure Malta CEO Fredrick Azzopardi
Outgoing Infrastructure Malta CEO Fredrick Azzopardi

The outgoing boss of the Infrastructure Malta road-building agency, Fredrick Azzopardi, is being touted for the role of CEO at the James Caterers group of companies.

Azzopardi, who earlier in the week denied having been tapped for a position with the J Portelli Projects construction group, has refused to confirm his forthcoming private sector job.

“I can’t confirm or deny because that is something my new employer, whoever it may be, will have to announce. It’s not up to me,” Azzopardi said when asked whether he will be taking up the role of CEO at James Caterers.

The catering giant’s business interests are not just limited to foodstuffs, where in 2020 alone, it registered over €3.5 million in pre-tax profits.

James Caterers is owned by parent group JCL Holdings, which also owns 25% of JSSR Turnkey Projects, a company that includes as shareholders hotelier Silvio Debono’s SD Holdings; and Turkish construction firm Recube, whose CEO Ridvan Senturk was formerly a manager at Turkish firm TACA

Azzopardi captained the transformation of Malta’s road network over the past four years, with controversy dogging the IM agency for its approach to permitting on various roads projects.

Azzopardi was formerly CEO at Enemalta, before taking over at IM when it was created as a separate agency from Transport Malta.

Azzopardi, an engineer by profession, had already denied rumours that his future will be with construction magnate Joseph Portelli. “I have a job lined up and it is not in the construction industry,” he said.

Infrastructure Malta was set up in 2018 to fulfil an electoral pledge to overhaul Malta’s road network with a €700 million budget spread over seven years.

Road projects ranged from residential roads to major arteries. Some of the more significant projects included the Marsa multi-level junction, the Santa Lucija underpass and the Central Link.

However, the agency repeatedly came under fire from environmental activists and residents over projects that took up agricultural land and led to trees being uprooted. Azzopardi was often singled out for his brash attitude when dealing with residents and activists opposed to IM’s plans.