Mark Gasan

CEO of Gasan Group Limited

Mark Gasan is the Chief Executive Officer of Gasan Group Limited.

He joined the Gasan Group in 2003, at the age of 22. He started off working within the Real Estate Division of the Group. Over the years Mark immersed himself within all areas of the Group’s operational businesses and investments. His main goals were to consolidate and streamline the Group’s operations, to ensure focus and continued growth for the foreseeable future.

In 2014, Mark Gasan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Gasan Group Limited, a position he continues to hold today. Under his leadership, the Group successfully completed the consolidation of its four core pillars. Today, the companies within each pillar are considered to be among the leaders in their respective markets.

Mark Gasan currently sits as an Executive Director on the board of directors of every company within the Group, as well as the management committees; overseeing all of the operations and investments of the Gasan Group.

Mark completed his education in the United Kingdom at the University of Leeds where he read International Studies including Economics, Politics and Law.

Where did the idea for Gasan Group come from?

Gasan Group is the brainchild of my grandfather who set up the business in 1928 having signed the Ford concessionaire agreement with Henry Ford. My family has been running the business since then, moving beyond the Automotive sector, expanding into Real Estate, Building Services Solutions and Insurance. Today we are lucky and incredibly grateful to employ almost 700 people here in Malta.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My favourite part of the day is the early start and casual morning catch up with my colleagues when walking the floor. It is when I get a genuine first-hand sense of how the team is feeling and how operations are going at each level. What I find fundamental to having a meaningful and productive day is to strike a work-life balance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

My working life is a balance between managing businesses or investments that have been operating for nearly a century and others that I have taken to new growth levels, whilst also keeping an eye on the overall Group vision. Some ideas come relatively easy, such as restoring or re-positioning an existing property asset to the present context. Other ideas are sometimes innovative concepts that are simply inspired by my everyday journey through life, both at home and at work. Either way, no idea is brought to life without tons of hard work and surrounding yourself with the best people.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The move towards a well-being economy is something I find deeply engaging. The yardstick of our future economies will be measured by the well-being of society rather than solely by monetary statistics. I see this in our own businesses, be it our properties improving the environmental context they thrive in or the immense focus on the wellbeing of our employees and ensuring they can enjoy good work-life balances.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My philosophy is ‘lead by doing’. I believe in getting right down to doing the job at hand, well. It’s also who I am, in order to make things happen, an effective leader should be hands-on and always approachable. I don’t believe in formalities or heavy hierarchies; business is made of and by people at the end of the day and should be treated as such with all the emotional intelligence that we all thrive upon. In fact, I am in constant touch with my team so we can jointly find solutions to issues as soon as they arise.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Listen, listen and learn. Life is a continuous loop of listening and learning towards perpetual improvement. Nothing and no one is perfect, we can only improve upon what we’ve done and learn from it.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I hope to believe that what is true, people will agree with me on.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read and research a wide range of topics, learning can come from everywhere and it is never wasteful to know more and learn better.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

The commitment and ability to continuously learn and innovate. I think the key is to define and stick to your priorities while staying loyal to your principles and ethics. Delivering on those commitments enables everything else to fall into place. I also think that for our business in particular, we should aim to align the success of each of our pillars because inevitably there is always one that lags behind. This indeed is my personal strategy and my very own challenge as the CEO of Gasan Group.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Well, failures are many in business and one need not be ashamed of them. There is a culture of associating failure with shame or weakness. I do not believe this to be true. As a Group we did have developments or projects that did not fare as originally intended, typically by overrunning on costs or by being tarnished with negative publicity. There is no magic solution, you need to do your part to make sure you manage the process to move on diligently, respecting all stakeholders and learn from it. It’s never easy, but in business, life really, no one knows what lies behind every corner – you need to have the grit to accomplish what you’ve started and the humility to deal with criticism, even when not entirely justified or constructive.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Invest in services that are aimed to prioritise well-being rather than immediate profits, the future is there. I’ll give you one example, sustainable tourism or sustainable mobility seem to be sure-fire winners.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A family tour of Valletta; visiting our beautiful sites and history reminds me how remarkable our heritage and country is.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I can’t really associate with one, our lives are now seamlessly shifting form one system to another, I use so many tools to communicate! Email, messaging, LinkedIn and many more. The key is in how we communicate, not so much the specific tool.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Legacy by James Kerr. The book is an insight into the world’s most successful sporting team, the legendary All Blacks of New Zealand. It gives a very good insight into effective and successful leadership.

What is your favorite quote?

‘Carpe Diem’ (Seize the day) or De gustibus non est disputandum (In matters of taste, there can be no disputes).

Key Learnings:

  • Hard work and enthusiasm rarely fail.
  • Business, like life, is all about who you share it with.
  • Happiness comes from positive relationships at work and at home.
  • Society well-being will be the new key metric to measure success.
  • Humility, even in generosity, is everything.
  • Malta’s history and heritage is fascinating.