Leadership

Over 100 years of combined leadership experience

Meet the Team

To achieve our goals, the Group has invested in top-level leaders in their respective sectors. Together, we are forging ahead, driven by a passion for excellence and guided by integrity

Johann Schembri

Founder & CEO

Johann Schembri is a seasoned expert in the gaming industry with over 25 years of experience in various market segments including Video Lottery, Sports Betting, Bingo Operations, Casinos, and Gaming Technology.

Johann has been the visionary behind the success of the Group and remains the foundation upon which the Group’s strategy is built. In the past, Johann has set up a number of different consortia purposely created to operate and manage Malta’s most important gaming assets.

Johann’s milestone projects are the setting up of the first network of ‘Controlled Gaming Premises’ in 2012, today the largest and most valuable network of privately-owned gaming properties in Malta, and the successful award of the Dragonara Casino concessions in 2010, and 2021.

Franco Degabriele

Chief Commercial Officer & Executive Director

Franco joined the Group in November 2012 and forms an integral part of the top Management Team. Franco is primarily responsible for overseeing the Business Development function within the Group after having been involved in business development and marketing operations within the telecoms and media industry. Franco has developed extensive experience in the online sector including online gaming over the years.
In his previous roles, Franco worked for top telecom companies in Malta such as Melita Cable and GO and was also involved in a number of start-up operations within the sector.

Joseph Mallia

Chief Financial Officer & Executive Director

Joe has been employed with the Dragonara Casino since 2005 when the casino was managed by the previous operator, Groupe Barriere. He continued to serve with the Group when in June 2010, Dragonara Gaming Limited was awarded the concession to manage and operate the Dragonara Casino.

Joe has been instrumental in providing leadership in developing and implementing financial reporting and controls to support accountability and the various decision-making processes. Joe has developed a wealth of experience in the land-based casino and gaming industry and is one of the finest financial executives in the business, with unparalleled experience in business modeling and forecasting trends in the market. His read of the market through pre-established successful research models and his grasp of market developments are two of the most important strengths that he brings to the group.

Dr Christian Gernert

Non-Executive Director

Dr Gernert has extensive knowledge of the gaming industry, vast experience in various management positions with Casinos Austria AG and with Century Casinos Inc. CNTY (NASDAQ) as Chief Operating Officer. Christian has also served on numerous boards worldwide.
Christian joined the board of IZI Group plc in April 2021, bringing with him more than 35 years of experience and success in the international gaming industry. Through his company Codego, Christian has been providing consultancy and management services to leading international gaming companies including BWIN and Spielbank Berlin (Germany). Christian holds a Doctorate in Law from the University of Vienna, Austria (1999).

Svetlana Birca

Chief International Business Officer

Svetlana joined Dragonara in 2010 when the Group took over the operation of the Casino. A gaming expert with over 15 years of experience, 9 of which at Century Casinos (Listed on NASDAQ – CNTY), Svetlana holds an MBA degree and is responsible for overseeing the international business development function for the Group, specifically the management of special casino travel groups and special international events organised at the Dragonara Casino. Svetlana is also working closely with international organisers with the aim of bringing high-roller players to the Casino.

Neville Aquilina

Chief Risk & Compliance Officer

Neville’s career spans over 28 years in the Malta Police Force, with his last rank being that of Police Assistant Commissioner, the second-highest-ranking officer in the Force. Amongst other high-profile areas, Neville was responsible for anti-money laundering, the fight against narcotics and has worked also for several years in the office of the Ombudsman. Neville’s experience and integrity are aligned with the Group’s focus on compliance mainly through player protection, responsible gaming, and game integrity.

Neville is entrusted with spearheading the process for establishing procedures related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Risk Management and has assisted in compiling, maintaining, and updating the AML and risk management manuals of the Group. Neville is the first point of contact with several local and international stakeholders whose aim is to ensure that gaming is undertaken in a fair, safe, and transparent manner and that the Group always adheres to local and international regulations. Neville is the corporate custodian in ensuring that Game Integrity and Responsible Gaming are the cornerstones of operations within IZI Group.

Albert Muscat

Chief Technology Officer

Albert joined the Group in May 2011 and has been responsible for managing the IT and Group Systems ever since. Albert is primarily responsible for the smooth running of the entire I.T. Setup of the Group and is a key asset in the creation of proprietary systems within the Group. Amongst others, Albert has been instrumental in creating the player information system at the Dragonara Casino, the bespoke AML Proprietary System that enables player tracking in real-time and the deployment of the EARP system with the MGA.

Before joining the Group, Albert had been working in the Information Technology sector for over 20 years having previously worked at Megabyte Limited and Maltco Lotteries as Network and Systems Engineer.

Tania Burgos Raddatz

Head of Casino Operations

Holder of a Diploma in International Commercial Law, Tania is an experienced Casino Executive with over 15 years’ experience in land-based casinos across multiple continents. Tania joined Dragonara Casino in 2017 to oversee the Surveillance and Security department but was soon promoted as Head of Casino Operations for the Dragonara Casino.

Tania is a highly valuable member of the top-management team that brings a unique combination of skills to the company, amongst which are her fluency in English, Spanish and German, and her communication skills that are used to a high degree of effectiveness with all stakeholders. Tania is a focused, mature, and intelligent resource that handles the operations of the Dragonara Casino to the highest level of standards. Her unparalleled international and intercontinental experience in casino surveillance and security operations, amongst others with Casinos Austria, serves as the basis for her ability to manage the Dragonara operations.

Silvio Scicluna

Chief People Officer

Silvio is an experienced HR professional having worked in various industries before joining the Group in 2019. Silvio has amassed years of HR experience in various sectors including Hospitality, Healthcare, and Aviation. Silvio is entrusted with driving the strategic vision of the Group through its people by creating a stimulating and rewarding working environment for all the Group’s workforce.

Sergio Cappitta

Head of IZIBET Retail Operations

An experienced professional in the gaming industry with over 17 years’ experience, within the core operations in various market segments, including Lotteries, Sports Betting, Video Lottery, Commercial Bingo and Gaming Equipment. 

Sergio brings to the fore, unparalleled expertise and knowledge of the local and international market, having spearheaded the rebranding exercise and successful re-launch of Malta’s leading retail sports betting brand – IZIBET. Sergio leads a successful operation of a fully owned retail network of 40 betting stores, which contributed to an improved brand positioning in the market, and has steadily increased its revenue performance.

Cristian Rachieru

Head of Digital Product and Brand

An experienced product designer with over ten years of valuable experience in the iGaming industry, Cristian offers an exceptional combination of skills promoting the evolution of the product and the brand. He has vast experience in performing Design Systems at enterprise levels and high-end product development to reduce business expenses. Cristian’s proficiency in best practices and user experience is invaluable in building a product that avails sustainable value in terms of revenue. He is instrumental in building a product strategy that aligns with the business strategy throughout the organisation.

Cristian Rachieru

Ray Scicluna

Head of Facilities Management

Mr. Scicluna joined the Group in 2019 after having spent more than 15 years of experience within one of the most established local Telecom operators. His main role was to coordinate the office facilities within the company and was the key contributor in the design and operations of multiple Data Centre facilities. His expertise in Facility Management and Building services brings a very important skill set to the Group.

Valentine Paris

Executive Secretary

Valentine has over 15 years of experience as a senior executive assistant, program manager and event partner, working with leading global companies. Her role with various multi-national companies have taken her across the globe on various Olympics and Sports related projects, including Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Asia, and Europe.

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