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Nazzareno Vassallo

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Class of 2021, Malta

Nazzareno Vassallo, Chairman of Vassallo Builders Group

Over 54 years, Zaren Vassallo has built the Vassallo Group of companies into one of Malta’s most respected businesses.

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Nazzareno Vassallo

For the last 54 years, Zaren has been at the helm of the Vassallo Group, one of Malta’s leading businesses. He joined the family construction business in the late 1960s at the age of 16 and went on to acquire it from his family in 1971, naming it Vassallo Builders. Today, the company employs 1,800 people and has expanded into a number of sectors, including construction, health care, IT, hospitality, real estate and catering. Zaren’s ability to diversify successfully has enabled them to weather economic crises and, more recently, the pandemic.

Zaren has always been willing to embrace new challenges and enter areas where other private companies were hesitant. In the early 1990s, the Vassallo Group opened its first care home for the elderly, a completely new sector for the company. Today, CareMalta is now the largest company in the group, caring for more than 1,600 vulnerable residents. When COVID-19 hit, Zaren faced one of his biggest challenges. He was decisive in implementing a costly full lockdown, including staff, in all of its care homes. “Our competitors followed our example, and as a result of our collective efforts as an industry, we managed to prevent hundreds of deaths,” he says.

Zaren has been actively involved in his community, serving as Mayor of Mosta (1994–98) and as President for the Socjeta’ Filamonika Nicolo Isouard (2000–13). He is also the Honorary Consul of Malaysia. In addition to having a strong governance setup, Zaren’s children are also heavily involved in the business, making him “totally optimistic that my children will continue growing the business as I have been doing.”