Dr. Gernert is a lawyer by profession having graduated from the University of Vienna, Austria with a Ph.D. in Law. He is an accomplished executive having 35 years of experience in the international gaming and sports betting industry. In particular, Dr. Gernert has held management positions with Casinos Austria AG and Century Casinos Inc. CNTY (NASDAQ).
Currently, Dr. Gernert is the owner and chief executive officer of Codego GmbH (Austria), a business and gaming consultancy service provider, and has experience in providing consultancy services to various gaming companies, including, Novomatic, BWIN, and Speilbank Berlin (Germany). Dr. Gernert is also the founder and member of the board of directors of PG Enterprise AG (Austria) and a member of the supervisory board of Cara AG (Liechtenstein), the latter being involved in the business support services industry.
Dr. Gernert has occupied various other positions within gaming companies and as a result has acquired experience in the assessment, development, creation, and operation of casinos. Dr. Gernert has also been involved in the drafting of the Austrian Gaming Act, 2010 having advised the Austrian Government with respect to the Gaming Act’s alignment with EU law requirements.
Mr. Schembri is the Founder and UBO of the IZI Group. He is a seasoned expert in the Gaming Industry with over 25 years of experience in various market segments including electronic gaming machines, sports betting, commercial bingo operations, casinos (land-based and online), and gaming technology.
Mr. Schembri brings to the fore unparalleled experience and knowledge of the local and international gaming market, having spearheaded several successful establishments in conjunction with reputable international gaming providers, including International Game Technology (IGT), Playtech, PMU, and Novomatic AG. Mr. Schembri has been instrumental in setting up different consortia with international gaming companies purposely established to operate and manage the Dragonara Casino. In the early 1990s prior to the establishment of IZI Group plc. (formerly known as Pinnacle Gaming Group).
In 2004, Mr. Schembri established, together with other shareholders, the Pinnacle Gaming Group Limited (today known as IZI Group plc) following the liberalization of commercial bingo through the enactment of the Lotteries and Other Games Act in 2001. In 2010, the Pinnacle Group Gaming Limited together with Toss A Coin Limited established Dragonara Gaming Limited which was awarded a concession to manage and operate the Dragonara Casino. In 2012, Mr. Schembri established the first network of ‘Controlled Gaming Premises’.
In 2021, Mr. Schembri led a team of experts entrusted with completing the proposals for two core operations within the land-based gaming industry, the first for the sustained operations and management of the Dragonara Casino and the second for the operation of the National Lottery of Malta. Both proposals were successfully concluded providing the Group the opportunity to operate two very important gaming assets, namely, the Dragonara Casino (2021 – 2031) and the National Lottery of Malta (2022 – 2032).
Franco De Gabriele
Mr. Franco Degabriele joined IZI Group plc in November 2012 and forms an integral part of its management team. Mr. Degabriele’s primary responsibility is to oversee the business development function within the Group. Mr. Degabriele has been working in business development and marketing operations within the telecoms and media industry and has extensive experience in the online sector including online gaming.
In his previous roles, Franco worked for top telecom companies in Malta such as Melita Cable Holding Limited (C 12707) and GO p.l.c. (C 22334) and was also involved in several start-up operations within the sector. Mr. Degabriele has extensive experience in bringing new products and services to market both locally and internationally.
Mr. Joseph Mallia has been employed with Dragonara Casino since 30 November 2005 when the casino was managed by the previous operator, Groupe Barriere. He was transferred to IZI Group p.l.c. on 30 June 2010, the date when Dragonara Gaming Limited was awarded the concession to operate and manage the Dragonara Casino. Mr. Mallia occupies the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at IZI Group plc.
As part of the top management team, reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mallia has been instrumental in providing leadership in developing and implementing financial reporting and controls to support accountability and the various decision-making processes of the strategic nature within the Group.
Mr. Mallia has 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 within the industry 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.
Ms. Jacqueline Camilleri is an independent non-executive director of the Issuer and the Chairperson of the Audit Committee. Ms. Camilleri is a certified public accountant and occupies the positions of director and chair of the audit committee on a number of publicly listed companies. Ms. Camilleri also provides business advisory services with a particular focus on start-ups and businesses undergoing restructuring.
Ms. Camilleri graduated from the Heriot-Watt University of Edinburgh Business School with a master’s degree in business administration after having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) degree in Accountancy from the University of Malta. She is a Fellow Member of the Malta Institute of Accountants.
Between 1990 and 1998, Ms. Camilleri occupied various positions within the AX Holdings group of companies, including Financial Controller of AX Construction Limited (C 17438) and Finance and Administration Manager of the Capua Palace Hospital.
In 1998, Ms. Camilleri joined the Foundation for Medical Services (FMS) as one of the team members responsible for the opening of Mater Dei Hospital. She has also gained work experience in the United Kingdom where she joined the National Health Service (NHS) and served as Directorate Management Accountant at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Ms. Camilleri has extensive experience in the consultancy sphere. She has provided financial consultancy services to the private and national health sector, which includes, inter alia, her role as Head of the Financial Monitoring and Control Unit (FMCU) within the Ministry for Health, Elderly, and Community Care. She has also worked on various consulting assignments, privatization processes, strategic reviews, and business evaluations during her time as Manager at Malta Investment Management Company Limited (MIMCOL). In the last quarter of 2010, Ms. Camilleri re-joined the Ministry for Health, Elderly, and Community Care as Director General Finance and Administration. Between 2008 and 2013, she served as Vice Chairman of the Malta International Airport and lectured at the Institute of Healthcare (IHC) of the University of Malta between 2008 and 2011.
At the beginning of 2014, Ms. Camilleri was appointed as Chief Executive Officer at Hilltop Gardens Retirement Village Limited (C 65735), a subsidiary of AX Holdings group of companies, where she took over the management and development of the Hilltop Gardens Retirement Village in its entirety.
In September 2017, Ms. Camilleri took over the advisory position which led to the design and setting up of Golden Care care home, and in April 2019 she was appointed Chief Executive Officer at Golden Care Limited (C 89549). Between 2017 and 2020, Ms. Camilleri also occupied the position of Chief Financial Officer in an advisory capacity within the Bonnici group of companies.
Dr. Stephanie Fabri is an independent non-executive director of the Issuer and a member of the Audit Committee. Dr. Fabri is an economist by profession having completed her Ph.D. in Management and Economics at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, the UK in 2018. Throughout her career, Dr. Fabri was involved in economic consultancy work for a variety of projects, both of a private and public nature, and has aided in government policy and project monitoring programs.
Dr. Fabri holds various board positions, contributing to the respective boards primarily from an economic perspective. Up until 2013, she sat as a director of the Communications Appeals Board at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport, and Capital Projects. In 2020, the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change, and Planning appointed Dr. Fabri as Chairperson of the Intelligent Planning Consultative Forum.
She retains her seat as a non-executive director on the board of Malta Dairy Products Limited, and most recently, in November 2021, was appointed as a member of the board of the Malta Stock Exchange. Dr. Fabri has also been a lecturer of economics and management for several years and is present both an academic and lecturer within the Faculty of Economics, Management, and Accountancy at the University of Malta.
Dr. Otto Karasek is an independent non-executive director of the Issuer and a member of the Audit Committee. Formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Merkanti Bank Limited, Dr. Karasek’s has a vast amount of experience in the banking sector. Aside from this role as Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Dr. Karasek also held a range of responsibilities in his role as executive director and a member of the Personnel, Remuneration and Nomination Committee and the Credit Committee. He was responsible for the operation and the business of BAWAG Group in Malta and the implementation of its business strategy. Prior to 2003, Dr. Karasek filled various roles at BAWAG Austria in Vienna for over twenty years.
Dr. Karasek sits on the board of directors of several banks, among them Merkanti Bank Ltd (C 31608), where he is also chairman of the remuneration and nomination committee, Depfa Bank plc (Irish Company number 348819), and Depfa ACS Bank DAC (Irish company number 354382).
Mr. Karasek holds a Masters’s Degree in Business Administration from the Vienna University of Economics and Business.
Louis De Gabriele
Louis is an advocate by profession and is currently the managing partner of the firm Camilleri Preziosi. He has been in private practice since 1991 and is actively involved in leading assignments in the capital markets, finance, and corporate law sectors of the firm’s practice; as well as in the financial regulatory and compliance space. He is still actively involved in all of these areas.
Louis is also known in the market as a leader in corporate governance issues and has lectured extensively on the subject. During his professional career, he has played a leading role in the development of Malta’s investment services sector and its capital markets, an area in which he is still very actively involved. He was appointed president of the Chamber of Advocates, Malta’s recognized professional body for the legal profession, in November 2018 an office he still occupies today.
IZI Group plc
As Malta’s leading land-based gaming operator, IZI Finance plc has an unparalleled portfolio of premium brands such as Dragonara Casino, IZIBET and from the 5th of July 2022 the National Lottery of Malta.