CEO Spotlight: Nathan Farrugia

Tell us about your background

I started my professional life out in the healthcare profession but quickly moved into entrepreneurship by setting up a clinical brand with therapy centres around the country. Through this I got involved in the hospitality industry and eventually the non-profit world, supporting those with disabilities in education, therapy and sports. Over the years, I’ve led small to large corporate, not for profit, educational, hospitality and tech companies as CEO as well as owning businesses in these industries. I’ve always been a keen sports enthusiast, playing basketball and triathlon at international level, as well as completing some of the world’s toughest endurance challenges and setting world-first attempts in the process. Today I lead the VISTAGE teams in Malta and the UAE, supporting businesses through advisory, coaching and training services through our competent and dedicated people.

What are you most proud of achieving in your career?

Career-wise I’m proud of what my teams are able to achieve through their growth and creativity. They are keen to stretch themselves and reach new heights, always seeking to better themselves. It’s great to see that together they can go further than they could individually and I’m lucky to be able to lead such a great team.

This has led to many a success, including heading the Paralympic Movement, the Inspire Foundation, our UpYourLevel organisation, a strong XTERRA franchise in Malta and now VISTAGE in Malta and the UAE.

How did you get involved with Vistage?

I was a young CEO with very little experience, so I turned to a peer group to get advice and support. It was immensely helpful to have such a trusting group of experienced people around me to help me make decisions, challenge my thinking and make me accountable. When I left the CEO role in 2015 I bought the local VISTAGE business and have grown it since.

What does Vistage do?

VISTAGE is the world’s leading peer-advisory organisation for CEOs and Business Owners. We support one another through local groups, spread across 22 countries and representing over 25,000 businesses. Our goal is to support our members as they did me, in the ways mentioned earlier. We also bring in thought leaders and experts to help our members grow their knowledge and competencies – we never stop learning!

What is your goal with the launch of Vistage UAE?

The UAE is fast-becoming a mature economy that is ripe for a place where CEOs can share their knowledge and insights, while growing their businesses.

The adage that “it is lonely at the top” is a worldwide condition that VISTAGE seeks to alleviate, by bringing open-minded business leaders together in their communities.

We’ve seen VISTAGE member businesses grow twice as fast as their industry average, so we know that the value of peer-advice is tremendous. Our training arm can go further to support CEOs by helping develop their own leadership teams through our VISTAGE Leadership Programmes and our twinning with Stanford Business School programmes. Everything we do is to help raise the human capital within an organisation.

What advice would you give to other CEOs trying to break into the Middle East executive training market successfully?

My advice would be to stay true to their purpose, putting their people-first strategies ahead of growth and concentrate on delivering a quality service. Start small & grow sustainably.

What does a typical day as CEO of Vistage UAE look like?

When I’m not chairing my VISTAGE groups I’m training their teams or supporting my own trainers in their endeavours to help raise the game of our clients. I make sure I spend at least an hour a day doing exercise and always fit in some reading or learning. I spend my free time with family, if possible on adventures or travelling.

How can our readers find out more about you and Vistage?

Our local website:

Our global website:

Our training website is:

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East