The Malta Independent 14 October 2019, Monday

Minister bans Facebook for senior management after ‘brains, boobs and balls’ comment by ETC chief

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 30 July 2015, 09:01 Last update: about 5 years ago
Employment and Training Corporation CEO Phillip Rizzo
Employment and Training Corporation CEO Phillip Rizzo

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo will not remove Employment and Training Corporation CEO Phillip Rizzo from his post, after he posted a rather lewd comment under a colleague’s photograph on Facebook. However, he has banned all ETC senior management from having a Facebook presence.

The furore came about after Head of the EU Funded Schemes Division at the ETC, Olivia Farrugia, had posted a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a one-piece swimsuit, sunglasses and a cap. Philip Rizzo chose to comment on her post and said – “This is the only ETC Head of Division with the three Bs… Brains, Boobs and Balls!!!!... she’s a very capable lady.”

In response, she said “Of course boss, I’m the only HoDwith the 2nd B. Im the only woman Head of Department…”

The ETC is responsible for “empowering, assisting and training job-seekers to facilitate their entry or re-entry into the active employment market, promoting workforce development through skills and competency development, and by assisting employers in their recruitment and training needs."

The ETC website also lists its core values. The first listed is “Honesty, integrity and accountability,” where the ETC pledges that they will “have personal integrity and uphold ethical codes of practice” and “act and behave consistently with what we advocate. Absolutely trusted by others.” It also reads: “We won’t let unacceptable behaviour go unchallenged.”

Another section of the corporation’s values is ‘Equality and inclusivity’, where the ETC pledges to not “engage in any activity that could reasonably be seen as bullying, harassment, or in any way improper.”

This newsroom confronted Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, on whether or not any action will be taken against the CEO.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said that he sent a Directive, that all senior management at the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC) should not have a presence on Facebook.

Asked if any action will be taken against Phillip Rizzo, the Minister said: “We have taken a decision which I believe we should have taken before, not necessarily tied to this post. I think people in senior management should not have that kind of presence on Facebook.”

This newsroom again asked: “He’s the head of the ETC, and what he said was quite sexist. Don’t you think action should be taken against him?”

“Well, I think at this point, I’ve passed this strong message that those comments are unacceptable. I know the person and I know the comment was made in jest. I know full well he is not a sexist person and that he respects his colleagues and, in fact, I think from his perspective he thought he was passing a compliment. Now I’m not saying that it should be construed as a compliment. What I’m saying is that – for God’s sake – let’s use Facebook for something else if we are going to use it and let’s definitely not use it for those kinds of things.”

From these comments it seems the Minister will not be taking any concrete action against the ETC Head, however did “pass the message in strong terms,” thus implying that a warning was issued.

Philip Rizzo has been a self-employed financial and investment consultant since the age of 24. He created and administered family businesses from a base in London, his biography on the ETC website reads.

“During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rizzo served as London representative and later Deputy Chairman and CEO of then-Malta Development Corporation.”

“Between 1996 and 2006 he was President and CEO of the Europewide Expense Reduction Analysts consultancy group from a base in London and Milan.”

In May 2013 Rizzo was appointed as an advisor on the rights of persons with disability at the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity and was appointed to the post of ETC CEO In April 2014.

  • don't miss