Ronald Agius, former managing director of Allied Newspapers and Progress Press, has died, aged 88.

Born in Sliema, Agius was educated at St Edward’s College and joined Progress Press in 1962 as a manager in the Publication Department.

He was subsequently appointed managing director of Allied Newspapers in 1968 and chairman of Progress Press in 1979. Agius left Allied Newspapers Ltd in 2003, having spent 41 years with the company, including 38 as managing director.

Agius was a founding member of the council of the Strickland Foundation and was a long-time member of the Malta Employers' Association, serving as council member between 1975 and 1981, vice-president between 1981 and 1982 and president between 1984 and 1985. He was on the council of the Federation of Industries between 1975 and 1981, a council member of the Malta Printing Association as well a member of the Commonwealth Press Union.

In 1990, he was appointed chairman of Allied Insurance Agency Ltd and served as director of Mid-Med Bank between 1994 and 1995.

Former Sunday Times of Malta editor Laurence Grech said that Agius oversaw Allied Newspapers during key transitions.

“Ronnie presided over the expansion of the newspaper into offset printing and various new technological advances, from linotype to computerisation, essentially. It was a tremendous change,” Grech said.

When Progress Press was ransacked and burned to the ground in 1979, Agius had overseen the restoration of the Valletta premises and ensured that staff felt secure in returning to their jobs.

“After the fire, he oversaw the rebuilding of the premises and ensured that security was paramount for us to return.

“He truly had the interest and security of the staff at heart and presided over the newspaper through a period of success.”

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