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Naspers Announces CEO and Chairman’s Successors
|By Business Wire
|February 22, 2014 01:26 AM EST
Naspers Limited (JSE: NPN)(LSE: NPSN) today announced that its
CEO, Koos Bekker, will be succeeded by Bob van Dijk, currently Naspers’s
most senior ecommerce chief.
Koos Bekker (Photo: Business Wire)
Bob (41) holds an MSc Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam
(cum laude), plus an MBA from Insead in France (Dean’s List). Among
other experience, he headed up eBay Germany, that group’s biggest market
outside the US, and was COO of Schibsted’s Classifieds.
“In view of our strong development focus on ecommerce, the board
believes that Bob has the skills to lead us into the next phase of our
growth,” said Ton Vosloo, Naspers chair. Bob takes over on 1 April.
Koos (61) will stand down from the Naspers board for a year, to allow
Bob the space to settle in with both Naspers top management and the
board. Koos intends to travel widely and research where the group’s next
spurt of growth may come from, once ecommerce has reached maturity. He
will also stay on the Tencent board. In April 2015, Ton Vosloo intends
to step down as chair, when Koos will succeed him.
Koos participated in four technology spurts with the group. In 1985, as
a consequence of a paper Koos wrote at Columbia University, a young
group in their early thirties launched M-Net, one of the first such
pay-television services outside the US. At the time, Naspers was a 26%
backer and Ton Vosloo the M-Net chair. Today this group operates pay TV
across 48 countries in Africa and serves some 7 million households.
In 1991 the MultiChoice team under Koos, together with partners,
launched the mobile phone operator MTN. Today MTN is the biggest mobile
operator in Africa and one of the largest companies on the JSE.
In 1997 Koos replaced Ton Vosloo as CEO of Naspers itself and the group
ventured into the internet. After stumbling a few times, this is now
Naspers’s biggest business segment.
Around 2008 the group entered ecommerce. It is investing heavily in an
ambitious effort to become a global player in classifieds and
When M-Net was formed in 1985, Naspers was a public but unlisted company
with an implied market capitalisation of R24 million. When Koos moved
into Naspers as CEO in 1997, the then listed group had a market cap of
Today Naspers’s market capitalisation is R500 billion (US$45 billion).
It is the largest media group outside the US and China, larger than any
R1 invested in Naspers when M-Net was formed in 1985 would have turned
into R5 700 today (excluding dividends). And R1 invested in October
1997, when Koos became Naspers CEO, would be worth R24 today (without
“We are also proud of the resonance our growth has in the South African
economy, via the thousands of people we employ directly and the tens of
thousands in the broader ecosystems of our businesses. We particularly
enjoyed the new products and services our people invented,” said Ton
Koos expressed his gratitude to his Naspers colleagues and board members
for the opportunity to work with them. “It’s been fun,” he said. “I
couldn’t have wished for a more interesting life. Now I hope to travel
to places like Seoul and San Francisco where the future is being
manufactured, and see if there are new technologies we should be trying
out. Plus experience a few oddball spots. When Ton steps down, I’ll
rejoin the board, hopefully with fresh ideas.”
Bob looks forward to taking over on 1 April. He lives in the Netherlands
with his wife Tina, a senior finance executive, and two young daughters.
He is a keen sportsman and speaks five languages. “Naspers is a great
company and I’m honoured to lead an excellent team,” said Bob.
More information on the group is available on the website www.naspers.com.
This media release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the
United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words
such as “believe”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “seek”, “will”, “plan”,
“could”, “may”, “endeavour” and similar expressions are intended to
identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive
means of identifying such statements. While these forward-looking
statements represent our judgements and future expectations, a number of
risks, uncertainties and other important factors could cause actual
developments and results to differ materially from our expectations.
These include numerous factors that could adversely affect our
businesses and financial performance. We are not under any obligation to
(and expressly disclaim any such obligation to) update or alter our
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or otherwise. Investors are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on any forward-looking statements contained herein.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140221006032/en/
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