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Naspers: Bekker steps down

Naspers Limited has announced that its CEO, Koos Bekker is stepping down and will be succeeded by Bob van Dijk, currently Naspers' most senior ecommerce chief.
Bob van Dijk is to take over from Koos Bekker. (Image extracted from the Naspers website)
Van Dijk (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.

Van Dijk takes over on 1 April.

Bekker (61) will stand down from the Naspers board for a year, to allow Van Dijk the space to settle in with both Naspers top management and the board. Bekker 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 Bekker will succeed him.

Technology spurts

Koos Bekker wrote a paper at Columbia University. Today the result is M-Net. (Image extracted from the Naspers website)
Bekker participated in four technology spurts with the group. In 1985, because of a paper Bekker wrote at Columbia University, a young group in their early 30s 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 Bekker, 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, Bekker replaced Ton Vosloo as CEO of Naspers itself and the group ventured into the internet. After stumbling a few times, this is now Naspers' 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 transactional ecommerce.

When M-Net was formed in 1985, Naspers was a public but unlisted company with an implied market capitalisation of R24m.

When Bekker moved into Naspers as CEO in 1997, the then listed group had a market cap of R5,6bn. Today Naspers' market capitalisation is R500bn (US$45bn). It is the largest media group outside the US and China, larger than any in Europe.