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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Bekker successor wants Naspers to stay on internet business path

Koos Bekker having stepped down as Naspers CEO, plans to travel and explore new business opportunities‚ before taking over from Ton Vosloo next year.
Koos Bekker. (Image extracted from the Naspers website)
Bekker has been CEO of Naspers since 1997‚ transforming it into a global media company. He said on Saturday that he would take a break from the Naspers board until 1 April next year‚ when he will replace Ton Vosloo as chairman.

"Often being in command for a long time means CEOs take themselves too seriously‚" Bekker said on Sunday. "They also get into a rut. It's refreshing to buy milk at the supermarket yourself and wonder if there is an entirely new way to look at your business."

His plans include researching "where the group's next spurt of growth may come from‚ once ecommerce has reached maturity".

"The Koreans lead the world in egames‚ San Francisco boasts Silicon Valley. But Berlin and New York are getting pretty exciting; China and India have hungry young entrepreneurs. Even Lagos is lifting‚" he said of his travel plans.

Staying on the path

Bob van Dijk. (Image extracted from the Naspers website)
Van Dijk‚ Naspers' most senior ecommerce chief‚ is based in the Netherlands and does not plan to move to South Africa. He will take up his new post on 1 April.

Van Dijk told Business Day on Sunday that much of Naspers' growth derived from its internet businesses.

"We obviously want to continue on that path‚" he said.

Van Dijk has headed up eBay Germany and was chief operating officer of international media group Schibsted's Classifieds.

While at eBay he was responsible for Gumtree in South Africa.

Bekker said Van Dijk would "bring great ecommerce nous to the job: he's one of the smartest guys in that discipline outside the US".

Twisted Toast Digital MD Louis Eksteen said Van Dijk's appointment showed that Naspers "clearly sees the future of internet media as being ecommerce".

First Avenue Investment Management industrials analyst Nadim Mohamed said Van Dijk was expected to find ways to extract value from Naspers' internet assets that have yet to make money.

As the "most significant and important shareholder" in Naspers‚ Bekker will continue to play a vital role‚ said Eksteen.


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