Naspers: Bekker to step down in April

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Koos Bekker, who transformed Naspers from a print publisher into the biggest emerging market media company, will step down as chief executive after 17 years. Bekker would spend a year travelling and researching growth opportunities for the company and would take over from Ton Vosloo as chairman in April next year, Naspers said at the weekend. Naspers head of e-commerce Bob van Dijk takes over as chief executive on April 1. Van Dijk has an MBA from Insead in France and previously ran eBay’s operations in Germany and was chief operating officer of the classifieds unit at Schibsted, a media company based in Oslo, Norway. “In view of our strong development focus on e-commerce, the board believes that Bob has the skills to lead us into the next phase of our growth,” Vosloo said. The change in leadership comes after the company said it would invest R7 billion during the 12 months to the end of March, up 63 percent from R4.3bn a year earlier. Naspers sought to grow its digital television network in east and west Africa, subsidise set-top boxes and advertise its online classified venture, Bekker said in November. Bekker became head of Naspers in 1997 and began investing in technology and media firms worldwide, including China’s Tencent and Russia’s Group. Naspers shares rose 2.11 percent to close at R1 271.46 on Friday. – Bloomberg

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