Bekker, who will stand down from the Naspers board for a year, will be succeeded by the media and technology group’s head of e-commerce, Bob van Dijk, 41.
“Koos 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,” the group says in a statement.
“Koos intends to travel widely and research where the group’s next spurt of growth may come from, once e-commerce has reached maturity.”
He will remain on the board of Tencent, the fast-growing Chinese Internet company in which Naspers holds an approximate one-third stake.
In April 2015, Ton Vosloo intends to step down as chairman, when Bekker will succeed him.
In his time at Naspers, Bekker led the launch of terrestrial pay-television service M-Net in the mid-1980s. He also led the team that launched MultiChoice and later, with partners, launched mobile phone operator MTN. More recently, he led Naspers’s reinvention as an Internet company. Today, the Internet segment is Naspers’s biggest.
In its statement, Naspers says that when Bekker became Naspers CEO in 1997, replacing Vosloo, the group had a market capitalisation of R5,6bn. Today Naspers’s market cap is R533bn. “It is the largest media group outside the US and China, larger than any in Europe,” it says.
In the statement, Bekker says he “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.”
Van Dijk, who has led eBay in Germany among other top e-commerce positions, will take the reins from Bekker on 1 April. He holds an MSc Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam (cum laude), plus an MBA from Insead in France (Dean’s List). — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media