Koos Bekker steps down as Naspers CEO

End of an era as the Naspers boss steps down as CEO of the company he has led since 1997.

Naspers CEO Koos Bekker (image: World Economic Forum – CC BY-SA 2.0)
It’s the end of an era. Naspers has announced that its long-serving CEO, Koos Bekker, 61, is stepping down as CEO.

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). 

Source: (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media - Duncan McLeod on 22 February 2014.

Yolisa Phahle the new CEO of M-Net South Africa
MultiChoice South Africa Group CEO, Imtiaz Patel, has named Yolisa Phahle as the CEO of M-Net South Africa. M-Net is a wholly owned subsidiary of MultiChoice South Africa.
“We are delighted to appoint a person of Yolisa’s calibre to such a key position,” Patel said. “She is a rare talent and has proven herself to be a dynamic and extremely capable all-round broadcasting executive. We have no doubt that Yolisa will lead M-Net’s South African operations to even greater heights, cement its leadership in the media and entertainment space, and win over more loyal viewers to the range of channels offered by M-Net. Yolisa has been at the forefront of local content development, which has led to more diverse growth in the viewership base. ”
Phahle is currently the director for local interest channels at M-Net. She joined the group in 2005 as general manager of Channel O, spearheading the channel’s revival and turning it into the number one music channel in Africa. In 2009 when she was appointed as director of special interest channels for South Africa, her portfolio expanded to include MK, KykNET and later, Vuzu. In 2010, Phahle was tasked with launching the now hugely popular Mzansi Magic. In 2012, Phahle oversaw the launch of Mzansi Magic Music and, just last year, she and her team successfully introduced the Mzansi Wethu and Mzansi Bioskop channels.
While born in South Africa, Yolisa’s parents left the country in 1965 for exile. She grew up as part of a community of South Africans, which included Hugh Masekela; Arthur Maimane, previous managing editor of The Star newspaper; and the late John Matshikiza who combined stage acting in London with activism for the African National Congress.
“I grew up at the feet of these icons who used the media to tell South African stories to the world. They inspired me to play a part in the advancement of the arts in South Africa. I’m hugely excited by this fantastic opportunity. We have a wealth of talented actors, scriptwriters and production companies – I’m looking forward to consolidating existing partnerships and building new ones. It is vital that we play a leading role in the evolution and transformation of our industry,” said Phahle.
She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as a violinist and keyboard player, and later toured the world.  She played for Duran Duran, Soul II Soul, Jamiroquai and appeared on the same stage as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Seal and Prince.
Her broadcast career began at the BBC World Service where she trained as a studio manager before becoming a producer at BBC Radio 1 and BBC World Service Music. During her time at BBC Radio she produced and oversaw live music sessions with Oasis, Paul Weller, Coldplay and the late Amy Winehouse. In 2001 she became a senior producer at BBC 6 Music.
Phahle’s appointment followed a decision to focus the M-Net business on three core African markets – South Africa, West Africa and East Africa. “We want M-Net to increase its focus on our various target markets in these regions, to facilitate further growth,” Patel commented. Phahle will report to the sub-Saharan CEO of M-Net, Patricia van Rooyen.
Phahle will assume her new position on 1 April 2014.

Source: M-Net - 6 March 2014

Lupita Nyong'o from Kenya wins at the Oscars

Lupita Nyong'o won the Oscar for best supporting actress on Sunday for her role as the hardworking slave Patsey in drama 12 Years A Slave, capping a breakout awards season for the Yale-trained Kenyan actress.

Nyong'o, 31, won the Oscar in her first feature film role, earning a thunderous standing ovation from the Hollywood audience. She beat fellow frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of a loopy housewife in caper American Hustle in one of the most closely-watched Academy Award races this year.

“Yes!” the actress exclaimed when accepting the award after hugging her brother, 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen and other actors in the film.

“It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's, and so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey, for her guidance.”

Nyong'o, who earned the same award from her peers at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, was chosen for the role from 1 000 young actresses who auditioned

She received plaudits from critics for her depiction of suffering as a field-working slave and the object of sexual desire from her master.

The award marks Nyong'o's coronation into the top echelon of dramatic actresses working in Hollywood. She has also burnished her image as a new emblem of high fashion with her styles on the red carpet.

12 Years A Slave, by British director McQueen, is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, a 19th century free black man tricked and sold into slavery.

Nyong'o's Patsey, who is able to pick more kilograms of cotton per day than the stronger male slaves, embodies resilience in the drama even as the primary recipient of physical and sexual violence.

“There was an underlying stream of grief at all times even in the lighter scenes,” Nyong'o said last year while promoting the film. “There is a deep pain in Patsey throughout and living in that pain was not easy.”