Koos Bekker

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Koos Bekker
Born (1952-12-14) 14 December 1952 (age 67)
Potchefstroom, South Africa
NationalitySouth African
Alma materUniversity of the Witwatersrand, South Africa,
Columbia University, United States
OccupationChair of Naspers
Net worth$ 2.3 billion (2019)
Spouse(s)Karen Roos
Children4

Jacobus Petrus "Koos" Bekker (born 14 December 1952) is a South African billionaire businessman, and the chairman of media group Naspers.[1][2] The company operates in 130 countries and is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange. It has the largest market capitalization of any media company outside the US and China.

Early life[edit]

Koos Bekker was born in Potchefstroom, South Africa on 14 December 1952. He attended Hoër Volkskool Heidelberg and completed degrees at Stellenbosch University, in law and literature, and at Wits University, in law. During his studies in Stellenbosch, he was a hostel boarder of Eendrag Manskoshuis.[citation needed]

Bekker is married to Karen (Roos) Bekker and has two children.

Career[edit]

After a few years in advertising, he received an MBA degree from Columbia Business School, graduating in 1984. As a result of a project paper, he, with a few young colleagues, founded one of the first two pay-television services outside of the US. M-Net and its sister companies, such as Multichoice, eventually expanded to 48 countries across Africa. In the 1990s, he was a founding director of mobile communication company MTN.[2][3] In 1997 Bekker became CEO of Naspers, one of the initial investors in the M-Net/Multichoice group.[citation needed] Naspers bought out the other shareholders. During his tenure, the market capitalization of Naspers grew from about $1.2 billion to $45 billion. His compensation package was unusual in that for fifteen years as CEO he earned no salary, bonus or perks. He was compensated solely via stock option grants that vested over time.[citation needed]

Forbes "Rich List 2019" ranked Bekker as the 1002nd wealthiest person in the world, and the fourth wealthiest South African for 2019, with a fortune of US$2.3 billion.[4]

Foreign investments[edit]

Under Bekker, Naspers invested in pay television, mobile telephony and various internet services. The group conducts business in Europe, Africa, Latin America, China, India, Russia, and various smaller countries.

Controversy[edit]

Former South African Minister for Communications, Yunus Carrim testified to the Zondo Commission into State Capture that Bekker had played a significant role in irregularly pressuring government officials to protect Multichoice's effective monopoly over South Africa's pay-TV sector. Carrim stated that this was done by lobbying government to prevent the opening up and rollout of encryption capacity in set-top boxes. The GuptaLeaks emails indicated that Multichoice paid off Carrim's successor as Minister of Communications through the Gupta owned ANN7 news network to ensure a favorable decision for Multichoice on encryption.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Naspers, Non-Executive Directors". Naspers. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 11 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Koos Bekker: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Meet the ultra-rich South Africans you’ve probably never heard of", Business Tech, 18 May 2018. Accessed 22 March 2019.
  5. ^ Davis, Rebecca. "DAYS OF ZONDO: Yunus Carrim claims MultiChoice cost South Africa dearly — at Koos Bekker's behest". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  6. ^ Dlulane, Bonga. "Carrim: Koos Bekker tried to pressure me to drop govt's set-top boxes policy". ewn.co.za. Retrieved 5 March 2020.