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Bob van Dijk steps down from Naspers and Prosus

Bob van Dijk steps down from Naspers and Prosus
Bob van Dijk, chief executive of Prosus, following a Bloomberg television interview in London on 18 February 2022. (Photo: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The shock announcement comes less than a week after shares declined sharply.

Days after shares in Prosus declined sharply on news of its upcoming share issue plan, the Dutch technology investor and its parent company, Naspers, announced a leadership change, with CEO Bob van Dijk stepping down with immediate effect.

Van Dijk, who had led the group for 10 years, will remain affiliated with the group in an independent capacity as a consultant to the board until September 2024. 

Ervin Tu, the current group chief investment officer, has been appointed as the interim CEO. 

On Thursday, shares in Prosus traded sharply lower after shareholders were informed they would receive 1.1796 new shares for each share they hold. The stock plummeted to 53.9% in early-morning trade, although the value of shareholder’s shares has not changed since more shares have been issued in complex rebalancing process.

Naspers and Prosus, which have a 26% stake in Tencent, are in the process of unwinding a complex set of shareholdings in each other that has threatened to impede stock buybacks. 

Prosus’ share price is glued to Tencent’s. Since Prosus’ listing in 2019, its share price is down almost 7.8%, while Tencent’s is down 5.54%, compared with global competitors Apple (up 220%), Meta Platforms (61%) and 122% for Google parent, Alphabet. 

Prosus compared to other tech giants: Source CapitalIQ

Earlier last week, Naspers said Prosus would exit the shareholding in its parent that “is widely seen as negative by shareholders”. 

In a statement on Monday (today), group chairperson Koos Bekker said Van Dijk had contributed meaningfully to its success and future, helping establish the group as a leading global consumer internet company, creating significant value for shareholders. 

“The boards of Prosus and Naspers want to thank Bob for his leadership over a full decade,” said Bekker. “During this time substantial businesses were established in classifieds, food delivery and payments, while we also entered several new fields. We appreciate Bob’s contributions and wish him much success with his future career.”  The company said Van Djik is leaving by mutual agreement.

Prosus share price since listing: Source CapitalIQ

Tu, the group said, has made significant contributions to the strategic direction of the company and will provide continuity in the execution of their key priorities, which include bringing the company’s consolidated e-commerce portfolio to profitability while maintaining growth, and leading capital allocation across the group. DM

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