Christo Wiese is one of South Africa’s most successful businessmen, known for his role in the growth of Shoprite and Pep which are two of South Africa’s most valuable retailers.
Christoffel Wiese, known as Christo, was born in Upington in 1941 and went on to matriculate from Paarl Boys High and graduate with an LLB from Stellenbosch University.
After working at the Cape Bar as a lawyer, Wiese joined Pep as a director under Renier van Rooyen. Wiese’s father was one of the first investors in Pep which began in small towns in rural Karoo.
This was the beginning of Wiese’s success in the South African retail sector.
Wiese soon became chairman of Shoprite Holdings. He oversaw its expansion from a group of eight supermarkets into a company that employs over 150,000 workers and has a market value of R132 billion.
Wiese remains the largest individual shareholder in Shoprite with 10.67% and second only to the Government Employees Pension Fund.
His additional deferred shares give Wiese voting rights worth 32.2%.
Wiese also helped grow Pepkor into the dominant player in the discount clothing market.
Pepkor has the largest retail store footprint in Southern Africa, with 5,470 stores operating in 10 countries. It employs 47,000 workers.
Pepkor includes well-known retailers such as Pep, Ackermans, Tekkie Town, and Refinery.
It also owns JD Group, which comprises Incredible Connection, HiFi Corp, Everyshop, Russels, Bradlows, and Rochester.
Wiese was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies Awards in 2015.
Wiese used to own close to 44% of Pepkor prior to Steinhoff’s purchase of it. After the collapse of Steinhoff, Wiese received a cash payment and 5% of Pepkor in exchange for dropping his court cases against Steinhoff.
The collapse of Steinhoff saw Wiese lose nearly $4 billion and with it his status as a dollar billionaire.
Wiese reclaimed the famed dollar billionaire status in 2022, after the Steinhoff settlement and good performance from some of his other investments.
Brait, an investment holding company, is another of Wiese’s investments and owns brands such as Virgin Active, New Look, and Premier Foods.
Brait, at the behest of Wiese, is currently in the process of listing Premier as a separate business on the JSE.
Alongside his other investments, Wiese owns 37.57% of Invicta Holdings and 11.9% of TradeHold. Wiese is chairman of both Invicta and TradeHold.
Famously, Wiese owned Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch from 1991 until 2012 when he sold it to a foreign investment firm with links to Markus Jooste.
Wiese revitalized Lanzerac and built its luxury hotel.
Value of Christo Wiese’s holdings
|Value of Wiese’s share
The companies Christo Wiese owns
|Replacement Parts Auto-Agri
|Replacement Parts Industrial
|Replacement Parts Equipment
|Kian Ann Group
|Checkers Food Services
|House & Home
|Shoprite Next Capital
|Moorgath Property Group (UK)