Big CEO changes in 2023

Over the last year, a few sudden and surprising chief executive changes have occurred, including at Naspers, Pick n Pay, and Nedbank.

2023 has been a challenging year for many South African companies because of slow economic growth caused by structural problems.

Load-shedding, Transnet’s railway and port issues, crime, political uncertainty, and business-unfriendly policies have halted economic progress.

High inflation, rising interest rates, global economic challenges, and the war in Ukraine exacerbated the situation.

Most trading updates were littered with terms like “challenging business environment”, “load-shedding”, and “uncertainty”.

South African consumers are under severe pressure, and local retailers, financial institutions, and many other companies are struggling.

The result was that chief executives faced tremendous pressure to show growth in a very difficult environment.

Unsurprisingly, there were many changes at the top level of South African companies. Some of these changes were expected, while others came as a surprise.

Here are a few of the significant chief executive changes announced in 2023.

Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk replaced

On 18 September, Naspers and Prosus informed shareholders that CEO Bob van Dijk stepped down. Ervin Tu assumed the role of interim CEO of Naspers and Prosus.

Bob van Dijk

Pick n Pay CEO Pieter Boone replaced by Sean Summers

On 2 October, Pick n Pay announced that Pieter Boone stepped down as group CEO and was replaced by Sean Summers, who was Pick n Pay’s CEO between 1999 and 2006.

Pick n Pay CEO Pieter Boone
Pieter Boone

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown replaced by Jason Quinn

Nedbank appointed Absa financial director Jason Quinn as its new chief executive, replacing Mike Brown on 31 May 2024.

Mike Brown

EOH CEO Stephen van Coller resigns

In October, EOH announced that Stephen van Coller would step down as chief executive and retire from the company’s board on 31 March 2024. A new CEO has not been announced yet.

Stephen van Coller
Stephen van Coller

Transnet CEO Portia Derby

In September, Transnet CEO Portia Derby and CFO Nonkululeko Dlamini resigned following pressure from business lobby groups, mining companies, and unions.

Transnet CEO Portia Derby
Portia Derby

Amplats CEO Natascha Viljoen resigned

In February, Anglo American Platinum’s CEO, Natascha Viljoen, resigned after three years at the helm to join Newmont, the world’s No. 1 gold miner.

Natascha Viljoen

Transaction Capital CEO David Hurwitz gone

Transaction Capital CEO David Hurwitz stepped down as chief executive and all his board positions following the company’s poor performance.

David Hurwitz
David Hurwitz

Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson replaced by Jorge Mendes

Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson stepped down on 31 March 2023 and was replaced by former Vodacom executive Jorge Mendes.

Douglas Craigie-Stevenson
Douglas Craigie-Stevenson


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