Hardly two days after Naspers said its long-serving CEO, Koos Bekker, would be stepping down, the board of the media giant on Monday morning named Bob van Dijk (41), Naspers’ ecommerce head, as new CEO.

This confirms a comprehensive succession plan was already in place, after the person who had been earmarked for the CEO position, Antonie Roux, the former head of the firm’s internet business, died suddenly in 2012.

Bekker (61), the company said at the weekend, will step down for a year with effect from April 1 this year to allow for smooth succession planning.

The appointment of Van Dijk as CEO of Naspers confirms a trend that has been noticed within South African companies in the first two months of this year.

It has identified that the boards of big South African companies now hire CEOs that are younger than 50 years of age.

Van Dijk, previously head of eBay Germany and COO of Schibsted’s classifieds, is the third young CEO to be appointed this year to head a South African firm after paper and pulp giant Sappi and construction firm, Aveng both announced younger CEO appointments.

Naspers said Bekker plans to criss-cross the globe, looking for new opportunities that will provide a new growth trajectory for Naspers.

However, he will remain on the board of China’s Tencent, the fastest-growing Internet firm, in which Naspers holds a significant stake.

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