Media24 appoints international advisory forum to accelerate digital growth

1 May 2017

Media24 today announced the creation of a Digital Advisory Forum (DAF) of international experts to further strengthen its digital media and ecommerce operations. The four-member DAF brings considerable international ecommerce, classifieds and digital media expertise from Europe, the United States and China to South Africa’s leading media company. The members all held senior positions at companies ranging from Scandinavian media and classifieds powerhouse Schibsted, The New York Times (NYT), Naspers and eBay.

“Media24 is repositioning itself to reap the benefits of the new digital world,” said Media24 chair Professor Rachel Jafta. “To help shape the strategy for longevity, the board and management have recognised the need to learn from international experts, hence the creation of the Digital Advisory Forum.”

DAF chair Sverre Munck, who recently retired from Schibsted where he was Executive Vice-President, said: “Media24’s digital accomplishments in media, ecommerce and job classifieds have been considerable. As Media24 continues its transformation to becoming Africa’s leading digital media publisher, we are thrilled to provide our extensive experience from major international media and e-commerce brands to the DAF. Our participation allows for an exchange of this experience with the talented Media24 management team.”

The other members are Yasmin Namini, Pat Kolek and Evelyn Chan. Namini was instrumental in the conceptualisation and implementation of the NYT’s paywall strategy while Kolek, Naspers’ Chief Operating Officer, has more than 20 years’ experience in executing business growth and development strategies for hyper growth organisations including eBay. Chan, an expert on the tech and internet industries in China, has more than 10 years’ experience in investment banking and at hedge funds and is currently Naspers’s Director of Exploration based in Hong Kong. She will join the team later in 2017.

Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman said while its strong and trusted print media portfolio remained core to operations the company was fully focused on its digital media assets and diversified operations such as efashion, ecommerce and digital services. “We have our eyes on the future and we have high ambition to be one of what I believe will be only a handful of print media companies worldwide who will flourish in the digital space, both in terms of audience numbers and financial success. We have built South Africa’s largest digital media business by far. The DAF, with its impressive collective digital and ecommerce experience, will accelerate our execution on that ambition.”

About the DAF

Sverre Munck (63) is the chair of the Media24 DAF. At Schibsted Media Group he was a driving force in its transformation from a Norwegian newspaper company to a global media and internet giant. He has more than 20 years’ experience in media management, among others as general manager of Schibsted’s large portfolio of community newspapers and as group CFO. Munck spearheaded the company’s successful migration to online classifieds which started with European websites such as compraventa.com and leboncoin.fr. He was non-executive chairman of the software company Opera Software, serves in the digital advisory council of the Swiss media group Tamedia and on the boards of several Norwegian startups. Prior to joining Schibsted Munck was a consultant at McKinsey as well as to theNorwegian Finance Ministry. He holds a BA in economics from Yale University and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.

Yasmin Namini (56) recently retired as Senior Vice-President and Chief Consumer Officer of the NYT, with overall responsibility for print and digital subscription revenue as well as the data and customer insights teams of this award-winning news operation. She has more than 30 years’ experience in news management. Namini joined the NYT after university, starting her career in the circulation department. Over the years she held several key positions in advertising, marketing and product development, including Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Circulation. Namini holds a degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in applied statistics from the University of Villanova. She serves on the board of the international media industry body INMA, consults for a media company in India and is a regular speaker on the international media circuit.

Pat Kolek (46) is Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Naspers. He joined the group as CFO of its ecommerce division in 2014 and was promoted to his current role in July 2016. As group COO, Kolek is focused on aligning group strategy with company objectives, leading core business activities and strategic initiatives such as large acquisitions & divestitures. Prior to Naspers he spent 10 years at eBay, most recently as Vice-President and CFO of eBay International and previously as the COO of eBay Classifieds. Kolek holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Santa Clara University and is a certified public accountant.

Hiu Tung (Evelyn) Chan (34) joined Naspers in 2015 as Director of Exploration, based in its Hong Kong office. She provides insights into the China tech and internet industries throughout the Naspers group. Chan holds a master’s degree in philosophy, social and cultural anthropology from the University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes scholar.

ABOUT MEDIA24

Media24 is South Africa’s leading media company with interests in digital media and services, newspapers, magazines, ecommerce, book publishing, printing and distribution. Media24 is part of Naspers, a multinational group of media and ecommerce platforms.

24.com is South Africa’s leading digital media platform with well-known brands such as News24, the personalised app News24 Edge, Fin24, women’s interest portal W24, entertainment site Channel24, Afrikaans news subscription service Netwerk24, Food24, Wheels24, Health24 and Traveller24. It has some 17 million monthly unique users and serves on average 260 million pageviews per month. In recognition of its digital publishing and ecommerce excellence, Media24 took home a record 18 awards at the 2017 IAB Bookmarks AwardsNOTE