South Africa’s Naspers hires Airbnb, Amazon veteran to lead global classifieds business

By Promit Mukherjee

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Africa’s largest company, Naspers Ltd, has hired a top Airbnb and former Amazon executive to lead its global online classifieds business, it said on Thursday, as the technology investor looks to shore up contributions from core businesses.

The company’s online classifieds business, clubbed under OLX Group, contributes 5% to overall revenues and is the biggest among an array of businesses such as payments and fintech, food delivery and education technology.

However, its size is largely overshadowed by Naspers’ blockbuster investment in Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, which owns China’s biggest messaging app, WeChat, and accounts for more than three-fourths of its revenues.

Romain Voog, who was the vice president for worldwide sales operation and geographies at Airbnb, has joined Prosus NV from April 1 as the chief executive officer of OLX Group, it said in a statement.

Prosus is a Naspers subsidiary that houses all of its overseas assets including Tencent and online classifieds business, which is spread across 30 countries.

Voog was the president of Amazon’s operations in France before his stint at Airbnb. He takes over from Martin Scheepbouwer, who led OLX Group for nine years, the company said.

“His (Voog’s) experience inside customer-centric organisations such as Amazon and Airbnb will be an asset to OLX Group as we drive customer-centric innovation in the world of classifieds,” said Bob van Dijk, CEO of Prosus and Naspers, in an emailed response to Reuters.

(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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