This December, he will hand over to Pieter Engelbrecht, the company’s 47-year-old chief operations officer.
At the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Cape Town, 71 year old Basson said he was weary and had had enough of all the "nitty gritty stuff" in the way of Shoprite’s growth. "I’m constantly fighting on several fronts ... I’m gatvol of it all now. You need to be young," he declared.
“I am tired — the business is now so large and there are so many issues that take up too much time. Pieter is a very driven guy. I’d say about 50 percent of the operating issues he’s already taken over. So it’s not a new job for him”, he said.
Since founding the company in 1979, Basson has expanded the retailer from an eight-store chain to Africa’s industry leader with a market value of 115 billion rand ($8.4 billion) and more than 140,000 workers. The giant food store has 30 stores in Angola and 20 in Nigeria — probably the largest profit opportunities outside North Africa.
Engelbrecht, who has been with the company for more than two decades, will resume duties as CEO from Jan. 1.
The Shoprite Group of Companies, Africa’s largest food retailer, currently operates 1855 corporate and 359 franchise outlets in 15 countries across Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, and reported turnover of more than R130 billion for the year ended June 2016.