New CEO for Media24 as Weideman announces retirement
Publishing veteran Ishmet Davidson will take over as CEO of Media24 on October 1 after Esmaré Weideman announced her retirement from the company on Tuesday.
A former political journalist and editor of You and Drum, Weideman held the CEO position of Africa’s largest media company for almost eight years.
Media24, a fully-owned subsidiary of global tech and e-commerce company Naspers [JSE:NPN], owns some of South Africa’s largest publications, including News24, City Press, Netwerk24 and the Daily Sun.
The company announced that Weideman would remain involved in an advisory capacity. She has been the longest-serving CEO in Media24’s history.
"Esmaré’s passion for journalism, coupled with her strong business acumen, saw her transform Media24 into a digital media business while continuing to drive and optimise print operations. I’m pleased she has agreed to remain involved in an advisory capacity and wish her every success," said Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk.
Regarding Weideman’s successor, he added: "I’m confident that under Ishmet’s leadership, Media24 will capitalise fully on rising mobile internet connectivity across the continent as well as on South Africa’s growing online retail sector."
Members of the Media24 board praised Weideman as a formidable leader who made a significant contribution to the media landscape in South Africa and to Media24.
Professor Rachel Jafta, Media24 chair, added: "I have enormous respect and appreciation for Esmaré, who came into the CEO position straight from an editorial role, at a time when several mega-headwinds, such as the digital revolution and changing consumer behaviour, threatened the existence of media houses everywhere.
"She led the change process with strong leadership and teamwork to position the company for continued growth in the digital era. Having been part of that team, Ishmet proved himself an effective and pragmatic leader, making him a natural successor."
Weideman said she was delighted to hand over the reins to Davidson, with whom she has worked closely for the past six years. "Under Ishmet’s leadership Media24 will continue to thrive. I leave behind an extremely competent management team and some of the best editors in the country, which made the decision to retire that much easier," she said.
Davidson said he was humbled by the confidence the Media24 board had in appointing him to lead the company.
"I am very much looking forward to building on the legacy left by Esmaré. Our industry is facing numerous challenges but I have no doubt that with the support of our outstanding people and the leadership of our excellent management team, Media24 will continue to flourish," he said.
Davidson joined Media24 in 2012 as head of community newspapers. He became the head of its news division in 2014, after which media distribution company On the Dot and Media24’s magazine division were added to his responsibilities.
He has 16 years’ experience in the media industry and, among other qualifications, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA from the Edinburgh Business School at Scotland’s Heriot Watt University.
'A fantastic innings'
Weideman said she was honoured to have been asked to stay on as a mentor and advisor. "I’ve had a fantastic innings, ever since joining Die Burger as an intern in 1984. To end my career as CEO has been the cherry on the top.
"But this is just the end of my corporate life – my passion for journalism is stronger than ever and I hope to continue to play a meaningful role in a company which has been my home and an industry I absolutely love. For now, I am looking forward to a break, lots of reading and travelling, and spending time with my family and friends."
* Fin24 is part of Media24, a subsidiary of Naspers.
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