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Naspers Chairman awards top prizes

Today Mr Ton Vosloo, chairman of Naspers, presented the group’s top prizes at a luncheon held after the company’s annual general meeting.

This year the Phil Weber Prize for excellence throughout a career within the group went to Imtiaz Patel (CEO SuperSport) and Mark Sorour (Naspers chief investment officer). This is the highest accolade bestowed for performance in the group.

Imtiaz Patel (45) started his career in the Naspers group as director of enterprises of SuperSport, to which he was appointed CEO in 2005.

His exceptional leadership qualities saw the SuperSport brand grow from three to 14 channels, servicing all of sub-Saharan Africa. It is now the main driver of DStv’s subscription sales across the African continent. With initiative Imtiaz has introduced localised content. He customised channels and a number of interactive sports services. He forged partnerships with Unicef and the department of education. He introduced a Portuguese SuperSport channel for Angola, a dedicated localised soccer channel for sub-Saharan Africa, a South African local soccer channel and various new highlight services. He has made SuperSport the prime funder of sports leagues on the African continent.

Mark Sorour (47) joined the group in 1994 and was appointed chief investment officer in 2002. He played a key role in the Tencent investment in China and its listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange. He led other key transactions including Abril in Brazil, mail.ru in Russia and Allegro in Poland.

Mark is a creative thinker and strategist, keen to take initiative. He offers constructive views and speaks his mind fearlessly. Perseverance is one of his many skills.

He demonstrates leadership skills with every team he heads, gaining respect from all who work with him. His keen sense of humour often helps keep spirits up when pressure is intense. Mark has tremendous drive to ensure that issues are thoroughly dealt with. He has great depth of expertise, the most valuable aspect of which is an understanding of what is possible and within the ambit of any given assignment, enabling him to isolate the key issues and risks.

The Chairman’s Prize recognises a staff member who has walked the extra mile. This year it is awarded to the heroes that put their own lives in danger to save others in the Paarl Print fire. Paarl Media group's pay-off line, "Where print is personal", was brought to life following the devastating fire at Paarl Print on 17 April 2009. There is no precedent of a crisis of such magnitude, in which the fire spread so rapidly. It caused the loss of 13 colleagues as well as seriously injuring 7, and disrupted the lives of hundreds and almost totally destroyed the plants. Yet the Paarl Print people, in the raw face of their shock and grief, rose to the challenge and came together in support and solidarity to act beyond the call of duty.

This year the Order of Tafelberg Prize, recognising a special association with a Naspers business partner, has been awarded to Martie Retief-Meiring. She is a seasoned freelance journalist, reporter and published writer. Her association with the company dates back to 1995. She still writes weekly in the Van Alle Kante column in Die Burger.

She studied at Stellenbosch and started her career in journalism at Oosterlig in Port Elizabeth. She made her mark at Die Vaderland, Die Beeld, Huisgenoot, Sunday Times en News/Check in Johannesburg. Abroad she reported for Nasionale Koerante and for South Africa in London, where she was also a reporter for the BBC. She was assistant editor of Vrye Weekblad. Martie has played a pivotal part in the organisation of numerous arts festivals: she was cofounder of the Suidooster festival and the annual Huberte Rupert Memorial concert and was involved in the Aardklop Nasionale Kunstefees for ten years. This year she was elected chairman of the Stellenbosch Arts Association.


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