ShapeShifter

Meet Whitey Basson (the retail guru who turned Shoprite into a R127bn behemoth)

It [Checkers] wasn’t a bad business; it was just badly focussed.

Whitey Basson

Why is Shoprite successful? Christo [Wiese] never interfered in the running of the business.

Whitey Basson

If I would reinvest today, I would probably invest in tourism.

Whitey Basson

I was so tired! I couldn’t lose sleep; I would’ve died! But I never had a doubt we could turn it [OK Bazaars] around.

Whitey Basson

Love or hate him; former Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson is a retail genius.

Basson led Shoprite from 1979 to 2016.

It grew under Basson from eight tiny stores with a combined value of R1 million into Africa’s largest retailer, with a market cap of R127 billion.

Basson was, until his retirement at the end of last year, South Africa’s best paid executive, by far.

In 2016; Basson’s remuneration totalled R100.1 million.

Shoprite was also compelled to buy back shares from Basson to the value of R1.8 billion.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Basson for his “ShapeShifter” feature.

Listen to the interview in the video/audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

I’ve been ‘Whitey’ since I can remember… I had blond hair as a child…

Whitey Basson

I wanted to become a medical student… I got admitted to UCT, but never went.

Whitey Basson

We [Christo Wiese] were very close at varsity…

Whitey Basson

…Van Rooyen [Pep] had a passion for supplying affordable clothing…

Whitey Basson

Between 1974 and 1977/1978, I basically ran Pep stores at the mature age of 28.

Whitey Basson

A lot of landlords didn’t want us… they were a bit upmarket!

Whitey Basson

South Africa has all the elements to be a world-class country that provides a decent standard of living for everybody.

Whitey Basson

In South Africa we have so many regulations, it drives you crazy.

Whitey Basson

Nataniël is a good friend. He comes from Porterville, but doesn’t admit it.

Whitey Basson

OK Bazaars was not a lucky break… I stalked them [SAB] for three years…

Whitey Basson

Maputo was easy, because it’s close...

Whitey Basson

I knew Egypt wasn’t going to stand the test of time…

Whitey Basson

I don’t think I ever looked at my salary in the last three years...

Whitey Basson

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