Rob Rose Editor: Financial Mail

Christo Wiese’s departure as chair of Shoprite after four decades marks the end of an epoch at the grocery chain. From now on, he will just be an ordinary Shoprite nonexecutive director. It may seem a small step, but it’s a dramatic diminution of influence for a man who, along with Whitey Basson, created Africa’s largest food retailer from scratch.

It was in 1979 that Basson persuaded Pepkor chair Renier van Rooyen to buy a struggling family business of eight stores in the Cape for an effective R900,000. Experts at the time figured Shoprite would never have the firepower to compete with Pick n Pay or OK Bazaars. As Wiese said a few years ago: "If Renier had listened to the analysts, he would never have bought Shoprite."..

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