Kalahari.com, South Africa’s biggest online retailer, has appointed Caren Genthner-Kappesz as its new CEO. One of Genthner-Kappesz’ goals is to reinforce the eCommerce pioneer’s leadership position in the market.
Genthner-Kappesz, who relocated to Cape Town from Berlin, brings with her a wealth of experience in online shopping and in the high-tech industry. Her credentials include nine years at eBay as General Manager for shopping.com Germany and as a Director and GM for eBay Express Germany. She has also worked as COO at brands4friends, an eBay subsidiary and market leader in Flash Sales in Germany.
“I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to take kalahari.com to the nex stage of its development,” says Genthner-Kappesz. “My goal for kalahari.com is not only to stay the clear market leader in South Africa but also to continue to be a pioneer and thought leader in the industry,” she continues.
Genthner-Kappesz believes that South Africa has made significant progress over the past few years in terms of broadband access, but more still needs to be done in order for the country to compete with the rest of the world in the online shopping space.
“Although broadband access is still slightly more expensive compared to other parts of the world, South Africa is not far behind. I really believe that online and mobile shopping are changing people’s lives for the best and with kalahari.com we want to continue driving that change in South Africa,” she says. “Especially with the significant rise of mobile in South Africa, we will put a great focus in bringing the best shopping experience to our customers and give them the opportunity to shop however they want – be it online, on a tablet or on a smartphone”.
Genthner-Kappesz believes in offering value to shoppers and will work closely with her team to deliver on this. “Our core objective is to make our site the place for every South African to find the greatest products at competitive prices and delivered to them in the most convenient timing. We want to be part of their everyday life.’’
Bill Paladino, CEO of MIH Internet South Africa described Genthner-Kappesz’ appointment as crucial for the future of South Africa’s biggest online retailer, “I am very pleased we have found such a strong leader to steer the reins at kalahari.com. With her knowledge and experience Genthner-Kappesz is the perfect fit to lead kalahari.com to greater heights.”
An astute business leader, entrepreneur and technophile, Genthner-Kappesz has also consulted for BCG, a leading global strategy consultancy, and co-founded a consulting company focused on high-tech and start-up businesses later acquired by Sapient. She has received the “Career of the year 2007” award, the most prestigious prize for excellent next-generation managers in the German business landscape, from the Handelsblatt , a leading German business newspaper. Genthner-Kappesz also holds a PhD in Maths.
“I look forward to supporting the great work driven by a fantastic team with my experience in managing change and driving progress. I really believe we have a unique opportunity to take the growth of this company to the eCommerce stratosphere,’’ concludes Genthner-Kappesz.
Genthner-Kappesz takes over from Gary Novitzkas.